$5,415 of $10,000
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This fundraiser ended on 04/28/12

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The family & friends of Michele & Dawyn are united to help fight this. God Bless you all! Even small donations help.

For anyone who knows her, Dawyn is an optimistic, light-hearted giving person. She has given away her own coat to a homeless person, given away her shoes, taken in homeless people and pets. Everyone who meets her is inspired by her faith. But in October, her light was dimmed by a diagnosis of Inflammatory Breast cancer.

The biopsy was done on Monday 10/10 and we received the results on 10/12. For those of you in the medical fields the diagnosis is invasive ductal carcinoma. Three samples were taken via core biopsy and carcinoma was present in 100% of the submitted tissue.

On 10/13 we met with her treatment team. Let me say that we are extremely pleased and comfortable with the people who are going to be taking care of Dawyn, they are very experienced in their respective fields, caring, compassionate and willing to take as much time as needed with us to make sure we were clear on all of the information we were given. Most importantly, they didn't bat an eyelash at her introduction of me as her spouse and treated us with the same care and respect as any other married couple. That is often a hit or miss in the conservative south and would have sent us doctor shopping. We have enough battles ahead, I'm grateful we didn't have to fight to be recognized as a family.

Back to the medical jargon...the oncologist, Dr Spina reviewed the pathology report with us and gave us copies. The tumor is large, 3.8 cm. Estrogen Receptors = 0%, Progestrone Receptors < 1% so she is not a candidate for hormone therapies. The Her2(c-erB-2) came back as 3+ so a test will be conducted to confirm that as we are looking at Herceptin IV as being part of her treatment. In English: HER2+ cancer cells have more HER2 receptors (a particular protein found on the surface of cells) than normal cells. HER2+ cancer is considered aggressive because it grows and spreads quickly. A skin biopsy was done 10/24 revealing that she also has Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
The long and short of this is that treatment began with chemo therapy on 10/25. She received it in two phases. Phase I will be Adriamycin and Cytoxan delivered through a portcath ( put in on 10/24) every 2 weeks for 4 cycles (basically means for 8 weeks). Phase II consisted of Taxol and Herceptin on alternating weeks for 8 weeks. So chemo treatments lasted about 16 weeks total. The purpose of this is to shrink the tumor prior to surgery (Phase III) to remove it. We understand the possible side effects and don't want to go into it here. We are focusing ONLY on the positive so no playing "what If".

Surgery is scheduled for 2/29. It will be a bilateral mastectomy with Node removal. How many nodes and what we find when the surgeon gets in there will determine where we go from here. After surgery, she will receive radiation treatments (Phase IV). We don't know when they will start or how long they will last because that is dependent on the other three phases of her treatment.

We have been asked several times if this has been "caught" early. It was caught as early as it could have been. Dawyn just turned 40, regular mammogram screening for women doesn't start earlier than this typically. There was no medical reason for Dawyn to have had a mammogram prior to her 40th birthday, her family doesn't have much cancer history.

Dawyn's approach and attitude are awesome. She is confident, her oncologist and surgeon are confident and I am confident in her prognosis. We are taking each day as it comes, we understand that there will be some tough ones ahead of us but we got this.

As it stands, medical bills are piling up. We have currently 7,200.00 out of pocket that we have either started payments on, or have made some arrangements, but by the time radiation therapy starts, we wil be starting the whole deductible mess again, which means $14,400.

Dawyn has also noticed that there are no groups out there that help fund radiation therapy. Anything not needed for her medical care will be given to Caromont Healthcare to pay for radiation treatment for other people who need the same treatment. Remember... any size donation helps. And be sure to share this with your friends and ask them to share it as well. Maybe we can fund more than just one cancer patient.
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