This last year has been very difficult for me, and my new little family. Last summer, a week after my wife found out she was pregnant with our first child, we learned that I had cancer. Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tongue to be precise. Never been a drinker or smoker either, so it was a real shock to have oral cancer.
Over the last several months, Ive had four surgeries, lost 30% of my tongue from surgeries to remove tumors, had two neck dissections to remove tumors from when the cancer spread to my lymph nodes, a major muscle was removed from my neck in the process because of the cancer, lost my job because of all the surgeries and wasn’t able to do the physical work after the removal of my sternocleidomastoid muscle. Just a month ago, I finally finished the grueling process of radiation therapy on my throat and mouth, and chemotherapy. I lost over 60 pounds from chemo and radiation making it difficult to eat from chemo sickness, and swelling my throat from radiation. The chemo also gave me tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The chemo med I was on is a newer med, cisplatin, and fortunately I didn’t lose the hair on top of my head from it like you see in the movies and tv. The radiation though actually affected all my facial hair, and everywhere they shot me with radiation (below my nose down to the middle of my neck). My beard fell out, and now I can’t grow any facial hair. The worst part of the radiation is losing taste from targeting my tongue. I also can’t make saliva like I used to because the radiation affected some of my saliva glands.
As you can imagine, the medical bills for this have been coming in, and it’s been unbelievably overwhelming. My wife and I have been doing our best to stay afloat, but it’s been hard since I’ve been out of work for all the procedures, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. We’re at about $5,000 in bills so far from cat scans, PET scans, surgeries, hospital stays, biopsies, labs, and I’m still getting bills as we speak. I had a post chemo/radiation CT last week, and the estimated bill for that is $766.
My friends have been great, and started a Go Fund Me campaign. I know a lot of people don’t have the money to assist others, so I’m simply asking for you to share this journal at the very least. You can get to my GoFundMe campaign here: www.gofundme.com/n28nnk