Joe Tancredi

33 yrs old
Rare Testicular cancer
Married,  father

I would like to share the story of my warrior,. He is not only my husband, but an amazing father to our 6 year-old son, and my very best friend.  He is 33 years old and has been through more than most people go through in a lifetime, yet through it all he remains strong and positive.

When Joe was 23 years old, he began experiencing severe back and abdominal pain, night sweats, and fatigue.  He went to a few doctors and they told him that the pain was due to depression.  They didn’t order any tests, they just prescribed anti-depressants and sent him on his way.  He knew this wasn’t the problem, and the pain continued, and got worse.  When he finally couldn’t take it anymore, he went to the emergency room, and finally got the attention he needed.  He was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  A CT scan revealed a massive tumor in his abdomen, along with some metastases on his lungs, and of course traces of it on his left testicle.  He underwent an orchiectomy, and then four rounds of chemotherapy.  He responded.  A PET scan was done and there was no traces of the cancer. A few years went by and he was declared “in remission”.

It was obviously a huge relief to have made it.  But despite this huge victory, there was still tremendous pain.  All the doctors had warned him that with having had the orchiectomy, and the chemo on top of it, there was little chance he would ever be able to have children. This devastated him more than anything…and it weighed on him every single day.  Then one day, a miracle happened…we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.  Now our lives were complete, we were a happy family.

Then, at the age of 31, Joe began experiencing severe stomach problems, the pain became so severe that he collapsed and ended up in the emergency room. The doctor diagnosed him with diverticulitis and he ended up having emergency colon resection surgery and left the hospital a month later, with a colostomy bag.  Luckily, all went well and 6 months later, he had a successful colostomy reversal surgery.

We were looking forward to returning to our normal lives.

During his recovery,  he was experiencing extreme back pain.  We thought it was because of the surgery, but the pain continued to get worse, so he went to the doctor. The doctor also thought it was due to the surgery.  He tried massages, exercise, and saw a chiropractor, but the pain would not go away.  He suffered many sleepless nights, unable to sleep because of the pain.  Finally, his doctor referred him to a pain specialist and a physical therapist.  The pain specialist went over his medical history and referred him to an oncologist.  He saw an oncologist and while waiting for a referral for a PET scan, he couldn’t take the pain anymore, and after another night of no sleep, he went to the emergency room.  Once again, the emergency room is where he received the medical attention he needed, and received the dreadful news that there was a mass pushing on his trachea.  The oncologist diagnosed him with a recurrence of his previous cancer.

After a long wait for approvals from the insurance company, he underwent 4 rounds of chemotherapy again.  Of course, he stayed positive and anticipated beating this cancer with chemotherapy.  He never complained and was determined to beat this again!

Unfortunately, at the end of his chemo treatment, a small mass was still present in his chest and his AFP levels were increasing.  This meant he would need further treatment.  After another long wait for an approval by the insurance company, he ended up at USC and we met with a doctor who wanted to begin stem cell transplant with high dose chemo.  Turns out he wasn’t authorized for that procedure.

So the process started over, and after another insurance battle, we ended up at Cedars-Sinai.  We finally met a doctor who seemed to want to fight for Joe and who cared.  He recommended that Joe see Dr.

Lawrence Einhorn at Indiana University, for his input since Joe’s case seemed to be so rare.  The insurance would not cover the consultation with Dr. Einhorn, so it had to be taken care of out of pocket.  Dr.

Einhorn informed Joe that this cancer was not a recurrence of his previous cancer, but a different type of testicular cancer, a very rare type.  Dr. Einhorn believed that the best chance for curing this would be through thoracic surgery, as long as the cancer had not spread anywhere else in his body.  He had scans last week, and today we received the news that surgery was no longer an option because the cancer is present in many spots throughout his chest.  We are now faced with another battle that I know he can fight, a stem cell transplant with high dose chemotherapy which will require a few very long hospital stays.

He is faced with the sadness of being away from his family and missing the simple everyday things like playing baseball with his son, but I know that he can fight this and return to a normal life.  We are so grateful for an organization like DWBH that helps people with the financial struggles involved with fighting cancer.  This has been a major burden and worry for our family, as we open the mailbox each day to find the seemingly unending medical bills that await us. Joe is on disability now and I am a teacher. We struggled to make ends meet even before these medical problems.  Now that he can’t work, our income has gone down, but the expenses have skyrocketed.  It is very difficult for him to stay positive and focus on healing while fighting an uphill financial battle at the same time. It is unfortunate that anyone should have to go through this financial stress while fighting for their life, but it is a fact.  We thank DWBH for this opportunity to rally support.

You can join in the fundraising and support Joe by buying a DWBH shirt in his name @ DWBHshirts.com click online store above here, and passing the word along.  Please forward this info or facebook  it.   Donations are tax deductible  thru the http://Don’tWorryBeHappyFoundation.org or click donate on welcome page,  and also go to Joe’s account to pay his bills!

We thank you for your support. “ ~  Kristin Tancredi (wife)