Father-of-two, who was told by doctors his chances of surviving a rare cancer were near zero, has now been approved for the potentially life-saving procedure in a reversal from his insurance company. The 35-year-old man was diagnosed with a rare type of disease after weeks of on-and-off stomach pains. He underwent multiple surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, neither the surgeries nor the chemotherapy was successful in combating the cancer. He was told by doctors his chances of survival were near zero.
Luckily, the 35-year-old man from New York, Anthony Di Laura, heard about a doctor at a in Ohio who had recently performed the country’s first multi-organ transplant on a Minnesota man dying from the same disease. According to reports, the procedure involved removing the man’s diseased abdominal organs and replacing them with healthy ones.
In August 2020, the 35-year-old father-of-two was reportedly diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP), a rare type of abdominal cancer. Di Laura was diagnosed after weeks of on-and-off stomach pains. The brave man underwent multiple surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, neither the surgeries nor the chemotherapy was successful in combating the disease and cancer and Di Laura was told by doctors his chances of survival were near zero. The 35-year-old man then found out about a procedure known as a multi-visceral organ transplant that could save his life. During this procedure, patients have their liver, small intestine and other abdominal organs – including their stomach and pancreas – removed and replaced.
According to the Daily Mail, his insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield struck down multiple requests to pay for the surgery. They claimed studies had shown the procedure was unsafe, and that it would have little long-term benefits. Luckily, the Blue Cross Blue Shield finally agreed to pay for the procedure last week. Di Laura is now on a waiting list for the operation.
During an interview with Good Morning America, the 35-year-old dad said that he started to experience symptoms in summer 2020. Di Laura reportedly started suffering from severe stomach pain and even felt that his stomach was protruding in some places. After 1 week, he went to see a doctor. Di Laura was diagnosed with PMP at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
On September 21, 2020, Di Laura had what’s known as MOAS (Mother of all Surgeries) in which they removed his entire omentum, appendix, part of his colon along with debulking various other organs in which only 50% of the tumor burden was removed. On October 14, they were told it was cancerous and he would need 6 months of chemotherapy with additional surgeries on the horizon to do what is known as a complete cytoreduction/HIPEC surgery.
Di Laura said he is in abdominal pain 24/7. He has to get his nutrition partially through a tube and he has a tube coming out of his abdomen to drain the fluid that continually builds up throughout the day because of the disease. Fighting the disease seemed impossible and even doctors were starting to lose hope that they could treat him. In March 2021, the 35-year-old dad contacted doctors in Ohio to be listed on the waiting list to receive the rare procedure. Unfortunately, his health insurance with BCBS reportedly denied his application to have the surgery covered multiple times.
Luckily, after 1 year of battling with insurance, Di Laura once again persevered and finally got approved to get put on the wait list. “Together with Mr. Di Laura’s medical team, our clinical team made the decision to cover Mr. Di Laura’s procedure with the surgeon at the CC,’ the company told Good Morning America.
“Always fight. Always keep hope and never give up because somebody says it’s impossible. I’ve never taken no for an answer and I’m not going to start now when it’s going to save my life to live with my family. So I want my kids to know that never give up in the face of anything because somebody says no. There will always be a way around it. There are always new ideas or always new inventions. There always will be an answer. You just can’t give up and that goes for everything in life,” the 35-year-old father reportedly said.
The family has also started an online fundraiser to raise money for Di Laura’s treatment. “It’s OFFICIAL. As of today Anthony is listed for a Modified Multiviceral Transplant. We ask for continued prayers for the soul that will be lost but whose body will save Anthony’s. Thank you everyone for supporting us. This journey has been quite dark and scary but we finally see the light. We love you all.” the GoFundMe Page wrote.