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.
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.