CJ is being treated in the Mayo clinic in Phoenix, AZ. His treatment will begin with proton radiation therapy which will require treatment every day for 6 to 8 weeks. Proton radiation is a very precise radiation in hitting the target within millimeters. Unfortunately, it will also come with some side effects. CJ will lose his taste and the ability to produce saliva on the left side of his mouth. He will also lose some hair, and his face will be in a state like a bad sunburn. His taste will hopefully return in 6 to 9 months after the end of treatment. The saliva production can take up to a year and a half to return if at all. The hair will start to regrow slowly after the radiation treatment is over, and his skin may be left with some discoloration. With any radiation treatment there is about a 1 percent chance of getting cancer down the road from the radiation itself. It also looks as though Chemotherapy will be required, however, we will not be 100% certain of that until a few more tests come back. Chemotherapy comes with its own set of side effects, but we will deal with those if and when the time arises.
Even with radiation and chemotherapy in the pipeline, CJ is staying strong and looking to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
I thank all of you who prayed, donated, supported and walked with the Duncan family as the tumor was removed. We now have a much bigger battle in front of us now, but I am confident that CJ will win and be stronger for it when it is all said and done. I ask you to be a part of this journey.
Loving husband, amazing father, a sometimes difficult but wonderful son :- ) and a true friend. This is but a mere glimpse of who CJ Duncan is. I met him as a freshmen at Wheaton College and my life has been truly blessed ever since.
Helen Keller said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” CJ has always been there; willing to walk with me no matter how dark it got. Now CJ is going through an extremely dark time and I am walking with him.
Last month, CJ had a routine tonsillectomy that revealed a submandibular gland tumor on the left side of his throat. Originally it was presumed to be benign and the plan was to surgically remove it in a few weeks/months after the scar tissue in the area completely healed from the tonsillectomy. Unfortunately this week the tumor either grew or moved into his throat – blocking his ability to breathe! CJ had an emergency tracheotomy to keep him breathing. This unexpected turn prompted the doctors to move the removal of the tumor up to this Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time. This is an extremely unique case, and the doctors are still not completely sure of the exact status of the tumor, the size of the tumor or the health of the tissue around it. The biggest fear during this surgery is the close proximity of the tumor to the carotid arteries and the vertebral arteries. If cut, blood going to and away from the brain can stop almost immediately!
Doctors are still confident that CJ will be able to make a full recovery, however it will take months of rehabilitation. They still cannot completely determine the long-term impacts of this tumor and surgery. We do know that CJ will not be able to eat any food whatsoever for at least 2 weeks after the surgery and has already had a Gastrostomy (feeding tube insertion). Due to the rarity of CJ’s case, we still need to see what the road to recovery completely looks like.
Obviously this is an extremely scary and precarious situation. CJ’s wife, Kristen Duncan, has been with CJ every step of the way and never leaves his side at the hospital! Kristen and CJ just had a baby, Jeffrey Duncan, who is 8 months old. He is adorable, however not yet self-sufficient. Thankfully family has been able to help take care of Jeffrey, but you can only imagine the pain CJ and Kristen are enduring being away from their little boy. CJ is still hoping to start his postgraduate education in July, however this may push that dream back. The fact CJ was on the cusp of going back to school also makes the financial impact of this situation that much worse. They had saved money and were ready to transition to a phase in life where CJ pursued his Doctorate fulltime, however this cancer has derailed such plans. Obviously CJ is not able to go back to work right now, and already the medical bills are piling up.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the next steps and rehabilitation, financial burdens are now adding stress to a situation that truly requires focus on healing. My goal is to raise money to cover these medical bills (if not all, the lion’s share), so CJ and his family can focus on recovering, ensure CJ, Kristen and Jeffrey are taken care of, and hopefully keep alive the dream of CJ going to school (if not this year, soon). 100% of your donation/gift will go towards medical bills.
Cancer is a brutal disease that too often wins. I ask for your support both in thoughts/prayers as well as financially to help CJ and his family fight and win! As previously mentioned, CJ and his family are going through an extremely dark time and I am walking with them. I hope and pray you can join us!
- Margie Schlieter
- Margaret Schlieter
- Jason Woelfel
- Margie Schlieter
- Jasmine Burchett
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