Ok. It’s the second half of 2017 now… goodness, there is so much to update, I don’t know where to start… Maybe I’ll just copy-paste from my husband’s cancer recovery and study crowdfunding campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/2g23md5s) for you all to have a better idea of what we’ve been through the past 3 years…
My name is Oryana, I am a Panamanian violinist and DMA student at Texas Tech University. I am the wife of Francisco, a young Chilean musician that had to battle against cancer twice.
Francisco’s life has been marked by his enormous effort and endurance. Raised by his grandmother since very young, he started working at age 13 in order to be able to study what he has always been so passionate about: music.
I met him on 2012 at the Panama Jazz Festival that takes place every year in my country, he came representing Chile together with the jazz band ‘Los Lautarinos’. A year later, we married. The beginning of our life together was marked by us making plans and working hard in order to achieve them, being our short-term goal to study in the US.
The year 2014 we applied to several universities, having Texas Tech University the programs that suited best to our plans and budget. We both got accepted there and were pretty advanced regarding our admission process as then my husband got diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had to undergo an emergency surgery right away in May of that same year and luckily everything went well due that it didn’t compromise any vital organ. Francisco recovered pretty quickly and his tumor markers were so low that the doctors decided to not put him under chemotherapy back then, but instead to keep him monitored through regular CT scans and lab tests every 3-5 months.
The unexpected health expenses we went through back then affected in a great manner our savings and therefore we decided to do one of the biggest sacrifices in our relationship: me leaving for Texas first, without Francisco. At the beginning, I was totally against it because I couldn’t imagine us an entire year apart from each other, but Francisco insisted that he would recover better if knowing that I wouldn’t delay my studies because of him. This is how we spent a year separated, me in Texas and him in Panama.
The month after his surgery, Francisco rejoined his English courses and began teaching violin again right away, also to all the students that I had left behind in the country. This way, he saved enough money during that year in order to be able to pay for an intensive English course at the ELS in Lubbock, Texas, in October 2015 and for us to be together again. From then on little by little some achievements were made and everything indicated towards him resuming his violin studies soon without problems: he got the needed TOEFL score in November and started officially at Texas Tech in January 2016.
But as the wheel of fortune turns and doesn’t forgive, right at the end of this his first semester as a Texas Tech student (and 2 years after his first surgery), the Cancer reappeared on the lower left side of his abdomen, affecting a lymph node. We were shocked after seeing the images of his last CT-scan! As we asked about the treatment’s prices in the University Medical Center and around, we realized that we definitely didn’t have the remote possibility of paying for it in the US. That’s when Francisco contacted again his doctor in the Oncologic Hospital of Panama and in less than two weeks he was already sitting on a plane on his way to Panama while finishing his final assignments.
His tumor was of rapid growth and as they took it out, it was already of a fist’s size. I myself arrived five days after his surgery because I did have to wait until the semester was done, around 2 weeks after his departure. Then, a month later, he started with Chemotherapy and I see him now battling every day in a very optimistic way despite the days where he has barely appetite, his arms are swollen and hurt because of the needles and canalizations, the fevers and all those things people under Chemotherapy go through.
The reason why I’m telling you all this is because WE NEED YOUR HELP! With all the expenses implied in this hard process, we completely ran out of savings. We have in this moment no more resources left to finish paying for Francisco’s treatment and not even to think about how we will do to cover his further study expenses. Our families have helped us the best ways they could, but they can’t do so anymore. The costs of the medicine and chemotherapy keep entering in the bills and later we will have to keep doing the mandatory follow-ups in the US through CT-scans, labs, physiotherapy and hormone replacement injections that we see no ways how we could pay for them.
Also, being Francisco in a recovery phase during this coming Fall Semester, he won’t be able to make too big efforts working and due to his aching arm veins, he will sadly have to miss the very important yearly orchestra auditions that take place every August-September. This is very frustrating for him because he has a great will of returning to normal activities and is eager to keep learning as much as he can at Texas Tech. Working at alternative fields is not permitted to anyone of us both, due to our status as international students.
The Texas Tech School of Music had given Francisco a scholarship that helped reduce considerably his yearly tuition from around $36,000 to $9,000 USD approximately. Despite this, such amount is still out of our possibilities this year, and when we add the remaining bill amount from his chemotherapy, scans, labs and upcoming follow-up tests mentioned before, everything will end up in approximately $13,000 USD, if not more. In total, we are then trying to gather $22,000 USD in order to give Francisco the opportunity to recover completely from this very difficult illness and treatment, without having to worry about earning money. I want him to be able to focus on nothing else than his actual studies until he is fully fine.
My husband could have just given up, abandon his studies again and spend his life complaining about all the situations he had to go through during these 2 years, but instead of that, he keeps battling. I leave you all now with his own words:
“The principal reason why I persist on my violin studies is born from a never ending strive towards artistic improvement. I have dedicated myself with all my soul to the violin, my entire life is interwoven and deeply compromised with this art in which I have put all my aspirations. It is my duty to continue, I can’t do other than to keep doing my best on cultivating this talent. On the other side, I can’t accept that an illness or circumstances determine the direction of my life, I’ve never done so. People that know me know that well. I’m sure that you all think the same as me and I can even be sure that you would do anything to follow your aspirations in life. So do I, and I want a life with purpose and happiness, and that is something I’ve found through being an artist and educator” – Francisco.
I’m asking you very sincerely and from all my heart that you help us reach our goal. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated and please don’t hesitate to share about our cause!
Thank you so much!
Oryana Racines S.