Bridge Over Troubled Water for Jack
$5,405 raised
4% of $125k goal
27 contributors
16 Days running
Hello Everyone, my name is Ellen Rainer and I am raising money so I can continue to pay for my beloved husband’s medical expenses and be assured that we can survive during this very challenging time.

 

HOW IT ALL STARTED AND THE CANCER DIAGNOSIS 

My husband, Poh Teik “Jack” Teoh, age 63, was diagnosed with Stage 4 skin cancer in September 2017.  The cancer has spread to his spine and ribs and has severely weakened his body in ways that are distressing and heart-breaking for us both.  

The cancer started out as a very small growth on Jack’s right ear. It was initially diagnosed as a fungus infection and treated successfully with anti-fungal medication in the USA in the spring of 2015.  In November of 2015, with great health and high expectations, we decided to follow our ultimate dream and set-up an import/export business in Penang, Malaysia; my husband’s birthplace.  

In Malaysia, the growth on Jack’s ear gradually came back so we sought medical help. The first doctor diagnosed the growth as cancerous. He recommended amputating the whole ear and scraping off the brain tissue surrounding the ear followed by plastic surgery to make a new ear.  We immediately sought a second opinion as the growth was very small. To us and many others this surgical solution was too severe and Jack’s overall health was excellent. The second doctor recommended a series of stronger medications including chemo pills. We followed this treatment and managed to keep the growth under control. We expected the growth would vanish just as it did in the USA

In early 2017 my husband started to feel weak off and on with intermittent and sometimes indescribable pain. Jack managed to control the pain with prescribed medication and his own sheer will. We continued to work very hard at full speed to launch our import business, putting in our best effort with full enthusiasm to make our dreams come true.  Then in August, Jack suddenly became extremely weak, he lost his appetite completely and the growth started to spread at an alarming rate.   That’s when I admitted Jack into Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital here in Penang, Malaysia; an excellent hospital with a phenomenal medical staff. I moved into Jack’s hospital room the day he was admitted and have not left his side since.  


For the full medical diagnosis see the letter written by Jack’s doctor (Dr. Ho) below: 

THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF THE COME-BACK KID – THE FIRST 2 MONTHS AT MOUNT MIRIAM CANCER HOSPITAL 

Due to the excellent care at Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital, in addition to Jack’s inimitable strength and fighting spirit, Jack has been able to consistently beat all odds and triumph over some very serious health issues. In early September, a few days after his first chemo infusion, he suffered a heart attack. Amazingly, Jack recovered and prevailed with willingness and strength. Just three weeks after his heart attack, Jack decided to continue the chemo (in a more gentler form) to resume his fight against his cancer.  

Due to a rapid loss of muscle mass and strength since August, Jack no longer has the strength to stand up on his own. He can only walk a short distance in our hospital room with a walker and the assistance of a therapist.  My husband is bound to the bed most of the time. He barely has enough strength to practice learning how to walk again.  But despite the severity of Jack’s condition, and the utter frustration he endures, he never fails to inspire others, make the doctors and nurses smile as they admire his remarkable strength and positivity.  

After the 4th chemo infusion on October 25th, Jack developed an infection that hit him fast and fierce. His oxygen levels dropped dramatically and he had extreme difficulty breathing. He was headed for the Intensive Care Unit at another hospital but thankfully the medical staff at Mount Miriam got the infection under control quickly and stabilized Jack beautifully.  Jack took a brief break from the chemo and agreed to resume the treatments on November 10th. As Jack said: “there is more positive than negative” and he chooses to continue what’s working for him and face every battle head-on.  
Dr. Ho & Jack                                                                Dr. Ho & Jack 

Dressing the ear

                                                                Medical Attention

ELLEN & JACK: MEANT TO BE TOGETHER FOREVER

Born in the USA, I grew up Mountain Lakes, New Jersey and my husband Jack is from Malaysia.  We met in New Jersey in 2003 when Jack was living and working in New York.  From the very first day I met Jack he was always robust and full of life. He woke up every morning like it was Christmas, just like a child.  Jack is like a magnet, he’s irresistible, pulling people in with his charisma and zany sense of humour.  But what stole my heart is his heart. I have never met a person as self-less as my husband. He is someone I can trust with all my heart to do the right thing for anyone in any situation. Jack is a leader with a big heart; some would say a true warrior.  It’s absolutely heart-wrenching for me to see my husband suffer and become so weak and frail in such a short period of time.  He has spent a lifetime generously helping others and now is in great need himself.  I ask you to please help me help my husband, so he can beat this cancer and we can continue our lives as one.  This journey of recovery and healing will take time, but we both have a deep, enduring faith that we will prevail with the continuation of the excellent medical care at Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital. 

                                                          Jack and me 2005

HELP NEEDED:  MEDICAL AND BASIC LIVING EXPENSES  

Due to the onset of Jack’s illness, the launching of our business was cut short, so we are not generating any income.  Due to my husband’s fragile and unpredictable condition, I am with him around the clock to make sure his special needs are met. I give him the peace of mind that I will never leave his side and the assurance he will always be safe.  With neither one of us working, continuing to pay for Jack’s medical expenses and our living expenses is an impossibility without the help of others. Not having medical insurance, we have received some financial help from the hospital’s social welfare department. However, it’s not enough and I am not sure if it will continue. We have monthly expenses in the USA that also add to our financial burden.  Witnessing my husband go through periods of anguish and taking care of him can be very stressful and exhausting. With your kind consideration and help, our financial stress can be alleviated. Your generosity would allow me to brave this journey with less pressure and more strength to support my husband with his medical and personal needs. Your financial help, and the spreading of my campaign on your social network, will be forever appreciated because I simply cannot do this alone.  Thank you ever so much.  

BREAKDOWN OF MONTHLY EXPENSES I NEED HELP WITH WHILE JACK IS HOSPITLALIZED

Monthly Medical at Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital: average of $7205.50 USD 

$8,451.00 USD (Sept)  

$5,960.00 USD (Oct) 

Monthly Malaysian Living Expenses (rent, utilities, internet/phones, transportation, food):  $1,065.00 USD 

Monthly Upkeep of USA bills (car insurance, car loan, credit cards and storage space):  $1,120.00 USD

It’s very difficult to determine when Jack will be discharged and continue his treatments as an out-patient either from home or a step-down facility.  Just when it looks like a discharge is nearing, he has another set-back that requires intensive hospital care.  With more chemo on the way, I just don’t know what to expect and how his body will respond. We take it week by week, day by day. 

Jack started a 12-week course of chemo on September 29th. After he finished his 4th infusion on October 20th he had a set-back due to a serious infection but resumed his infusions on November 10th. He recently finished his 6th chemo but is taking a break to garner some strength and a better appetite before he does the 7th chemo.  After this 12-week course is finished, there will be a reassessment and break before the next chemo course starts.  Then, after 6 months of chemo infusions there will be another reassessment to determine the next phase of treatment, which may include radiation.  

At this point in time, it’s impossible to determine our medical and living expenses after discharge. It all depends on how stable and self-sufficient Jack is at that time. I do know that it will take some time, months, for him to regain the strength necessary to walk on his own again.  If Jack is not re-admitted into the hospital, we will be looking at the following expenses.
 
This is the best approximation I can give at this time:

EXPENSES AFTER DISCHARGE FROM MOUNT MIRIAM CANCER HOSPITAL 

Live-in, Step-down Facility with Medical Care and Physical Therapy:   $1,125.00 USD per month (a step-down facility if necessary, or Jack can do his out-patient from home

Monthly Malaysian Living Expenses when Living at Home (rent, utilities, internet/phones, transportation, food):  $1,215.00 USD

 Monthly upkeep of USA bills (car insurance, car loan, credit cards and storage space):  $1,120.00 USD

 Basic Medical Supplies Needed at Home:  $436.00 USD min (wheelchair, walker, commode, air cushion mattress)

Monthly Physical Therapy & Visiting Nurse at Home:  $705.00 USD  

Monthly Out-Patient Expenses at Mount Miriam Hospital: approximate range of $1,143.00 to $2,755.00 USD  (doctor appointments, blood tests, chemo infusions, blood transfusions, ear dressings, medications)

Radiation:  $2,000 USD (one time charge) 

When a donation is made, the money will be accepted by PayPal and then deposited into my USA bank checking account.  With my USA checking account debit card, I can pay for Jack’s medical expenses here at Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital.  From my Malaysian bank, I can also withdraw cash (in the form of Malaysian Ringgits) from my USA checking account and this will allow me to pay for our apartment rent, utilities, food and transportation expenses.  I can also pay my USA debts directly from USA checking account.  

The following fees are deducted from each donation (USA & Canada):
Fundrazr : 5% 
PayPal: 2.9% + $0.30
Total deducted from each donation:  7.9% + $0.30

International fees:  Fundrazr 5%  &  PayPal 4.3% to 4.5% + $0.30

Calling on all Angels with a giving heart. Due to my desperate situation, this is the first time I have ever done a fundraiser.  As my social network is small, I would greatly appreciate your help in sharing my campaign.  I just do not know what lies ahead in medical expenses, it’s very hard to predict. The hospital has been understanding of my financial situation but does expect a significant payment every 2 to 3 weeks.  

I greatly appreciate your kind consideration in supporting me & donating to the best of your ability in this critical situation.  Thank you all so very much. 

With Great Appreciation & Love,

Ellen

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