In 2004 my husband, Paul Reeves, began his fight against base of tongue stage IV head and neck cancer. Because he had never been a smoker, we believe it came from second hand smoke. His parents both smoked, as most did in the fifties. Doctors game him a 50/50 chance of beating the cancer. On February 2005 Paul underwent surgery to remove the cancer. The surgery and the subsequent chemotherapy/radiation treatments were a success in that he was now cancer free. However, this is when the merry go round ride sped up. Due to the radiation his right jaw bone became necrotic and had to be removed. It was replaced by a bone removed from his left leg. The jaw muscles were created by moving his shoulder muscles upward. His teeth began to fall out.
Over the next couple of years his esophagus and vocal chords became close to useless. After over ten hospitalizations for aspiration pneumonia, which drastically damaged his lungs and caused him to have to be fed through a J-tube in his lower abdomen, he is on full oxygen, has COPD, use of less than 1/3 lung capacity and is allowed absolutely nothing by mouth.
Since June 6 of this year he has been hospitalized six times for life-saving procedures. Paul spent ten days on a ventilator, barely making it. Paul never complains. We have both had to quit our jobs (I have to stay home to care for him), and, even though we do collect Social Security it doesn’t cover our out of pocket medical expenses. Co-pays are $50 for each specialist, not to mention the medications not covered by Medicare. Most months we scramble to pay our bills, selling off our personal belongings. Last month we spent over $800 in medical costs. We have to fight with insurance constantly to provide his food, which is over $1,000 a month.
Always before we have been on the opposite end of charity. This time we are in need. Please find it in your heart to help. If you are unable to help financially, please pray for Paul. I know the power of prayer has kept him with me thus far. In July we will celebrate our 31st year of marriage. Ups and downs, we are always there for each other.