After experiencing severe back pain for two weeks following an unrelated gym injury, Tom initially went to the Massachusetts General Hospital’s orthopedic emergency room for evaluation. While waiting several days for a MRI opening in the schedule, he returned to the MGH ER and was able to see a spine specialist who diagnosed nerve pain. The physician immediately scheduled an MRI at Brigham & Women's Hospital on October 21st.
A spinal tumor was captured on the MRI. The doctors determined the nerve pain was the result of the tumor growing on Tom's spine. Tom was admitted that night to the neurosurgery wing under the care of the Brigham and Women’s Chief of Neurosurgery. An additional MRI and CT were performed the next day to determine if other tumors were present. There were none.
A Biopsy was then performed to determine the exact state of the tumor. After significant testing of the biopsy by the great physicians and lab technicians at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute they found the answer. Four days after being admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital Tom was diagnosed with a rare and fast moving cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute team approach of surgeons, oncologists, lab technicians, nurses and experts then determined the course of action for Tom. On Friday, October 25, 2019 Tom was transferred to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute wing and under the care of THE leading oncologist who specializes in Sarcoma. Tom is in great hands! Tom's doctors have prescribed a very aggressive treatment plan which includes 6 months of Chemo and radiation to reduce and ultimately eradicate the tumor.
Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s will be Tom’s home most likely through November 1. He will then travel from home to Dana-Farber each day for radiation and on a Chemo cycle for the next six months.
While Tom's prognosis is positive, because the tumor was detected early and his youthful age, we still expect his bills and related out of pocket expenses to exceed $100,000!
Tom has received outstanding care from neurosurgery/oncology/nurses/staff and has benefited from the latest technology including MRI, CT, PET scan, Biopsy and a two week hospital stay. This wonderful care comes at a significant cost, even with insurance. The actual six month cancer treatment will then begin on Monday, October 28, 2019.
Our goal is for Tom to beat this beast and come out healthy in 6 months without a mountain of debt as he starts his new family with his beautiful and amazingly supportive wife Kristin!
God Bless them both as they begin this unwanted journey. Tom and Kristen have an amazing competitive spirit that will get them through this. These two are also blessed with incredible friends and family who will support them both!
Donations help greatly with the expenses not covered by insurance. For example, we expect Tom will be spending $200/week on Uber rides to and from Chemo. Every donation helps and our family great appreciates your support!
Chris Wagner dedicates his 1st goal of the season to Tough Tom.