Hello, my name is Kim, I am 53 years old, mother to a beautiful fourteen year old son who is diagnosed with autism. His father died when he was 3 years old from a heart attack, and in April 2021, his mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
We sold our home and belongings in February 2021 to move to an apartment in a school district that could address Jay’s special needs. Soon after, my energy was gone, the right side of my neck became painful and swollen, and red marks began appear on my skin. Two months later, after misdiagnoses and rounds of antibiotics, a doctor did a biopsy on a swollen lymph node in the hospital, and sent it to a lab. He then diagnosed me with Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of unknown origin. He could not find where the cancer was originating. There was a 3.6 cm mass behind my sternocleidomastoid neck muscle.
A PET scan revealed several cancerous lymph nodes in the same area. The cancer had also spread to two nodes above my clavicle, one under my left chest muscle, and a small spot in the right lobe of my liver. They found a blood clot in my jugular vein from the tumor putting pressure on it for weeks, and prescribed a blood thinner. This caused an abdominal bleed. Hemoglobin dropped to 6. Had a 3 day hospital stay, a blood transfusion, and abdominal surgery. The next 8 weeks were spent undergoing chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. To date I have lost 60 lbs.
Jay is a smart young man, and is doing well academically so far, but his social/emotional health is an ongoing worry. If I die, we have no family who will take him in. He does have godparents, who he hasn’t seen in 11 years, who still would be glad to have him. They are not familiar with autism.
After the chemoradiation was done, the CT scan showed there were no more abnormal areas visible except a 1.7 cm. lymph node in my neck, and the spot on the liver, which is now less than half its former size. The doctors were pleased at the results.
Now, the second phase of chemotherapy has begun. It includes 3 medications, one requiring me to wear a pump home for a week every month for three months. When the pump was removed, my mouth and throat erupted in painful blisters, a common side effect of the medicine. Eating had already been a struggle. My platelets and white blood cell counts came down to dangerous levels. Another blood transfusion and platelets were given last week. My son’s grandmother drove 3 hours at the spur of the moment to stay with him while I was in the hospital. We have no family in our new town. Currently they are doing injections of another medicine to stimulate my bone marrow to make more white blood cells. The 2nd round of the new chemo regimen had to be postponed due to these side effects.
Most all my savings and investments had to get us through this year. I have not been able to do my usual work for additional income, as the expenses continue to rise.
My son believes I will recover because he says he has a strong mama. He sees me doing everything possible to stay alive, to continue to nurture him and help him get prepared to take care of himself when he no longer has me.
There are two more rounds of the 3 chemo medicines left to do. After that, a once per month immunotherapy medicine for up to two years. It is possible to go into remission for a period of years. I hope to be finished with the latest chemo regimen in January 2022, and then will start a once per month immunotherapy drug
This fund will help us pay our bills for the remainder of the window of my treatment time. If I pass away, it will convert to a fund for my son, Jesse, as he will be an orphan with no family who can take him. He will have a legal representative who would make sure he gets any help we are able to raise. I do not plan on dying, and have a strong will to raise my son. Any help that you feel able and willing to provide will go a long way for us.
Please e-mail me at tulipfrancine@ gmail.com for any questions or concerns, more contact information, and what verification of our information and us that you need.
My son is the light of my life, and I am his rock. Please help. We will be forever grateful. Thank you.