Update on AMWF Family Needing Help: New Mother with Brain Cancer

At the close of 2015, I shared with you the tragic news of how Alison McCarthy, the wife of fellow blogger Logan Lo, suffered a seizure just five days after giving birth to their son. That seizure was caused by a serious form of brain cancer, as the family detailed on You Caring:

On November 3rd, [2015] my sister Alison gave birth to her first child, a beautiful baby boy named Nathan. Five days later while recuperating at home, Alison suddenly had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital where a CT scan showed a large mass in her brain. Tragically, a biopsy has confirmed that Alison has a high grade glioblastoma brain tumor, a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Alison’s tumor is inoperable and average life expectancy is less than 18 months without treatment.

Miraculously, Alison is still here and still fighting, with the support of her family. At the request of a loyal reader, I wanted to share some updates with you on how she’s doing from Logan Lo’s blog. Here’s an update from February 20, 2017:

…I spoke to a cancer researcher last week too. He said that Alison was the longest lived butterfly glioma patient he’s ever heard of. It’s a dubious distinction, and still not enough for us.

On that note, had numerous friends and relatives ask if she can get a break: Can’t she just have a few months without swallowing 30 pills a day, without having needles stuck in her every week, without wearing a helmet of magnets 24/7, without inhaling an astringent four times a day?

The short answer is no.

Because they don’t become friends with other glioblastoma patients and caregivers. They don’t have to hear: We put David in hospice this week. Jessica had three new tumors on her last scan. Maddie passed away today.

It’s tough to hear because you hope everyone else can pull through. You hope your loved one can pull through.

But the truth is a powerful thing. The truth is, most people are dead from this damn thing within 18 months. And most of those people are people that can walk and use their arms. People that had 100% of their cancer removed. People that went to the best cancer centers in the world.

Most people start off far better than Alison and still died.

If there’s any way at all for her to survive this, it’s because she doesn’t stop until the job is done.

Here’s another update from March 15, 2017:

…We got good news last Monday that was taken away from us on Friday – the doc missed something. Our good news never ends up being good for very long.

So we’re back to trying to figure out what to do next.

Which means that I stay up at night, thinking of all our possible pasts, trying to determine the cascading consequences of my actions. Or inaction.

Logan Lo also wrote about how they’ve used the donations from You Caring:

No one’s asked me but I’m sure people are wondering: “What are you doing with all the money you’ve raised?” It’s only fair I answer it.

Originally, we weren’t sure how much our original insurance was going to pay towards Alison’s treatment. Her cancer was on the aggressive side of aggressive. The only “lucky” thing about our situation was that we were already on the platinum level of Obamacare, which essentially meant that we pay 10% and insurance pays 90%.

It has been a godsend to us. At last count, Alison’s 2016 cost of care was around $2.8 million dollars. Without the Affordable Care Act, Nathan and I would be bankrupt and Alison would be dead. It’s that simple.

But we’re not and she’s not, thanks to the ACA and everyone’s generosity.

With what’s left of our money, we’re paying for normal expenses – mortgage, food, bills – some experimental drugs, physical and occupational therapy, and exploring future options, like a potential cancer vaccine in Germany.

Mainly, though, we’re saving up to see what happens with the ACA. So we’re watching the news daily to see what unfolds.

You can follow Alison’s progress on Logan Lo’s blog, and support them at You Caring and/or by sharing their story on social media.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to keep this couple in my thoughts, wishing they will find new hope and courage in 2017.

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4 Replies to “Update on AMWF Family Needing Help: New Mother with Brain Cancer”

  1. Ok then , as a young neurosurgeon who has seen the progress of GBM many times over , i would suggest to allow Allison to live a normal life , rather than one full of chemotherapy and vaccines. It doesn’t work and just makes it harder to accept the truth. Further Logan -Allison have a young family , the financial windfall can be devastating with all chemo-rad, wouldn’t really be of much benefit in the final analogy. Harsh words but true ( and No I am not a heartless bastard ). Accept and Let go !

    P.s plz contact me if needed at [email protected]

  2. Jocelyn! Thank you so much for putting together this beautiful post. I’m only seeing it now.

    It’s been a difficult week. We’re not sure what to do next, or if there’s even anything to be able to do.

    So we continue to wait and hope. Thank you for everything.

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