Meet Andrew, a 36-year-old who is in an intense battle with brain cancer. To say the least, Andrew and his new wife, Michelle, have had a rollercoaster of years together. Michelle’s mother had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer. After 70 days of her fight, her mom passed away in the arms of Michelle, while Drew stood beside her. Shortly after Michelle’s mother passed, Drew’s mother passed of a brain aneurysm.
Andrew began showing signs of acting unlike himself, but on February 17th of 2022, the answers as to why he was acting differently became clear. Andrew was complaining about having the “worst headache of his life” and nothing seemed to help this. Upon standing on his two feet, Drew began to sway from left to right, then projectile vomit came up. Once this happened, Michelle immediately believed that he was experiencing something like his mother; this led to Michelle rushing him to the nearest emergency room. Within 25 minutes, the doctors had a CAT scan of Drew’s head taken and the results came in.
The doctor walked into the room and took a seat. The couple knew that the next words they were going to hear would not be good. The doctor began with the good news; there was no bleeding and all of Drew’s brain vessels looked normal. The doctor then followed with “but we did find a large mass in Andrew’s brain that is extremely deep seated and very close to his brain stem”. For precaution, Drew immediately began anti-seizure medication and was transported to the main hospital in Staten Island.
On February 22nd, Drew underwent a craniotomy where the doctors were only able to safely remove 70% of the tumor. From here, Drew began his chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, the treatments showed no success – in fact, the tumor continued to grow. The radiation caused a ton of swelling, which led to a VP Shunt being implanted to help drain the brain fluid from Andrew’s head. The VP Shunt has helped prevent any fluid buildup in the brain.
The couple was now directed to Dr. Michael Schulder at Northwell’s main location in Long Island. On August 22nd, Dr. Schulder performed a LITT procedure on Andrew. This surgery implants a laser through the skull, into the center of the tumor, and heats the tumor until it is killed. Since this procedure, Drew has had two stable scans! Michelle expressed how grateful the two are for Dr. Schulder, “He’s never had a stable scan. We are so grateful for Dr. Schulder, his gift, and his staff!”.
After being engaged since December 6th, 2019, Andrew and Michelle finally were able to get married on August 14th, 2022. This was all possible due to Wish Upon a Wedding, a nonprofit organization that gifts weddings to those that are facing life threatening illnesses. “It was a day filled with love and memories that we will cherish forever.”
Andrew is now on an oral chemotherapy treatment cycle, which occurs five days straight once a month. At the end of the month, he gets another MRI on his brain.
Andrew and Michelle would like to thank you all for taking the time to read about their story. She hopes that more awareness is spread about brain cancer. We continue to pray for Andrew’s health. We love you. And we know you will continue to fight stronger than ever.
*To donate directly to the family, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-michelle-andrew. Michelle had to leave her job and become Andrew’s full-time caretaker. Any amount is more than appreciated.*