AJ went in to have the tumor removed in January 2018. Several hours in, her surgeon came out to tell us that in a routine check after removing the thyroid and several lymph nodes, he'd discovered a cluster of lymph nodes on her vocal chord nerve which could not be removed without causing damage to her voice.
The earliest recording of AJ singing is one she made with her dad when she was three years old. She has entertained us all for her entire life, and has spent the last 18 months working toward a professional career in music. To hear that there would be permanent damage to her vocal chords was heartbreaking, our worst-case scenario.
Since her diagnosis, the whole family has been invested in learning as much as we can about this disease, and we've engaged in what we'll call "lively debates" about the best course of treatment. But we all agree on two things:
1) We need to do whatever it takes to ensure that all the cancer is gone.
2) Restoring her voice is a priority.
On the first count, we have decided to pursue adjuvant treatment at a clinic in Nevada that treats patients with low-dose chemo as an alternative to radioactive iodine (RAI). RAI has been the standard approach, but the side effects can be severe. Among other things, complications include second primary malignancy (with a higher risk of breast cancer, stomach cancer, and leukemia) and earlier onset menopause.* By contrast, the low-dose chemotherapy protocol has been shown to produce similar results with less risk.
Especially considering AJ's age, these are not risks we're willing to take. Low-dose chemo is not without any risks at all, but her surgeon has indicated that it is a reasonable alternative.
No one plans for a cancer diagnosis, and the expense has already been significant. The cost of this next course of treatment will also be high, including immunotherapy and the costs of travel and lodging. We are currently researching options to strengthen her voice once she's recovered from the treatment. What we know is whether that involves therapy or an additional surgical procedure, it will not come cheap.
We created this campaign in order to provide our family and friends with the opportunity to support AJ in this journey. If you are able and willing to provide a financial contribution, we so appreciate it. If you are able and willing to provide prayers and positive thoughts, those are equally valuable.
We love you.
The Hunt Family
Five days post-surgery.
Getting ready for a date night after returning to school.
Vitamin C immunotherapy (ongoing).
- Jamie Bam
- Kent Fauss
- Frankie Ghent
- Lori Bautch
- Marshall Wilson
Organizer and beneficiary
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