My Medical History
1998 diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins.Began chemotherapy in September.Halfway scans in January showed 50% reduction of cancer.May scans upon completion of chemo showed cancer had returned to initial levels.Began stem cell/bone marrow transplant in July 1999.Cancer was in remission after completion of transplant until 2004 at which time scans and biopsy showed cancer had mutated to include non-Hodgkins cells also.I began rituxan treatments of one per week for four weeks every six months.This controlled the cancer until 2010 when it mutated again.Rituxan treatments in January failed to control the cancer.I had another month of chemo treatments with a different drug regiment in March 2010 which also failed.After transferring to another doctor, I received my second stem cell/bone marrow transplant in September 2010 which initially worked.In 2012 my blood platelets dropped to less than 1000 (normal is around 250,000).At the same time I began to lose my vision.While being treated for the low blood platelets with rituxan, my vision returned.
In late 2013 I experienced a sore throat that would not go away.Due to family illness I did not aggressively look into the throat until July 2014.I was diagnosed in August with throat cancer that turned out to be stage 4.From September to December 2014 I had radiation treatments on my neck and chemotherapy.I had a feeding tube to assist in nutrition.The feeding tube was removed in February 2015.I began experiencing breathing difficulties shortly thereafter.I had to make several trips to the emergency room during the next few months.Early spring follow up scans showed spots in my lungs and swelling in my throat.The ear, nose and throat doctor ordered a swallow test which I failed so badly that the examining doctor stopped the test after my initial swallow and scheduled me for surgery to reinstall the feeding tube.Further tests showed my trachea was not functioning properly.I was given oxygen chamber treatments to attempt to heal the trachea.I was not able to complete the 33 oxygen treatments and had to have a tracheotomy preformed instead after two trips to the emergency room.
Dr. Stafford tried to remove the trach tube after about 8 months but I was still unable to breathe normally.After reinstalling the trach tube, I was given the choice of keeping the trach tube in and using the feeding tube for the rest of my life or removing my larynx completely and being able to swallow food again.I opted for the laryngectomy and eventually being able to eat. Ironically, after Dr. Stafford removed my larynx, it was so diseased that it would have ultimately needed to be removed anyway.My larynx was removed on May 31, 2016.Following normal procedures, I would have been able to begin to eat soft foods somewhere around June 10th but my throat was in such poor condition that I was not approved to begin to eat until August 5th after taking a different swallow test.
During my recovery from laryngectomy surgery, a small red esophageal puncture tube was accidentally dislodged during a routine cleaning.My nurse called for assistance from another nurse who simply stuck the tube back in and went about his duties.Unfortunately, the nurse did not contact either of my doctors.Either he was not aware of the importance or the tube or didn’t care.In any case the following shift contacted my doctor who attempted to replace the tube several hours later.The puncture hole had closed to the point that it could not be replaced.I will need further surgery through my mouth to reinstall the esophageal puncture tube.This tube is necessary for the installation of a more permanent speech device that will make it easier for me to speak and for others to hear and understand me.Also, the radiation damaged my skin to the extent that my stoma is closing and I will need surgery to reopen it to the proper size.
I had hoped to be working part-time by now, but this further complication has made working impossible at this time. My pension and social security are not sufficient to cover the medical co-pays, medical equipment and supplies to take care of my current and upcoming surgeries and associated health needs/supplies. I am asking my friends and family to help me once again with any support you can provide...a simple prayer, kind thought or donation if possible. I appreciate whatever you can do.