On Monday 24 July, Mike had the majority of an aggressive brain tumour removed at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane. However not all cancerous cells were able to be removed. Mike has been given a prognosis of 12-14 months life expectancy. Mike's partner Michelle is six months pregnant with their second child (due November 2017). They also have a daughter Fynn, 5 years old. In addition to the costs of setting up a second residence in Brisbane and gathering the essentials for a new baby, Mike and Michelle have incurred approximately $5,000 of medical expenses in less than a week. We are aiming to raise $30,000 in funds to assist Mike and Michelle in this journey.
Mike Higgins and Michelle Finnan are long time residents of Nhulunbuy, also known as Gove, in the Northern Territory. Mike and Michelle have a five year old daughter, Fynn Higgins. Michelle is due to give birth to their second child in November. Their unborn baby is affectionately referred to as 'Little Roo'.
Over the last two and a half months, Mike has suffered from two major seizures, as well as symptoms such as facial sensations, headaches, dysphasia, tumbling thoughts, involuntary left handed movements, tingling and weakness down the left side of his body, and moments of disassociation from his environment. The last seizure hit Mike when he was having coffee at the Three C's Café in Gove on Wednesday, 19 July and lasted approximately 25 minutes. Gove Hospital sent Mike by Care flight back to Darwin hospital, at which time the tumour was diagnosed.
Mike has a Glioblastomas (GBM) tumour. It is highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells produce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels. The tumour is located in Mike's right front lobe of the brain. GBM is difficult to treat because the tumour contains so many different types of cells. Some cells may respond well to certain therapies, while others may not be affected at all. This is why a treatment plan for GBM may combine several approaches.
Once the tumour had been identified in the scans, the consulting neurologist ordered Mike's transfer from Darwin hospital to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane on Saturday 22 July. On Monday, 24 July, Mike underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour to relieve the pressure on the brain, however it was not possible to remove all of the tumour. Cancerous cells had spread throughout Mike's brain and were unable to be surgically removed. Surgically removing more of the tumour would have resulted in Mike losing important functions such as language and coordination, as well as personality.
Mike was discharged from the Mater Hospital on Friday, 28 July to recover from brain surgery in the company of his family. After a short period of recovery from surgery, Mike will commence an intensive program of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, Mike will have to remain on a chemotherapy program for the remainder of his life.
Having only bought a suitcase of essentials with them, Mike, Michelle and Fynn are unable to return home to Gove for at least the next 4-6 months. In the interim, they will stay with Michelle's mum. Mike will become very weak from treatment, and they will therefore look for accommodation close to the hospital to reduce the travel burden on Mike, as well as a heavily pregnant Michelle. In addition to the costs of living away from home, setting up a second residence and gathering the essentials for a new baby, Mike and Michelle have incurred approximately $5,000 of medical expenses in less than a week. Some of these costs can be recouped through medical insurance, however long-term treatment will result in a significant financial burden.
Mike and Michelle have commenced a complete lifestyle overhaul to incorporate healing therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, nutritional and environmental medicines, and meditation. With the support of Mike's partner, family, friends and community, Mike and Michelle aim to contain the growth of cancer, and be in fine spirits for the birth of their second baby in November.
Thank you in advance for the support and encouragement that you are providing to Mike, Michelle, Fynn and Little Roo.