Organized by: Janet Fowler
Christopher Novitt celebrated his 28th birthday at the Mayo Clinic. He had been diagnosed with Germ Cell Cancer just four days earlier. Chris started having symptoms just after Christmas 2015. He had gone on a run with his finance, Rachel Fowler, and her father and the next day he started having pain in his left leg. Thinking it was just a little soreness from his run he didn't give it much thought beyond that. He started a new job in mid-March as a long distance truck driver and started experiencing back pain and pain in his abdomen which he attributed to sitting for long periods of time without the exercise he was used to and poor diet. By the first of April the pain in his leg had worsened so that he was only able to walk about 10 minutes without resting. He was in so much pain from his back and abdomen he was unable to sleep. Then came the blood in his urine. When he arrived home on April 23rd he had lost over 35 pounds. On April 24th he went to a local E.R. looking for some help to figure out what was going on, maybe some antibiotics and some mild pain medication. The E.R. doc was about to send him on his way when Chris showed him a lump he had on his left shoulder and the right side of his chest. Fortunately for Chris, the doc ordered a scan and some blood work, then came in with some very frightening news. He suspected cancer. Another blessing on Chris's side was that his insurance was accepted by the Mayo Clinic, about 30 minutes away from his home in Phoenix. Things moved very quickly. More scans and blood work and Chris was admitted. He had a team of specialists -- top notch. A biopsy was done and the initial diagnosis was Germ Cell Cancer -- a very aggressive form of cancer. In addition to the lump on his shoulder and chest, scans showed masses on his kidney, liver, and spine. Chris has the same type of cancer as Lance Armstrong. An aggressive cancer would be treated with aggressive chemotherapy. Chris was started on a four-round, five day regimen just two days after arriving at Mayo. He receives three different types of chemo each day for five days. It takes about 6 hours each day for Chris to receive the chemotherapy and the meds associated with it.He has just 16 days to rest before starting the next round. After the first round of chemo his weight loss had increased to almost 50 pounds. In addition to severely compromising his immune system, the chemo is so toxic that Rachel can't kiss him on the lips. Chris can't share a bathroom or even a shower stall with anyone else. Extra care has to be taken to ensure he doesn't come in contact with anyone who may be ill. All these precautions begin immediately after chemo has been started and continue for 48 hours after the last chemo in the series has been given. Chris had just started his new job. He is not eligible for disability and cannot collect unemployment as he is still employed by the company he works for, although he is receiving no financial compensation. Rachel is still working but has missed a lot of work being Chris's primary caregiver. His insurance has not been transferred to COBRA but it is anticipated. Chris was to marry Rachel on September 10, 2016. The couple has cancelled the wedding but not the engagement. A new wedding date will be set once Chris is healthy and he and Rachel can celebrate their wedding day the way they want to. Bills are mounting. Chris and Rachel are struggling to keep up with their financial commitments, but it is a terrific strain on them. Although both Chris and Rachel were uncomfortable and very reluctant to allow the set up this site they will gratefully accept your support to help them meet their financial commitments and pay whatever medical bills come their way. Your prayers and moral support are also greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for whatever you choose to send their way.