A few months ago, my father, Rey Ferrara, started having serious pain in his mouth/throat. Thinking it was just a sore throat or tonsillitis, we didn't give it priority. However, as the pain grew more intense, we realized it had to be something more than a mere sore throat. This led him to seek help from a primary care doctor who ok'd him for a biopsy of his throat. While awaiting the results, he went on as normal, taking a few days off of work to recuperate from the procedure. Unfortunately, about a week ago, the results came in and we had our answer- a Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma.
While the doctors assure my father that this is still treatable, we are a long way from being out of the woods. After meeting with a recommended surgeon to get the tumor removed, we found that, due to the size, surgery was not the best course of action. Instead it was recommended that my father go through a rigorous treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. Upon meeting with a radiation oncologist, we found that we are looking at a 2 month treatment timeline, with another month for recovery.
While still having to meet with countless specialists and other doctors, we're looking at a rocky next few months. With my father being a veteran from the United States Navy, we've tried to seek help from the local VA. While they have been very receptive and helpful, it looks like they can only start offering assistance come the new year (2019). However, his doctors say his treatment should commence as soon as possible. Even so, we are optimistic.
With healthcare costs skyrocketing, the treatment could prove very costly, too much for any one person to handle. Chemotherapy alone could cost up to $30,000 over an 8 week period, however it is determined case by case. He still needs a PET scan, which is another $1,500. We've already spent a good $3,500 on doctor visits and procedures in the last 2 weeks alone and my father is not cleared for work for at least 3 months. With chemotherapy, radiation and countless doctor visits, my family will be drowning in medical bills long before my father is better, and that's our main concern-that he gets better.
Anyone who has ever met my father knows that he is kind and generous, amongst all things. He is a father to 5 girls, a husband, a son, a brother, a grandfather, and a friend. He is also a fighter and he will beat this. We just need a little help to make sure he gets all the treatment he needs. I know we have a lot of family and friends who are incredibly supportive and loving- thank you all from the bottom of my heart. All I ask is that you read my father's story, and even if all you can spare is something as simple as $1, a share on your social media or a prayer, I would be forever grateful. Thank you all so much.