Michael Snedden is a Crew Chief/Contract firefighter who recently served in Iraq. He has spent his adult life in the service of protecting the lives of others. This December, he returned home from the Middle East to spend Christmas with his family when stomach pain on December 28th brought him to the ER five days before he was to go back to his position in Iraq.
After much blood work and scans, an endoscopy was performed on Michael on December 29th, which revealed a large tumor in Michael’s esophagus reaching down into his stomach. The tumor was biopsied, and a PET scan was performed the following day.
Much to Michael and his wife Beth’s sadness, the lab report showed Adenocarcinoma, a malignant neoplasm (an aggressive form of esophageal cancer). Michael’s cancer was Stage 3 at that time. It had traveled to his lymph node.
Michael received weeks of harsh chemo and radiation to combat the cancer. This treatment left Michael extremely ill. He lost a lot of weight, and while he battled to stay well as the treatments were knocking him down, he grieved over not being able to rejoin his crew in Iraq. He would say over and over again that all he wanted was to get rid of the cancer so he could rejoin his crew and earn money for his family.
He finished chemo and radiation treatments in March, and in the beginning of April he traveled to Duke Cancer Center where he was a surgery candidate. On the two and a half hour trip home, he developed pulmonary embolisms which placed him in a critical condition. He was in the hospital for several weeks after the embolisms, and then returned home to recuperate and gain strength for his upcoming surgery to remove part of his esophagus at Duke. After he regained his strength, a basket was surgically placed near his heart to protect him in case his body produced any more blood clots.
At the end of May, he had a routine PET scan the week before he was to go to Duke as a normal formality to make sure the cancer didn’t spread. Unfortunately, the PET scan showed that the esophageal cancer has spread to his liver, pancreas and the cervical part of his neck (It has metastasized.). His cancer is now a stage 4.
He, his family, his friends, and his medical community are devastated by this news. He is no longer a candidate for surgery at Duke.
Michael will begin another round of fierce chemo, this time without the radiation. The chemo will last 3 weeks; then, another PET scan will be done to see if the chemo worked at getting rid of the cancer.
He knows how sick the last round of chemo made him, and he fears being that low again. He also is grieving over the emotional and financial burden his cancer places on his wife Beth and his 7-year-old and 9-year-old daughters.
He is a strong man with much to live for, but a very hard journey lies ahead of him. Please help support Michael and his family with the form of monetary donations, prayer, and love.