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David Castleman Cancer Survival

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This fundraiser ended on 05/04/12

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David, Helen and Nico are asking you to help any way you possibly can in lengthening our time together and support David's fight!

I have or should I say we have been dreading doing this . . . asking for help, particularly financially doesn’t make us comfortable. The situation as it stands is pretty dire. I awoke on the morning of December 27 with what felt like being hit in the left kidney with a bat. After blood work, ct scans, and numerous other tests, it became clear I had an adrenal hemorrhage and it was continuing to bleed into my abdomen. After several days in the hospital the bleed plateaued and the hope was the blood would be absorbed over time and the pain would diminish with it. After the scheduled follow-up ct scan it became clear something else was growing at a pretty alarming rate. Now I have had countless tests and some of you know where we stand and some of you don’t. I do have what has been determined as a genetic defect that has caused an unfathomably quick growth of melanoma tumors throughout pretty much my entire torso. It is a good thing that this hasn’t gotten into my brain or bones, but with all the tumors pushing in my organs and nerves the pain grows daily. Melanoma is not curable (particularly at this stage), but the chemo I start this week has shown a lot of progress in shrinking tumors. This chemo however is not a cure. The only real chance I may have at extending my life is probably getting into some sort of clinical test trial. We are traveling wherever in the country the most promising breakthroughs are being made. I also plan on going to see an alternative treatment specialist who in addition to other things will completely restructure my diet. Thankfully we do have health insurance, but of course much of this is uncovered, particularly anything alternative or experimental. The price of chemotherapy is also very expensive. We have been living off of one salary since August when I had to have scar tissue removed from my intestines. We have no idea how expensive this will get being that we haven’t even started chemo and we already are in well over $1,000 with just the adrenal hemorrhage hospital stay, not including the tests.

I feel I should give a brief history for those of you I just reconnected with. 25 years ago I had testicular cancer. After the removal of the testicle I had a huge surgical procedure to remove multiple lymph nodes throughout my abdomen, including an incision from my sternum to my crotch. All of my intestines were set off to the side so they could get in my abdomen to remove the lymph nodes. Because of the grand scale of that procedure I have had to have multiple surgeries removing new scar tissue that had grown in my abdomen causing pain or blockages. Several years after that I was in a very bad car accident. I initially had a migraine that lasted 24/7 for over three years. Once my neurologist decreased my migraines (down to 5 to 10 a month), we realized I had chronic pain in my neck, shoulders and upper back. That pain eventually led to replacing a disc and inserting a plate in my neck. Until this new melanoma-related pain I had been dealing with that chronic pain to this day on a daily basis. The final piece in this historical puzzle is my first meeting with this my evil nemesis, melanoma. Five years ago I noticed a mole on my back (one that had been there my entire life) was getting darker and growing closer to the color in my tattoo. I immediately saw a dermatologist and his decision was that it looked far too much like melanoma to biopsy and he removed the entire mole. Although it had been fairly small and was completely removed, because of my history with cancer the decision was made to take the next step. A much larger piece of skin was excised from my back along with some lymph nodes in my armpit. All of the biopsy reports came back clean and there was no sign of the disease, until now (five years later).

In 25 years as you can see I have had a full plate. Some dozen odd surgeries, twenty years of non-stop pain and I can’t help but ask myself, “why me?” Maybe it is unfair, maybe it isn't... But when I look at my amazing partner and my beautiful daughter one thing is for sure, I am going to do anything I can to gain more time on this earth with them. I have no idea what is going to help me do that or what it will cost but I know I can’t win this fight on my own. Anyone out there that can help us we will be forever in your debt. To be honest we don't have the faintest idea how expensive this is going to get and it could be astronomical. If you can’t help us financially please keep us in your thoughts, your prayers and your positive energy. One thing you can count on is I will be fighting on this end.

I love you all. I thank you for the kindness and for the amount of reaching out so many of you have already done.

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