Cassie and Sean Mecsery face his brain cancer with patience, thankfulness: ‘There really is no other option’

DARIEN — In the past two years, Cassie Mecsery has learned to look for small blessings.

The Darien resident juggles parenting her young children while handling the day-to-day operations of the Greenwich-based Cos Cob TV & Audio. And since 2019, she has been a caregiver for her husband, Sean Mecsery, who is currently living with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“I think I'm not really fully processing it,” Cassie Mecsery said. “The only way to handle it is almost to live in a state of denial. Yes, it does seem like a lot. But there really is no other option.”

Sean Mecsery was diagnosed with late-stage glioblastoma in October 2019, at 48 years old. Glioblastoma is the most common cancer that begins in the brain and takes the form of aggressive and fast-growing tumors, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. There is no cure and limited treatment options.

For the past two years, Cassie Mecsery said her husband has attended numerous doctor’s appointments, undergone radiation treatment and chemotherapy, and tried a clinical trial in California. The cancerous brain tumor had come back twice within two years. Now, the tumor is back for a fourth time.

In order to cope with the medical expenses, which Cassie Mecsery said have presented the family with a heavy financial burden, she started a GoFundMe earlier this week. In just days, it raised $45,000 of its $75,000 goal from more than 330 donors.

“Just the fact that people are donating at all and that they show that they care and they support our family, it just meant a lot to me,” Cassie Mecsery said. “It's funny how you look at some of the small blessings. That the community is rallying behind us and sharing this GoFundMe — it melts my heart.”

Previously, starting a GoFundMe was not something Sean Mecsery wanted to do, his wife said. The family initially did not tell many people that Sean had been diagnosed with cancer.

“Launching the GoFundMe now is really sad in a way because the fact that he's OK with it means that he knows things are getting pretty bad,” Cassie Mecsery said. “We’re now on this fourth recurrence that is affecting his language, ability to function, and the expenses are mounting up. They are expenses we were not planning for.”

The money will go toward funding the exploratory treatments Sean Mecsery has been using, which are not on the approved list of drugs for the cancer. Because of this, the family’s insurance often declines to pay for the treatment, leaving them to pay out-of-pocket, Cassie Mecsery said.

Anything left over will be put into a college fund for the Mecsery’s two children, 6-year-old Calista and 2-year-old Westley. Sean Mecsery also has another daughter from a previous marriage.

It has been difficult for Sean Mecsery to step away from the family business, which his father created in 1945 and owned before him, Cassie Mecsery said. He began tagging along with his father to the store when he was still in grade school, returning to help run it after graduating from Vanderbilt University.

The store has evolved into an electronics and home video installation service. Cassie Mecesery said the store has customers from all over the area, including Darien.

Sean Mecsery was able to work at Cos Cob TV until early 2020, when Cassie Mecsery helped take over, she said. With some experience in e-commerce and digital retail, Cassie Mecsery said she had to learn the ropes of the business quickly after her husband’s condition worsened. She now runs it full-time, along with accompanying her husband to appointments and treatments.

In the Mecsery household, there is now a renewed emphasis on slowing down and being aware of the “preciousness of time,” Cassie Mecsery said.

Because there is no real cure, most glioblastoma patients are faced with odds that are stacked against them.

“The statistics are horrific, in terms of survival,” Cassie Mecsery said. “When you first get this diagnosis and you read these statistics, you're angry, you're sad. There's nothing good about it.”

Currently, Sean Mecsery is experiencing severe symptoms: After the fourth tumor was discovered in February 2021, he has lost much function in his right arm, and he gets easily tired, Cassie Mecsery said.

It is nearly impossible for Sean Mecsery to do tasks like reading or writing. He also has aphasia, a condition that makes coherent speaking much harder.

But she said he still makes it a point to be with his children, taking them to lunch and participating in family photoshoots to capture the little moments.

And he can still express this about his children: “They’re the best,” Sean Mecsery said.