An inspirational story about a man who refused to let cancer win…
In April 2012, Tim Wesley was diagnosed with an advanced stage of a very rare form of appendix cancer called peritoneal carcinomatosis (PMCA). This particular kind of cancer can be found in the abdominal cavity and is caused by tumors of the appendix, colon, rectum, ovary, stomach and small bowel, as well as from primary peritoneal tumors, sarcomas and mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium).
From the moment he was diagnosed, Tim quickly learned the importance of becoming his own advocate. He and his wife Denise, along with their daughters, Skyler (10) and Mackenzie (8), immediately began researching Appendix Cancer. They knew that if they were going to beat this cancer, they had to first learn all that they could about its characteristics, its history and options for treatment.
Tim’s initial prognosis was very grim. He was told he would not be a surgical candidate and that he would have to undergo extensive systemic chemotherapy. At the time, Tim was given only 12-18 months to live – an unacceptable fate that he and Denise were determined to change.
And that is how BE uninTIMidated began.
The turning point
Through hundreds of hours of research, Tim and Denise found their way to visit three different cancer surgeons who specialize in Appendix Cancer. They traveled to Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Buffalo and, to their surprise, discovered that Tim was in fact a surgical candidate and that this surgery could save his life! At minimum, they knew the surgery would give Tim more time.
In the early stages of their journey, Tim and Denise met with Dr. Armando Sardi, one of the world’s best surgeons for Appendix Cancer (PMP/Pseudomyxoma Peritonei). They met Dr. Sardi at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD and he later performed Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS) and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) on Tim in July 2012.
Having completed 12 rounds of chemo, Tim’s first post-chemo/post-surgery scan resulted in “no evidence of disease” as of January 2013. In Denise’s words, “We are in the happiest place that we can be…”
Since then Tim has had CT Scans throughout 2013 and 2014 resulting in No Evidence of Disease. A Scan in November 2015 did show a return of the disease. A biopsy in December confirmed that the Appendix Cancer had returned. In January 2016 Tim had Radiation Therapy on the spot but unfortunately in April 2016 two more spots appeared. Tim treated that with 12 rounds of Folfox with Avastin to address the two new areas of concerns and they held stable until April 2017 when further progression was noted. The Wesleys are currently working to determine their best treatment plan/next steps.
As soon as they were out of their July 2012 HIPEC surgery, Tim and Denise knew they wanted to help others. “We want to help educate, advocate, and financially help people travel to see specialists.” That’s why they started BE uninTIMidated. THEY WANT TO HELP.
And they already have. Thanks to their perseverance and determination to shed light on Appendix Cancer and other rare cancers like it, more patients are being diagnosed. Dr. Sardi and his medical team are continually researching the causes and treatment of Appendix Cancer and Tim and Denise are working hard to ensure that research continues.
Funds raised by BE uninTIMidated will go directly to help fund Dr. Sardi’s research as well as to assist families affected by Appendix Cancer or other Rare Cancer Types by helping them pay for travel expenses as they seek medical opinions and treatment. And finally, Tim and Denise want to make others aware. Their goal is to educate families on how to advocate for themselves when faced with a horrifying prognosis, but searching for hope.
BE uninTIMidated offers that hope, and much, much more.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Appendix Cancer or another rare form of cancer, or you would like more information about the organization and ways to get involved, please contact us to find out how we can help.