Andrea Joy Novak
3/22/1984 – 10/30/2016
Andrea (Andrea Joy, aka AJ) is a perfectly healthy 30 year old mother of two amazing girls who likes to go for long walks on the beach… wait… wrong. Andrea LOVES her children. Everything she does revolves around them (because at heart she will always be one).
Andrea is a 31 year old mother of two children, Eleanor (almost 4) and Gloria (almost 1). She has a husband to which she has known for 12+ years and been married to for almost 7.
Up until sometime 2 or 3 years ago (the doctors think), Andrea was the perfect specimen of health. No health issues, two amazingly perfect pregnancies and nothing else. Nothing else until the day our second child was born (July 2014) and Andrea started having these ‘fits’ of something. Turns out that second child just may have saved her life, as we most likely wouldn’t have known about the following unless she happened to give birth at that exact time. (There are no such things as coincidences, as her husband says…)
Andrea had been having seizures caused by a swelling in her brain. This mass is affecting the majority of the frontal left lobe of her brain, her right hand side of her body as well as her speech during the seizures. She had successful surgery and was out of the hospital in early October 2014.
The successful surgery removed about 80% of the tumor in Andrea’s head. This is great news for the type of glioma it was acting like, but after some critical testing by the pathologists, it turned out the type of glioma is very different.
Andrea has the remains, about 20% in non-surgical areas, of a glioma known as an Astrocytoma Grade IV (Type 4). This is an extremely aggressive type 4, almost as bad as they come. These are non-genetic, and as far as today’s research knows they can happen to anyone at any time and as the doctor has told us, for lack of better words, it’s pure bad luck getting it and can happen to anyone.
Astrocytoma Grade IV is also known as Glioblastoma multiforme, click here to learn more…
Because of the reach and breadth of this type of glioma, Andrea has been told that in a typical healthy person there would be a 1 to 2 year lifespan, and if she were to start an aggressive radiation and chemotherapy regiment, then we may be able to extend that to 3 to 4 years. This is not a hard number, as the aggressiveness is so unpredictable that anything is possible.
Andrea came out of her surgery and after a short recovery period of about a month entered Radiation and Chemotherapy straightaway, known as Round 1. This lasted for the next 6 weeks of daily treatments. From there she rested again for a short period and began Round 2 of Chemotherapy, which consists of 6 ‘cycles’ of 28 days, taking a much stronger dose of Chemotherapy for 5 days, then letting it take effect over the next 23.
From the end of Round 1 into the 4th cycle of Round 2 there has been no apparent new growth of the remaining tumor areas, and as far as we know at this time Andrea holding on tight! After the end of the last remaining cycle in June, Andrea will most likely enter what’s called a ‘monitoring phase’ where she goes back to the Neuro-oncologist regularly for MRI scans, blood tests and examinations.
We have a large number of bills – travel expenses – daycare (*NOT currently, Grand Forks is cost-prohibitive and we will both need several jobs to pay for both girls’ daycare) – food – hotels – medicine – and the hospital bills to pay for.
We are currently
in the end phases of a move to living in Grand Forks, North Dakota so Andrea can be close to her family members. This is very important to us and we know that this is the proper thing to do with everything we’re dealing with.
We aren’t asking anything besides the prayers of everyone, but we were asked by several people to create a page like this.
Anything left over will be used to help other people in need, we have absolutely no need to keep anything ourselves.
- July 7, 2014 – Andrea has her first ‘episode’ of “spacing out” the night her second was born
- August 28, 2014 – Andrea’s seizures have been getting longer and more frequent, she goes in to the emergency room and an MRI comes back with a large mass in her front left lobe.
- September 31, 2014 – Brain surgery at Mayo Clinic successfully removes about 80% of the tumor, the remainder is in her motor cortex (which controls movement, right side especially) and the other part spans between the hemispheres of her left and right side, behind the eyes – both in non-surgical areas without risking serious complications
- October 2, 2014 – Released TWO DAYS after brain surgery, walked out on her own power, 42 staples and all!
- November-December 2014 – 6 weeks of daily Radiation and Chemotherapy (the first round of the latter) the results when combined with the surgery give Andrea 1 to 2 years, possibly 3 to 4 years if the second round of chemotherapy works as desired.
- January 28, 2015 – Second round of Chemotherapy begins, 6 cycles of increasing dosage, 5 days taking chemo then 23 days letting it take effect, 28 days per cycle of this round
- April 3, 2016 – Third round of Chemotherapy begins, 6 cycles, 5 days taking chemo then 23 days letting it take effect, 28 days per cycle of this round
- June 3, 2016 – Chemotherapy doesn’t appear as effective, a change to a new infused inhibitor has been made to try to stymie growth – this requires bi-weekly visits to Mayo for now
*If you would like to get in touch with Andrea (AJ) directly, please contact her via email@example.com
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