ianunderhill vs. cancer (RIP Nick)


Amoebic wrote:


Thank you all for your patience. I've set up a page over at gofundme.com for folks to donate towards signet cell cancer research, freegeek, and Rush University Medical Center (depending on your contribution levels) on behalf of ianunderhill. I've added links to the specific organizations in the donations page, as well, if folks prefer to do so individually.

Part of why I wanted to do it as a lump sum style donation to the organizations was so that we could do them in one fell swoop in memory of Nick, and have a letter sent to a recipient regarding the donations (the PO box, of course!) which can be made available to Sistertomisterunderhill and her parents.

I've touched on it a few times around the boards before, but colon cancer (and cancer in general, frankly) is an issue that is very immediate and near to my heart because of how it has affected my family and friends, Nick and Steph included. This is an issue that has touched many people in heart-wrenching ways, and one of the things we can do to help fight back the tide of frustration and loss for others is to contribute to research that can help future folks who contract this devastating and aggressive form of cancer.

If you can, please donate. Even if it's just a dollar. If you can't, I completely understand. I've been broke. I've been there. If it's all you can do at this time, please feel free to leave a kind comment on the contributions page like the messages you've left here.

Again, thanks all for your patience, support, and information (special thanks to everyone who sent a helpful pm!).

If someone could please link to the donations page in the original post, I would really appreciate it.

After spending five days in hospital and being subjected to a CT scan, colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, and having more than seven liters of fluid drained from my abdomen, I have been diagnosed with signet cell carcinoma. All I know so far is that this type of cancer is rare and rarer still in younger, relatively healthy people like myself (I'm 30, bicycle for transportation and sport, and am generally quite a healthy person). The good news is that it seems like the tumor is limited to my colon - nothing was found in my stomach. The bad is that all I know at this point is that some type of chemo and subsequent surgery will be in the cards. I should get a prognosis and more details on treatment at my first appointment with the outpatient GI cancer clinic here on Tuesday. The wait between my planned discharge tomorrow and then is going to be a long one.

I've started this thread for two reasons:
A). My story. I need a place to get this stuff down and other folks on GWJ expressed interest in hearing about it.
B) Support. I'm a single guy who lives far from any family. I've got friends, but outside perspective can be useful. In my brief time here on the forums, I've seen how people look out for each other, and that sounds like just what I need right now.

Support goes another way: I may need financial help and advice getting through this. Regrettably I don't have have health insurance - the job doesn't offer it and on my income I can't afford to buy my own. Never been an issue until all this unpleasantness. If anyone has recommendations of a mechanism for taking donations, let me know. I feel weird asking for help but I've been told by others here that I ought to, and so here I am.

UPDATE: ChipIn page is at http://nickkeiser.chipin.com/my-batt... should you wish to donate.

The initial hospital bill may potentially be zero due to this being a non-profit hospital and their charity care policies. I'm under the cap they have for a 100% discount (I make less than 300% of the Federally determined US poverty level), so it might not be bad so far. When I switch from hospital to professional (outpatient) services though, these guidelines do not necessarily apply. I'll be talking with lots of financial counselors in addition to doctors. The other trick is what missing work means to my pocketbook as I go through treatment.

I'm not thrilled about any of this. My own autonomy is one of the few things that keeps me sane, so in addition to the physical issues involved with all this, everything that involves reliance on others is going to eat at me badly. I figure it's good to recognize this up front. I've got a hell of a road ahead of me. I can only hope my story will prove useful to someone else in some capacity, and that one day no one will have to face down this beast with uncertainty or fear.

Thank you in advance for tolerating my prattled self-importance.

Nick's Sister wrote:

Hello, all. I'm Nick's twin sister-- he's better known to you fine folks as ianunderhill. It is with a completely heavy and broken heart that I write this post. After moving to FL, Nick deteriorated quickly, and his suffering was eased this morning. He passed at our parents home with both of them by his side. Our dad called me this morning and said he went peacefully and hospice ensured that he felt no pain. There will not be any services, as Nick's wishes included that future signet cell patients may have a better chance thanks to research that will be conducted on the body he has left behind. (I prefer to think his spirit just filled with so much love and goodness from a fulfilled life he was pleased with, that he just had to move on to something bigger and better.)

I struggled all day with whether I should say anything here or not, and then what to say. I came to the conclusion that there really wasn't any way to do the situation much justice. I live in Raleigh, and obviously, I didn't get much chance to see for myself that he wasn't alone. What I found, when I read through this thread, was an amazing community of individuals who truly cared, and who provided various forms of support, encouragement, friendship, and entertainment. You all brought Nick something very special in just being here and doing what Goodjers do, and in so doing, provided me some comfort (unintentionally, and indirectly) as well. He most definitely was not alone. Thank you, you don't know how much that meant or even still means.

Again, I am truly sorry for you all to lose him. I know first hand how very special he was. Much love to each and every one of you, and many many thanks for the love you showed to him.

My thoughts and prayers are with you ianunderhill.

Echoing what many of us said in the other thread, good luck. And we'll help however we can.

"prattled self importance?" My friend, I think you underestimate what this forum is about. We are full of that.

That said, I sincerely hope that all goes well, if not more than well for you. We all have our trials in life, and I've found that as I've gone through mine(none so major as what you're going through, granted) I can say that on the flipside of them, things have been better. Life may suck for a while in the interim, but on the tail end of it I sincerely believe that you'll come out for the better, be it in the ability to share your story that others may benefit, or finding an inner strength you never knew existed, or even just an appreciation for all those who *will* stand behind you in the days, weeks, months to come.

So take care of yourself. Share with us what you will, when you will. I don't know that you'll lack for support around here, in fact I'm pretty sure that despite any differences anyone may have with anyone, love is just something that the folks around here do.

Wow, that is quite something. The mother of my children went through chemo, radiation and operations, and is surviving. She is an awesome person and has a strong personality. Our daughters is what get her through the roughest hours.
From what I've got from her experience (passively on my side, admittedly), is to stay focused on getting better. The rest is not important. You will figure out who your real friends are as well and maybe there will be quite the (unexpected) shifts there.
Choose a doctor you think is good for you, ask for a second opinion when you want one. Your current doctor could even advice another colleague and he shouldn't feel like you don't like him etc. It's just good to hear more opinions when you are not sure yet of the way ahead.

There are clinical trials that could be beneficial to you. That would cover costs as well.

In the end, wishing you lots of strength for the upcoming challenges.

Go Get 'em Ian. Be strong and be sure to let us know when we can help in any way.

Oh and

I'm making t-shirts.

Sounds like you've got the right attitude going in and I'm sure it's going to serve you well. Talking about it here and being honest about where you're at (good days and bad) is super important. Also consider talking to a pro if you can find any pro-bono type support as well. It really pays to get things off your chest when you're going through difficult times.

Keep us in the loop. We're not going anywhere!


I wholly support and approve this message.

We are all pulling for you and get well soon ianunderhill.

Once again Ian, my best wishes and if you end up needing some help in any way, don't hesitate to ask. I know ClockworkHouse used FundRazr lately and St. Hillary used ChipIn which also seemed to work well. As I said in the loathe thread, you've got the full weight and support of the StanliTech board.

Cheers buddy.

You wouldn't believe how hard this hit me last night. I'm going to leave the inspirational words to those better with them, but trust that I echo every supportive post.

f*ck *all* the cancer.

Keep us informed, ian. We'll be rooting for you.

AnimeJ articulated what I was intending to say far better than I can.

I'd also like to say kudos for finding the strength to ask for help, it's no small step. Know that sharing your journey will indeed help others in ways you can't even begin to predict and this is a most excellent place to do it.

As far as financial donations go I'm not sure what results in the biggest portion of the donated funds ending up where you need it but chipin seems popular around here lately. Regardless of what you use my meager wallet is open to you.

That's appalling news, ian. The support is here when you need it.

That's terrible news, Ian. It's a great first step that you're asking for support now though. A few times in the past I've been surprised at how friends have stepped up to help me and my wife in times of need and it really made things a lot less complicated without inconveniencing anyone. I don't have much advice now though other than finding a great doctor and discussing everything with them, and I'd look around for Cancer support groups as well, since they may have useful advice regardless of whether you want to actually attend any meetings or whatever. Please keep us in the loop and kick this Cancer's ass.

That's hard. But you do have a massive community behind you, and I know from personal experience that they will rally like no one else to support a friend and fellow Goodjer. This is the community that busted its ass to buy my nephew a computer. For this? Don't be surprised to find Goodjers kicking down your door, knives between their teeth, ready to stab that cancer in its stupid f*cking face.

That's my odd way to say if you need anything, let me know.

So, I had something similar happen to me a year ago.

Early last year I was diagnosed with severe anemia. Essentially, I bled (was bleeding) out somewhere and my hemoglobin levels dropped so low that it was impacting my ability to move around or exert myself. I ended up at my doctor who refered me on to a GI who ran the colonoscopy who discovered that I had colon cancer. Once I went through a couple of CT scans and a PET scan, they determined that it was limited to my colon only (no impact on my lungs or liver). I ended up a surgeons office and three weeks later I had a brand new scar, a large hospital bill and diagnosis of stage 2 colon cancer with lympho vascular invasion.

Chemo started 30 days later and ran 3 days every other week for 6 months. It wears on you over time but was manageable. You just have to work through it and stay positive.

So all this leads to my last statement; regardless of what you hear, stay positive. How you react to this and the attitude you have going through it will impact your reaction to things. I have to tell you, I was pretty lucky. The anemia flagged me for the colonoscopy, 6 years before I should have gone (I was 44 when I went to the doctors office). The colonoscopy found the cancer and my doctor was excellent at transitional care, so that I slide quickly into the surgeon's office and the OR. Chemo was a pain but I worked though the course of the whole treatment.

Hang in there. You got this.


I have nothing productive to add other than to say that I'm barracking for you to beat whatever challenges this throws at you and that I'm happy to chip in the cost of a new game towards whatever fund you get going.

I am just echoing, but my sentiments remain steadfast with everyone else's. I wish you an incredible amount of good thoughts and kick the sh*t out of this insidious disease.

We're here for you, Ian, sending you good thoughts. Don't hesitate to ask, or share, or rant or whatever. We'll listen.

In my short time here, you've shown a grace, patience, and excitement to share with and help people. You've done your part to help this community, I'd guess. I'm lately getting the impression that GWJ started as a gamer website but evolved into something grander.

I'm glad you decided to make the thread and keep us in the loop. I hope we can provide a bit of support.

[size=8]oh yeah, f*ck cancer[/size]


Even when it's called for, I'm apparently incapable of being entirely serious, but 3/4ths* of the message applies at least: GWJ's got your back, even the mostly lurkers like me.

* - Check that, remembering some people I've met here, the other panel is probably accurate too

Thanks for the supportive words everyone. I've been moved by the love and generosity here before, but being on the other end of it is unreal. I consider myself fortunate that I wound up here when I did.

And Ferret, no need to be perfectly serious. I put a lot of stock in humor, particularly in the face of hardship. For what's often all one can hold onto, laughter is surprisingly rich. And buttery.

"Mmm. Putatuh chips."

Don't doubt your own strength and never doubt that you have our support.

Just let me know what I can do.

Like others have said, stay positive and do not hesitate to ask for help when the need arises. We got your back.


We're here for u, buddy. You'll come out of this soon enough, and we'll all enjoy the proverbial whisky, with the wind on our faces at a nice yacht...just a matter of patience.

kexx, as long as you aren't driving, I am so there.

The fact that it was limited to your colon sounds like positive news to me - really hoping for a good prognosis. But f*ck man, I'm sorry you have to go through this. And even sorrier that you have to go through this without health insurance. Keep us posted re: your financial needs.

A few thoughts...
- This is a pretty good place to ask for support. Keep us posted and we'll see if we can keep you laughing.
- Cancer treatment is a very rapidly changing field. Read and learn about exactly the cancer you're dealing with. Ask questions. Ask many questions.
- Crazy Sexy Cancer

I've never been great at knowing what to say about this stuff because "Sorry" sounds so stupid. So I'll just go with this:

Rooting for you dude. Kick its ass.