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Roxanne's husband, friends and family are uniting to raise money to help with her battle against cancer. Please show your support. Thank you

On May 5, 2014, my world as I knew it came to an end. My dear wife Roxanne was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. The prognosis was not good. Without treatment she might survive three months before cancer claimed her life. With treatment, the prognosis was survival for 12 to 24 months. The only available treatment was chemotherapy, which is essentially poison that kills cancer cells, along with healthy cells.

Roxanne went through the treatment protocol with grace and dignity, but suffered ALL of the side effects: nausea, extreme fatigue, hair loss, diarrhea, and other maladies.  The cumulative effects of chemotherapy—the chemicals build up in your body— caused her immune system to become so weak she contracted shingles, which postponed her treatment for three weeks. During the last week of therapy, she was given several painful injections to boost her white blood cell count.

After the treatment was complete, Roxanne had a CT scan to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.  Her oncologist told us her cancer was stable, but there were no maintenance drugs for her disease. He said all we could do was keep our fingers crossed, and get a scan every three months to monitor the progress of the disease.

The February scan showed that some of the tumors had grown; others remained stable, while others had shrunk. The oncologist told us he was going to investigate alternative treatment protocols. Three days later, the FDA approved a drug called Opdivo for treating lung cancer. The drug originally known as Nivolumab, has been extensively tested in a clinical trail, which is still ongoing. It strengthens the immune system, giving it the ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.  Roxanne was fortunate enough to be one of the last lung cancer patients accepted for the trail. So this is our new hope for beating her cancer. Without this treatment, the cancer will continue to grow, giving her a very gloomy prognosis.

Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for our renewed hope. In January, our health insurance premium doubled, and the amount we must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company covers Roxanne’s healthcare 100 percent has quadrupled. The clinical trial requires us to spend additional time at the clinic meeting with the doctor, getting tests and follow-up scans. The drug company pays for the clinical trial drug, but we are responsible for all associated expenses. When we factor these additional medical costs into our budget, our monthly expenses for healthcare, food, mortgage, utilities and other essential items greatly exceeds our meager fixed income. Please note that this treatment is Roxanne’s only hope for beating cancer.

In addition to improving Roxanne’s health, something else I’d dearly love to see happen is a long overdue reunion with Roxanne’s family in North Louisiana. Even though she hasn’t seen her family in over 30 years, she has remained in close contact with them. Our original plan to travel to Louisiana for the long overdue family reunion was nipped in the bud due to increased health insurance premiums, increased out-of-pocket health expenses, and an unexpected dental emergency.

The urgency for a reunion is even more imperative now that her older sister Peggy—who was like a mom to Roxanne when they were growing up—is in a nursing home, critically ill with Alzheimer’s disease. Staying in contact over the phone and through Facebook is all well and good, but nothing beats a warm hug and a joy-filled face-to-face reunion. With your help, this can happen.

The new medical developments give Roxanne a real chance to beat her cancer. But to do this, she needs your help. I humbly ask you to join Team Roxanne and provide any assistance you can in the form of moral or financial support.

Thank you,

Doug Sahlin

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