Cancer Warrior Needs Funding For Second Battle

For: Kenneth Lawrence Carlson
Organizer: Amanda Carlson
Cancer Warrior Needs Funding For Second Battle (Kenneth Lawrence Carlson)
of $6,000 goal.
Raised by 25 donors
61% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Ken Carlson is fighting a very rare form of Cancer - Burkitt's Lymphoma - for the second time in less than 12 months.  Because of the rarity and type of treatment he needs, there is only one place in British Columbia that will provide treatment.  We have all the confidence that Ken has the best doctors, but unfortunately, medical costs are rising.

When Ken was first diagnosed, in August of 2012, he had a good prognosis; he traveled 600+km away from his family to Vancouver, British Columbia, to receive life-saving chemotherapy.  And treatment was very successful, and he was in remission within 5 months.

Unfortunately, by April of 2013, his cancer had returned, and had advanced from stage 2, to stage 4 (having spread into his bone marrow).

Hope is not lost.

Ken was fortunate to be matched with a bone marrow donor, and will undergo a transplant to replace his cancerous tissue with healthy tissue.

Ken's first fight with cancer left his family financially exhausted.  He is currently not receiving any sort of disability benefits, leaving his wife to support their family, which includes two very young sons.  Ken needs help raising money to pay for his drugs and accommodation while he is away in Vancouver, at a cost of about $1500/month.  Because of his bone marrow transplant, he will be required to remain in Vancouver for 100-120 days beyond the end of treatment, to reduce the risk of rejection issues.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.  Please help me bring my childrens' Daddy home.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 29, 2013

Posted on August 29, 2013

The last few weeks have brought more ups and downs.  Ken, thankfully, has shown great improvement.  Powerful antiviral drugs have driven down the virus he was fighting, and I'm hoping the next time the doctors do a viral count, it won't be detectable.  He's been discharged back into the Cancer Lodge, and is doing better with each passing day.

The doctors are trying to reduce his anti-rejection drugs, to get them down to as low a dose as possible.  As awesome as the drugs are, there are serious side effects, so using as little as possible is in Ken's best interest.  Aside from that, there is also the cost - Cyclosporine (Neoral) is veryexpensive.  It comes in 25mg and 50mg capsules... and Ken is currently on 150mg twice a day (down from 275mg twice daily).

With the decreased dose of Cyclosporine and Prednisone, Ken is now experiencing Graft Verses Host.  This is a bad thing, in that Ken currently has a very uncomfortable, itchy rash and his new immune system attacks his body.  It is a goodthing in that a) it's obvious, allowing the doctors to adjust his anti-rejection drugs, and b) in theory, his new immune system should hunt down and destroy any remaining cancer cells (I'm hoping that there aren't any, but if there are, I hope this GVHgets every last one).

I'm feeling very optimistic.

There have been times recently where I've been very unsure as to what the ultimate outcome was going to be for my husband, but now, I'm feeling very good.

Posted on August 8, 2013

Posted on August 8, 2013

Better late than never with an update, eh?

The last month has been a total roller coaster ride.  Ken was discharged out of hospital and into outpatient care.  I traveled down to the coast with our boys to provide care from him - he required a lot of assistance.  All the drugs and treatments he's been on a part of his stem cell transplant protocol have left him weak and shaky, hardly even able to walk even.  Medication reactions left him severely dehydrated, which meant addition trips back into the hospital for fluid therapy.

And did I mention I had two toddlers with us all through this?  Needless to say, it was a very difficult trip for all parties involved.

Since then, Ken was doing ok, until he picked up a virus.  I'm not sure where he got it from - could be that he was exposed to someone carrying it, or perhaps he's carried it within his own body all along.  In any event, he became sick enough that he's been re-admitted into the hospital and put into isolation.  He may have pneumonia or worse.  On the one hand, I'm glad he's been re-admitted - there's no better place for him to receive care.  On the other hand, I'm scared that his discharge time to return home will be delayed, or (far) worse - he won't make it home at all.  So far, he has shown some minor improvement, and isn't having to rely on his oxygen mask as much or as often.  But he's still feeling pretty lousy, and is still restricted to his room.  We're awaiting the results on his chest x-rays, to see if there's been improvement since the last films were taken.  No word yet at this point.

Through this all, Ken is keeping positive, but more than anything, he wants to come home.  At the end of this month, it'll be a year since this journey began - a very long year.

Posted on July 10, 2013

Posted on July 10, 2013

Is that even a word?

In any event, there are now signs that Ken's Stem Cell transplant is working, and his body is now producing new red blood cells, new white blood cells, and new platelets.  The last few days, there have been small but very realincreases in his blood values - very good signs!

At the same time, the last few weeks have not been without trial - Ken has had several complications post- transplant.  These complications are not unusual, but still make recovery that much more difficult.  On top of the Mucositis, Ken has also been retaining fluid - about 10 kilograms worth.  His doctors and nurses have been treating him accordingly, and have reduced the amount retained by several kilograms (about 2 litres of excess fluid).  Unfortunately, this isn't the same as retaining water around that time of the month... this excess water impacts blood pressure and heart function too.  Slowly, I believe the doctors are getting it under control.

Although Ken's discharge date is still very much in the air, it is in the foreseeable future, and I'm hoping to bring our sons with me when he's released - he will need 24/7 care for the first 14 days after release from the hospital, to ensure that no new complications arise.

This has presented yet another challenge - finding affordable family lodging near the hospital.  The Cancer Lodge is not 'child friendly'.  The Ronald McDonald House only houses the families of sick children, not sick parents.  The Easter Seals House will take us, but they are currently booked, and have put us on a waiting list.  I am very hopeful that space will open up - I love my young sons dearly, and want to have them with me.  And Ken misses them terribly.

Any prayers/positive thoughts sent our way are greatly appreciated - we've come this far, the end is now in sight!!!

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