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This fundraiser ended on 10/20/12

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This is the JAMES OERTEL CANCER FUND. All funds will be used for James' medical costs and expenses not covered by insurance. Please support!

In June 2011, my husband came home from work ill. Within a few hours, EMT was in my living room strapping James to a gurney and taking him the the ER. In less than 5 hours, I was told he needed an emergency appendectomy. During the labwork and pretesting of a CT scan, a large mass was noticed on his left kidney. His surgeon spoke with me prior to surgery and stated that James' mass will need to be followed up immediately after a short recovery. Surgery went well buy my focus was on the "mass". " What was it? Oh my god, it's cancer. Does James know yet?" A million questions went through my mind.
Three weeks after the first surgery, his specialist told us that he was not 100% sure what the mass was but that he would do whatever it took to remove it, save the kidney, remove the kidney....anything to save James' life. James got through the grueling 2 hour surgery. The surgeon spoke with me afterwards and told me that James is fine, it went well but he had to removed the entire left kidney. He said he didn't think it metasticized to any other organs or arteries. His recovery would be very lengthy due to a first surgery just 3 short weeks ago. His surgeon told us that James' biopsy report showed it was indeed cancer, stage 2 and that all margins were clear. His doctor also said he would not have to undergo chemo or any radiation. During all of these surgeries and recovery times, James had used all sick and vacation days from work. He did qualify for short term disability yet that wasn't nearly enough to get by month to month.
A week after being released from his second surgery, James complained of severe nausea, headache and fever. His skin was turning jaundice. He had severe pain the the kidney removal site. The next morning he had his first checkup with the surgeon but instead, we drove straight to the ER, again. Another CT scan and labwork revealed a large blood clot in the organ cavity and that the clot was very infected causing all of those symptoms. Again, admitted to the hospital, James was giving extremely high doses of antibiotics and ultimately had a tube surgically placed into the kidney site through his back for blood drainage. Another 9 days later, James was released for a third time in less than 60 days. We had borrowed all we could from our children, families and immediate friends. James is doing fairly well now, but all of the the surgeries and recovery times finally ended the end of September 2011. He began back to work only part-time (12-15 hours a week) because his company division was not doing very well. He was told in October that he would go back to full time but that never happened.
Our rent and utilities were always later and we decided we can't eat hot dogs and beans anymore. In February 2012, his boss told James and fellow employees that the Florida division will be closing by the end of February. James must have applied to over 400 job ad boards, newspaper ads and online job sites. Not 1 response.
In March 2012, James received a call for a job in New Mexico but we would have to fund our own trip, meals, hotels, and all moving truck and packing materials. Our options were very limited. Stay in FL with no home or move to a new place, a new job and hope for the best. Again borrowing what we could from whomever we could, we did get packed and headed out to New Mexico. We lived in a hotel room for over 65 days, ate microwave meals and felt completely helpless in a state where we knew no one. He hired on April but due to company processess, his paychecks were held up for over 3 weeks. Needless to say, our debt has far more exceeded any expectation we've ever had. We need your help and prayers to help to us keep our heads above water and the little sanity that we have left. Your donations, your prayers and thoughts would be so much appreciated. Miracles do happen. Let one happen for James and myself.
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