Alain McCallum; Evicting Thymoma
Organized by: Alain McCallum
Alain is 35 years young and suffering from a rare cancer called Thymoma. For those of you who don’t know Alain, he's a straight edged fixed-gear riding, stand up guy living in Brooklyn. He's the Director of Visual Merchandising for Ricky’s stores here in NY and has been out of work for the most part since August due to his illness. Eager to get back to his day to day routine, Alain is fighting and he needs our support…
Thymoma: a rare tumor affecting fewer than 500 people a year. Thymoma is located in the central area of the chest between the lungs.
August 4th – 15th:
Encephalitis is swelling of the brain, causing it to seize. Alain was losing parts of his mind quickly. Seizures caused Alain to experience Aura, changes in hearing, temporary loss of memory, motor skills, speech, vision, ability to taste, ability to eat, ability to control and express his emotions… There were long days and longer nights - just waiting. We were quietly praying he would get his senses back. As a result of the encephalitis, neurologists recommended cognitive therapy and rehabilitation as soon as he left the hospital… when he leaves the hospital that is… And then Alain made a breakthrough soon after, beating all odds and blowing Doctors minds when he started speaking, crying, making connections and questioning his condition. He no longer needed cognitive therapy; Alain was back.
August 15th – 30th:
Alain is crystal clear. He has been teaming up with the medical team at NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital, to examine his Thymoma. On the 15th day since arriving, his Doctor said, “This is a curable cancer. As of THIS MOMENT… We Are Optimistic.” Alain had his first Chemotherapy treatment to help shrink the tumor in prep to surgically remove the mass. Nothing short of a miracle, his brain functions completely snapped back, but his body was beyond weak. Still, Alain remained positively motivated, received physical therapy, ate regularly, and all his tests were showing improvement.
Discharge! It’s good to go home. It was an utterly devastating month, he lost 40lbs and has little strength, but Alain continues to rehabilitate with daily exercise at home. Every few days, he went back to the hospital for doctor visits, scans, blood tests and a second Chemo treatment. This was going to be the last Chemo before doctors determine if the tumor shrunk, which helps prior to surgery. Surgery is scheduled for Oct.28th.
Alain wants to go back to work. It’s not only the most important season for Ricky’s, but the most exciting as well. Alain loves what he does, and what’s more, he loves the team he works with. He went back to work for 3 weeks to financially support the influx of bills. He took advantage of his extra time, caught up with family and friends, even started riding his fixed gear bike again. How's that for occupational therapy? After a few weeks having worked in good spirits, he gathered strength with the help of his colleagues and prepared for surgery. Friday the 23rd, he had what was to be his last meal for the next few weeks. Alain followed the pre-op regimen in time for Monday morning. Suddenly on sunday morning Alain suffered severe abdominal pain followed by vomiting. He went in as scheduled for surgery, when the doctors discovered that he has a blockage in his intestines. Unbreakable, Alain powers through a tough intestinal Laparoscopy and the surgery to remove the tumor is pushed out 2 weeks to allow for healing.
Discharged again and couldn’t wait to get home. This was an exciting month and rescheduled tumor removal was coming up. Alain had big plans to recover while writing about his journey, and of course breaking in the new Call of Duty game, which was releasing that following week. Not a day later, Alain was rushed to ER due to extreme abdominal pain. Once again, he was hooked up to tubes through his nose and had IV drips in his arms for both pain and nutrition with 24-hour watch. He continues to lose weight and is becoming emotionally exhausted. Alain fights to discontinue pain medications b/c they render his stomach powerless and grits through the pain instead. Yesterday, he said that all he can think about was food. Above and beyond the unbearable pain, his need for food is motivating this last push. (Oct 23rd – Nov 13th) It’s 21 days since he’s had a meal. Tubes were removed and Alain is determined for his stomach and bowels to regulate on it’s own in time for the coming surgery which is scheduled for Saturday Nov 14th.
Saturday November 14th:
Alain is in surgery and it’s going well… praying for a swift recovery… Please support our fundraiser to help with his medical bills not covered by insurance, nutritional therapy post surgery, and for loss of income during these months when he can't work.
To reach out personally and for updates visit Alain's Facebook & Blog Site:
Thank you and see you on the other side, we love you.
Nancy and Kay