Update March 26 2020
This week we were told that in the current situation, my dad could have just months to live. Conventional cancer treatments have run out of options for my dad. We however, are not ready to throw in the towel - the fight isn’t over. I am continuously working to reach a larger audience because even though my efforts have done well, I am not there yet. I am hoping to gain the desperately needed funds, but also to connect with the world community who may have lived through something similar. Even though this whole process has felt incredibly exposing and we are not the type of people to easily ask for money, I would do anything to save my family.
During these bleak moments, my family and I encourage each other to “keep our heads up”; we are not done fighting and we must keep going - there has to be more options out there. I also think it is important to reflect on what we have done so far - I think there are a lot of misconceptions about battling cancer and the toll that it can really take.
What does a battle with rare cancer take?
While certain cancers can be treated conventionally, what is offered here is extremely limited. Rare and aggressive cancers require a unique and individualized approach that are not offered here which is why we are pursuing treatment abroad. In my personal opinion, we probably should have done it sooner.
Since 2016, we have always pursued a private team to work in tandem with the conventional cancer care offered. Extensive research indicates the importance of naturopathic and integrative therapies and treatments for supporting the immune system and the body so that it can withstand the extremely harmful effects of chemotherapy. These naturopathic and alternative therapies are not covered or funded by conventional treatment plans.
We paid privately to send samples to the RGCC Labs in Germany (they also have labs in Greece). They performed an analysis of the cancer cells where they expose them to various chemotherapy and naturopathic agents to create an individual profile of how to approach fighting the cancer. Our results indicated that most chemotherapies would not have a large impact on the cancer, that many naturopathic agents would be extremely helpful and also that his cancer is sensitive to heat. What upsets me is that it appears that conventional treatments here are bound by protocols, our test results did not seem to be acknowledged when making a treatment plan.
Limited to what we can access here, we bought an infrared sauna. We actually have an infrared sauna in our basement! Our dad sits in there for his allotted time every single day! The never ending amount of treatments, appointments and supplements add up quickly, we averaged what my parents are spending on my dad’s cancer treatments each month and it totals about $10,000 per month. Over the years we have paid privately for additional PET scans and MRIs to try to better understand the cancer and pursue further testing when these things weren’t funded to do so. Additionally, we have had to pay for some chemotherapies that were not covered or funded by the system.
We are pursuing treatment abroad because the cancer that my dad has is extremely rare. We need an individually tailored treatment that we have not been able access here. In many cases, the treatments can only be delivered in the destination country and require a residency of up to 16-20 weeks. The treatment costs per program vary depending on the program but the typical range for one customized treatment program is $80,000 to $200,000 USD.
My dad has recently started keeping a private blog of his experiences. It is empowering to document a journey so when you are feeling low you can see how far you have come. His recent entry includes where we are at now:
The daily medication for the last two weeks has “knocked me off my feet” like nothing I have experienced before, attacking my body, exhausting my legs, eliminating balance and stamina, disrupting my gastrointestinal systems, etc. and I am struggling to continue.
It is clear my doctors have deployed all the conventional therapies except for some experimental or trials that are underway, but none of these approaches have been proven effective against my rare form of metastasized male breast cancer. While they have earned a huge debt of gratitude from me for everything they have done, I know I need to cast a broader net outside of Canada and find alternate solutions that are based on my specific cancer pathology. It starts by getting a fresh biopsy of my cancer “liquid-DNA sequenced” by a specialty lab and then using that analysis and material to develop the right treatment regime that is lab-verified in a petri dish to be effective against your specific pathology.
Our dad is an amazing man; generous, hardworking, loving, intelligent and incredibly strong. He is the rock of our family; loving husband to Roberta, and nurturing father to Laura, Marissa and Jessica. To us, family is everything.
Sharing our dad’s battle isn’t easy, we have always been an incredibly close and private family. However, we are running out of options and the options available are simply out of our reach financially. The burden on our parents is unbearable.
We are so very grateful for the support and love of family and friends as our dad has bravely and tirelessly faced this journey, particularly
during this past year during Covid-19 restrictions. Your love, prayers and positive energy have lifted our family up and given us the strength and determination to keep fighting dad’s cancer.
We had hoped we wouldn’t have to, but we are now asking for the financial support from our family and community as our dad’s treatment in Canada has not been working and his current treatment is not fully funded. Alternative treatments available through the United States, Germany and Japan are his last hope for beating this very aggressive, mutating and rare form of metastatic male breast cancer.
Our family, and especially our dad, have battled tirelessly, exhausting all of our resources. Our dad deserves to win his fight, and we will do anything to help him try.
The past year has been tough for many and so we deeply appreciate any amount you can contribute.
Michael’s Cancer Journey
In July 2016, Michael was diagnosed with a very rare and extremely aggressive form of triple-positive male breast cancer. This came as a complete shock to all of us as Michael had always been so healthy with no real family history of cancer. He received the diagnosis by phone while driving across the country to the place he loves most, his cabin, and had to quickly return. With the help of his great surgeon, oncologist and naturopath, Michael had a mastectomy, completed rounds of chemotherapy, and had a number of radiation treatments, all of which were supported by naturopathic additions. After all of this he was then put on a hormonal treatment for what was to be the next five years. During this time, our parents sought extensively for more information and researched this very rare form of male breast cancer, nearly all available treatments were based on women.
During follow up, his outcome looked very promising and our family rejoiced. He was basically given a “clean bill of health” in 2018. Still, our parents continued to research, pay for naturopathic treatments, scans and embraced healthy organic living. Michael stepped back from his career and directed his energy into the pursuit of healing while doing some fundraising for various Cancer causes.
During the month of March, 2020, our world changed. While still on a 6-month follow-up, and just as things were being shut down for Covid-19 reasons, Michael developed intense back pain. At first, we thought it was sciatica and pursued talking to family doctors and trying virtual physio. As the pain rapidly escalated to unbearable, our mom took Michael to the emergency department where he was admitted. After multiple scans over a few days, we were told that he had Stage IV Metastatic Breast cancer, which had spread to his spine, lungs, liver and lymph nodes; essentially taking over his entire body. This was absolutely devastating news.
Michael was treated through the palliative program for his pain and began aggressive chemotherapy which made him very ill. It was an exhausting spring, physically and emotionally, but our family remained hopeful. His chemo plan was changed to another treatment protocol which was hoped would be successful. A PET scan in September, 2020 showed the disease had spread further. He was put on the next line of chemotherapy and underwent another round of radiation on his spine. This was a difficult time for our family, but we remained determined to do everything possible to change the outcome of this metastatic cancer diagnosis. By November, Michael had some reprieve from the pain and he continued with naturopathic treatments to help heal while undergoing chemo every three weeks. In December, a new PET scan showed some improvements and our family was very grateful and encouraged.
In January 2021, his cancer markers and pain started to increase again, and his oncologist was concerned that his aggressive cancer had mutated again and was becoming resistant to this third round of chemotherapy. In February, he underwent more scans that showed aggressive spread of his cancer. Currently, he has started a new protocol for chemotherapy and was able to receive partial funding for compassionate reasons. Michael’s doctors are exhausting all treatment options available in Canada.
Now we desperately need the help of our community. Receiving medical treatment outside Canada is extremely costly and we don’t want lack of funding to prohibit Michael from receiving the treatment he so desperately needs. While we are still consulting with a number of US-based sources of alternative/integrated cancer care, we are clear that we need to pursue gene analysis of his cancer to identify the mutation drivers and the treatments that are available for his unique cancer.
Gene profiling/sequencing from the USA, gene expression therapy for breast cancer from Japan, ozone/oxygenation at the cell level from the USA and a vaccine developed specifically for the cancer cells extracted from the current biopsy have been recommended for him. These combined treatments can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars and we simply cannot keep up.
Please help us remove this financial barrier for our dad and our family by donating any amount to help his fight. This form of male breast cancer is not well understood, and is not responding well to established protocols. This cancer is stealing our dad from us.
We appreciate any love and support you can send our way, our family continues to fight this battle with cancer any way we can.
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