These last 3 months have been the worst time of my life. Things got worse when we found out Johanna’s melanoma staging went up to stage 3 last month when one lymph node removed tested positive for melanoma. This puts her at a 60-70% chance of re-occurrence. We were so hopeful that it wouldn’t be that bad after all the other positive results we had. The future just seems so uncertain right now. I just want to know she’s going to be OK.
When we found out more about the cutting edge breakthroughs in melanoma treatment called immunotherapy, specifically a drug called Nivolumab that has only been on the market since December 2014 and the remarkable effects it has had on melanoma patients, we were given great hope. In fact the creators of this treatment just won a Nobel Prize for it at the beginning of the month. However this treatment is only currently available (funded) to stage 4 patients in Canada due to health Canada regulations. They are in the works on getting it to be funded for stage 3 but we just don’t know for sure when that will happen. And it’s expensive at a cost of $180,000 for a year of treatment.
To just wait and see and let Johanna get worse to stage 4 to have the treatment funded is simply not an option (nor is another treatment offered that would have little effect and awful side affects) and so we are left with no real choice but to pay for the treatments, however way we can (loans, selling house, fundraising). So we wanted to initially raise $60,000 to cover 4 months worth of treatment, in hopes by then that health Canada will have approved it for stage 3.
We were planning to launch a Go Fund Me campaign. This was such a deep and dark valley for us to go through but God’s comfort was never far from us and we have felt so much peace from Him. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Moments after I posted this we were informed that Access Hope Program is going to fully fund the treatment. She is the first person in Canada with stage 3 cancer to be fully funded!!!! God is so good!
Johanna: I feel like people look at me differently now that I have cancer. I'm NOT any different. Really, I'm the same person, just going through something incredibly hard. But it could happen to anyone. Cancer doesn't make me different; it just makes my life a little more difficult in this season.
When you see me, sure you can ask me about cancer, but let's talk about other things too? I already have cancer taking up so much brain space. I don't really feel like talking about it all the time. I want to talk about happy things too. Or things that make me laugh. Or about how good God can be.
Anyway....that's where I'm at.