We know so many of you were going above and beyond to help Brandon get this surgery approved through insurance. You were making phone calls, sending prayers, sending positive energy, and pulling out all the stops. It worked! We just got the call from the insurance company informing us that the surgery has been approved! We are confident that this will be the first of many “good news” posts. The funds you all have donated through the GoFundMe page will help Brandon with costs above what insurance pays and costs associated with clinical trials to kick this disease to the curb! What you are doing for Brandon is working, so please keep it up! Thank you so much!
As I get ready to have surgery, I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for every prayer, well wish, positive energy that has been sent my way. It has been overwhelming at points, but you don’t understand how much your thoughtfulness has meant to me and my family. I am going to use this experience to help others who might be scared and not have the support I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with. Your support has put me at ease and has reassured me I will beat this. I hope you all never have to endure this diagnosis, but if you do, know I will support you the same way you have supported me and together we will beat it. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! You all are amazing people and I am blessed to have each of you in my life. Last but not least, Let’s Go Royals! – Brandon
Here we are, just over 24 hours before the scheduled surgery. We still don’t know if insurance will pay for the surgery. We are in the middle of our second appeal and expect to get the decision on that tomorrow. At this point, it’s all or nothing. They will either pay for the entire procedure or none of it. Brandon’s cancer is so rare that (to quote the insurance company) there is no clear standard of care or general consensus as to the optimal treatment for malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. As we said before, we are fighting this with everything we have. Brandon will have this surgery, with or without insurance. And we’re not alone in Brandon’s fight. We have been overwhelmed with the support we’ve received over the past few days. One of Brandon’s co-workers, a true angel, took the initiative to start a GoFundMe page for his benefit. Many of you have already seen it. It is amazing to us, as Brandon’s parents, to see how he has touched someone else in such a way that she felt compelled to do this for him. There are no words to express how thankful we are to her and to each and every one of you who have donated to help Brandon. Seeing how many friends care so much about him lifts his spirits and boosts his confidence that he will win this fight. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
You can cut and paste the following into your browser’s address bar (it won’t work if you paste it into a google search bar) if you’d like to visit the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/3t5xdw8
“No matter how sure you are that a friend will be there for you, it’s the greatest feeling when the time comes and they are.”
I just want to thank everyone for the well wishes and prayers. Your support means more than you know. Reading these thoughtful comments has just made me want to beat this even more. I truly appreciate it and will continue to stay positive throughout this process with your support. Have a wonderful day! – Brandon
Brandon’s parents, Jim and Tonya, will update this page so you can join us on this journey to beat cancer. Feel free to leave messages for Brandon, Kristen or anyone in our family in the comments section, as we will all read those and do appreciate your support and prayers along the way.
Just to bring everyone up to speed, here’s a timeline that brings us to where we are today:
April 25 – Brandon went in for an outpatient laparoscopic diagnostic procedure, during which the surgeon saw some suspicious cells and tissues. She removed his appendix and believed he had appendiceal cancer that may have spread through his abdomen, and she sent those tissues and cells for biopsy. The preliminary pathology showed it was not appendiceal cancer, but they suspected it might be peritoneal mesothelioma and sent the tissues out to another lab. This is an extremely rare cancer affecting around 1 in 2 million, and there are only a few labs in the US who have the capability to diagnose it.
May 5 – Pathology came back confirming primary peritoneal mesothelioma.
May 10 – Met with Dr. Al-Kasspooles (oncology surgeon) at KU Cancer Center for a pre-op consultation on CRS/HIPEC surgery to remove as many of the cancerous cells and tissues as possible and flush the abdomen with warm chemo. This surgery averages 10 hours and will be done on May 25. We are very confident that we have one of the best surgeons with extensive experience doing this surgery.
May 11 – Met with Dr. Chintala (medical oncologist) at KU Cancer Center to discuss post-op treatment. Dr. Chintala told us that since this is such a rare cancer, there is no established protocol for follow-up treatment. She strongly recommended Brandon look into clinical trials at one of the major cancer research hospitals, as there is no current clinical trial for this type of cancer at KU. We were fortunate to get a referral from a well-respected local oncologist to the MD Anderson Cancer Center expert for peritoneal mesothelioma, and we will be contacting him to enroll in a clinical trial as soon as possible.
Our family will fight this with everything we have! Avery Grace has two (of her favorite) words to say to cancer. “No! Stop!” And everyone who knows that little girl knows that cancer better pay attention!