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irish317
01-03-2006, 08:34 AM
Please read and see if there's anything else I need to ad or if you would like to donate anything.

My name is Brian Flanagan. I'm 33 years old and living with cancer. I grew up in Brooklyn, went to Brooklyn schools and work part time as a Special Police Officer for the City of Brooklyn. I am married to my beautiful wife Laura of 5 years who is the Preschool Director at St. Thomas More School. I have an older brother who lives in Michigan and my mother resides in a nursing home because she is very ill. My father passed away in September from cancer.

I would like to tell you my story……

In June 2005 I discovered a lump on my left testicle. I contacted my family doctor and an ultrasound was done. The ultrasound revealed a large mass on my left testicle and I was referred to a urologist.

After another ultrasound by the urologist it was determined that I must have an Orchiectomy on my left side. My left testicle had to be removed surgically to determine if it is cancerous. The surgery was done at Metro Health Systems on July 7, 2005 in an outpatient surgery. Two weeks later I got my results from the pathology report. The report revealed it was a very rare type of testicular cancer known as an Embroynal Cell Carcinoma. Only 1% of testicular cancers are this type. This is the same type of cancer Lance Armstrong had.

There were two options for me; chemotherapy or another major operation called RPLND surgery which consists of removing my lymph nodes inside my stomach and around my kidney. I opted for the surgery because my doctors felt it was the most effective way to remove any or all of the cancer.

Because the surgery is so rare and only two doctors in Cuyahoga County do the surgery, I was referred to the University Hospital Health Systems to have Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND) surgery done. The surgery consisted of a large incision from the top of my chest to my pubic line about 15 inches. The incision is opened and the lymph nodes are removed. I had my surgery on August 31, 2005. My surgery lasted about 7 hours and 41 lymph nodes were removed from my left side. The surgery went well and everything looked good. I was in the hospital recovering for 5 days. After my stay in the hospital I went back to see the doctor for my pathology report. The report stated that some of the lymph nodes were cancerous which means the cancer had spread. So now I would have to do BEP chemotherapy for a total of 63 days because the cancer had already spread into my lymph nodes near my left kidney.

During my recovery in the hospital my father (66 years old) was in the nursing home recovering from complications from cancer. This was the same nursing home my mother (56 years old) resides at. She has been in a nursing home for the last 5 years because of her own health issues. I decided to have the surgery because my parents were both being cared for and I didn't have to worry as much. 5 days after my surgery my mom called and said they had rushed my dad to Parma Hospital he had stopped breathing. I finally convinced the doctor to release me 2 days early so I could be with my dad. I left UH and went right to Parma Hospital. The doctors stated that he was very ill and didn't have much longer to live because the cancer had spread into his lungs. We made arrangements for him to come home and stay with my wife and me so he could live out his last days in the comfort of a home and surrounded by people who loved him. He was only home for 3 days when he finally lost his battle with cancer on September 11, 2005. That evening, while trying to grasp the reality that my father would no longer be in my life, I was brought to the ER because I had developed a serious infection in my incision.

Seeing my father suffer with cancer for 2 years has encouraged me to continue fighting for my own life. Dealing with the loss of my father, who was also my best friend, was very tough and continues to be. He was one of the few people who could empathize with what I am going through and it's hard not having him around to talk to.

After I had buried my father it was time to begin my own battle with this disease. My chemotherapy began on October 28, 2005. As I'm sure you are aware, chemotherapy takes a lot out of a person. I was hospitalized several times with infection and fluid filled up around my heart and lungs. Finally it was discovered that I was allergic to one of the chemotherapy medicines and this was the reason I was becoming so ill. After 6 weeks in the hospital they finally got my chemotherapy treatments under control.

Statistically, I have a 1-3 chance of the cancer coming back on my right side. I don't let that get me down as the cure rate is about 85%.

As stated above I am only employed part time and therefore do not have any medical insurance. Currently, my medical bills are estimated at $75,0000 and rising. I have still yet to have my follow up care that will consist of chest, brain, abdomen scans, and blood work every month for the next 5 years. I have not worked in the last 5 months and you can only imagine the financial burdens we have on us.

I could not have come this far emotionally without the help of family and friends. The support I have encountered from people has given me the confidence and the strength to beat this disease.

Good friends are having a benefit to help my wife and me with medical and miscellaneous bills. Please join us on Saturday, April 22, 2006 from 6:00pm-11:00pm at St. Thomas More Gym for an evening of dinner, beer, music, sideboards, prizes and a celebration of friendship and life.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. God bless all of you and I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Brian Flanagan