Last summer of 2012, Jason (age41) his wife Marissa and their two children Emilio and Marcello were traveling every other week to Western Pennsylvania to visit his father who was battling cancer. During their last visit in late August, Jason had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor ordered for an MRI and found out it was a tumor in the right frontal lobe. A few days later, Jason and his family returned home and went immediately to see a wonderful neurosurgeon in Philadelphia. The doctor looked at the scans and determined that Jason would need a craniotomy to remove the tumor the very next morning. Jason and his wife Marissa were devastated by the news. They had no time to mentally and emotionally prepare for what was to come next.
A few days after the operation while recovering in the hospital, Jason received a phone call from his sister saying that their beloved father had lost his battle to cancer. Saying Jason was upset because he could not attend his father’s funeral would be an understatement. A week later, Jason was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiform (GBM). It is an aggressive cancer that attacks the brain and spinal cord. There is no cure for this cancer and he would be considered lucky if he survives five years.
A month later, Jason had started chemo and radiation, but a few days into it, Jason started to behave differently. Jason was taken back to the hospital where they did another MRI. The scans showed the tumor came back with vengeance in the same location. Once again, the surgeon performed a second craniotomy to remove the tumor. This time the surgeon was able to do a total resection. In some ways we felt as though Jason’s father was there with him. GBM is compared to a weed, just when you think you have it all out, there are more cells hiding in the brain and you never know when it will return.
Two weeks after surgery Jason was finally able to go through six weeks of chemo and radiation. In January 2013, Jason had a follow up MRI and was given the bad news that the cells had returned. Jason was immediately put on a more aggressive type of chemotherapy and the doctors researched a new device that was created for this particular cancer. The doctors contacted the company and Jason is the first in the hospital to try it! The device stays on Jason’s head day and night to stop the cells from dividing. So far he is doing very well and he has had a few good MRI scans since wearing the device.
Through this whole nightmare, we are amazed at Jason’s constant positive outlook on life. Though he would love to see his boys grow up, he says if he were to go tomorrow it would be ok, because he has led a great life. His strength and courage are a true inspiration.
Update:07/15/13 Jason's tumor has returned and is scheduled for his third craniontomy Friday July 19, 2013.
How can you help:
Unfortunately, Jason did not have health insurance when he became ill to cover the outstanding medical expenses. A year prior to his illness, he and his wife were both laid off from their jobs. Jason was employed for 15 years and his wife for 10 years. He has had some help with the cost, but not enough. We need your help raising funds for Jason’s medical bills and other future expenses, so he can have one less burden on his shoulders.
Please post, send to your family and friends, and share liberally. We appreciate any support that you can provide. And please keep Jason in your prayers.
P.S. If you are having trouble with sending a donation through this website, you can send a donation to; Marissa Chmel - PO Box 123 Mechanicsville, Pa 18934-0123