My husband's name is Andrzej (this year he will celebrate his 42nd birthday). We have a wonderful 11-year-old daughter, Amelia. Our tragic story started quite innocently during one weekend in May, 2016.
We visited my husband's brother and while climbing up to the 4th floor, Andrzej suddenly got breathless. We were very surprised by that because Andrzej has never smoked (as well as me), he took care of himself, he regularly carried out check-ups and practiced some sports.
After coming back home, he immediately went to the health centre where he was diagnosed with bronchitis and given an antibiotic. Unfortunately, it did not help and Andrzej’s health began to deteriorate – at night he got breathless again. Then there was the next visit at the family doctor and this time Andrzej was referred for an X-ray in the local E.R. We had to wait there for several hours because ... "the patient looks very healthy". At two a.m., after the X-ray the doctor sent my husband to the hospital ward for further examination. The whole diagnosis was made during one day and on the next one the doctor gave us some shocking news – he suspected it was a very aggressive lung cancer with metastases ...
At that point, our whole world fell apart and it is even hard to describe what we felt - shock, tears, horror, helplessness and the question: why us? We have got so many things to do: common plans, bringing up a child who has only us, parents because grandparents died.
However, after the first shock, we decided to fight this insidious disease and not to give up as long as there is the slightest shred of hope.
My husband had to undergo a series of specific medical examinations, tiring treatments, consultations in several hospitals in Krakow, Zakopane, Gliwice. Finally, after two months and a half we managed to get a final diagnosis, unfortunately a cruel one, lung adenocarcinoma in the 4th stage with metastases to the pleura, mediastinal nodes and spine.
It did not mean much for me then as I was a complete amateur in the topic of cancer. But after browsing through the Internet our despair was getting bigger and bigger. Best-case scenario, Andrzej got a several months to live... ;-(
In July, 2016 the disease started to take its toll because Andrzej began to suffer very severe pain in the lumbar spine and in his leg. As a result, my husband had difficulty sitting not to mention walking. He took some strong painkillers such as ketonal forte or morphine but they did not help any longer.
The neurosurgeon said that we had come to him at the last moment because the cancer metastases had caused some damages to the spine vertebrae and as a result the spinal cord could have been broken at any time and that would mean a complete paralysis from the waist down!
In mid-August, 2016 vertebroplasty (vertebral cementation) was performed, which strengthened the spine but unfortunately, it did not reduce the pain. Apart from painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs my husband had to take some opioid drugs to soothe the pain. Just after the surgery he was not even able to sit, he had to eat in a lying position and after almost two months he was able to walk just a few meters with the help of a walker. The fight with the cancerous pain and for full recovery has been continued till today. What’s more, one of the best neurosurgeons in Poland stated that the next surgery cannot be performed and the only thing he can suggest is the palliative therapy.
The doctors offered us palliative chemotherapy as a treatment but it gave us hope for prolonging Andrzej’s life just for a few months. We were unable to come to terms with it and we began to browse through the Internet and oncology forums intensively to find various types of therapies both in Poland and abroad. We found some clinical trials in Warsaw which Andrzej was qualified for in September, 2016. Then he finally started the oncological treatment with chemotherapy and a modern immunotherapeutic drug that is not refunded in Poland. The response to the treatment filled us with optimism and gave us hope and energy for further struggle. After the first two cycles, the tumours decreased by 20-30%, which was considered a great success by the oncologist. In autumn, 2017 the result was even better because the tumours decreased by 60-80%. The treatment lasted until January, 2018 when it turned out (after the next tomography) that the cancer was not going to give up and the progression occurred and continued very quickly. Within three months some tumours have increased by 100% !!! :(
Unfortunately, because of the disease progression my husband has been removed from these clinical trials. Andrzej has been without any medication for almost a month and a half. That’s why we have to start another treatment ASAP and to do that we need some money.
If we collect enough money, Andrzej will be treated with a modern medicine that is not refunded in Poland but it has already been used successfully in Western Europe. This drug can stop the progression of the disease and, what is even more important, it can cause its remission. The cancer does not give us a choice - it has been growing at a tremendous pace and if we do not stop it quickly, my husband will die :(
Unfortunately, this treatment is very expensive. What’s more, it is on the other side of Poland so we will have a lot of extra expenses connected with travelling, accommodation, meals. It means that without the help of donors, we have no prospect of victory ...
If you can help Andrzej in any way, we will be extremely grateful to you ...
Only thanks to your help we can overcome the cancer! Let's make a miracle happen and let us save his life with the gifts of your hearts!
There is such a saying in Polish: "What does not kill you, makes you stronger" so we are not going to give up and we are going to start a new battle!