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He was diagnosed stage IV almost a year ago. He was given 3 months to live. Determined to fight, our world was suddenly turned upside down as we traveled to various hospitals and specialists who told us to call hospice. Our family has pulled together and listened to my fiance's father's wishes and we have tried to help him fight.
He recieved treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering and they were able to kill the main mass. He could not have his pancreas removed because the cancer wrapped around a main vein, but with a chemo pill it should remain dead. The cancer has branched out to part of his liver and some of his lymph nodes. Sloan advised him to get these pieces surgically removed after some more chemo, but because the proceedure was fairly small, they felt it didn't have to happen in NY.
Fast forward. Everyone leaves NY and comes back to ME. Resources are slim and good medical care is very hard to find. The doctors here don't want to stick to the treatment Sloan prescribed because they feel there is little hope. Everything has been an arguement and all treatment has been difficult.
Add to this, the poverty piece. My fiance's family has almost nothing. They are in debt. Their house is falling apart and their car is about ready to go. They have a child and it's enough to support her, let alone pay the bills. No one is able to work, and they are recieving a small disability check each month. They live in one of the poorest counties in the nation, and there is just nothing for support.
My fiance's father wants to fight. He makes himself eat. He does everything the doctors tell him. He struggles with disabilitating neropathy, extreme pain and fatigue. The chemo has done more damage to him than the original cancer, but he's trying so hard to stay upbeat. He cries frequently out of frustration and fear because he loves his family so much and just wants to fight back against this damn disease. All he talks about is how he wants to beat this, but the stress of poverty and the lack of resources make it almost impossible at times. What happens when the car dies or they can't make needed payments? Then what?
American Cancer Society granted them $75 dollars a month for travel to and from treatment when they were in NY. Otherwise, they have not been able to get an financial support. They have state-subsidized insurance, and it's coverage leaves much to be desired.
As a piece of the support network, I just can't bear to see a man who wants and is trying to fight, lose because he can't afford care and can't get help. It's breaking my heart and taking a toll on my fiance. We are trying to help pay for whatever we can, but I'm a young professional and my fiance is still in school. We just don't know what to do.
I don't mean to dump this on all of you, I guess I'm just in a panic trying to find any resources. I thought, who better than folks who may be seeking the same things. Any suggestions are appreciated, and if nothing else, thank you for hearing us. This is a lonely fight and just knowing someone is out there who might care makes life a little brighter.
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