Help My Brother Beat Cancer & Wegener's

I am writing this Gofundme in hopes to support my brother who is battling two life threatening illnesses at one time!  For those of you who don’t know, Tommy has been dealing with Wegener’s Vasculitis Disease since 1998 (2 yrs untreated) which at the time had a 98% mortality rate. Wegener’s attacks healthy cells, organs, CNS including the brain and has even caused him to lose hearing and have a stroke where he had to learn to walk again.  He has survived with a great community, family, healthy lifestyle, a good team of doctors along with a strong Zen practice to help sustain him. Doctors have warned him that chemo is required on a regular basis for the rest of his life to combat this disease. I have been able to fly in over the years to help support him for many of these infusions, which I am grateful.

It saddens me to say that he now has been diagnosed with throat cancer!  He has an egg sized tumor in his throat that needs to be removed. We have seen multiple surgeons to learn he is not a candidate for robotic surgery because the tumor has grown onto the soft palate. The surgery would affect his vocal chords and the ability to swallow where food would literally come out of his nose.  Besides the fact they would need to saw his jaw bone in half, open his face, reconstruct the entire throat and upper palate, then have a trachea, feeding tube, be hospitalized long term and still have the possibility of radiation for 6 weeks anyway. That said, we opted to go with radiation and chemo which is 5 days a week for 7 weeks straight having the Wegener’s doctors work with the Oncologists for complications.

He just had 5 teeth removed and a jaw bone surgery so he can do the radiation.  His teeth were compromised from years of chemo for Wegener’s.  If he didn’t get them out now, long term if the teeth needed work, the actual bone sockets would never heal due to the radiation.  Anyway, when he had the surgery he ended up having a Wegener’s attack as he came out of anesthesia which thankfully the doctor’s got under control. It definitely scared us because it is uncertain how Wegener’s will respond to his treatment for cancer. He just had a mask made that locks him onto the table for radiation to burn out the tumor and the next appointment will be to get prepared for the feeding tube.    

I am in Asheville now with my brother to support him through this difficult time.  I would like to help him lessen the burden of medical bills and daily living expenses since he will be down for the months to come.  All donations will go directly to Tommy's treatment and recovery.  I am also asking that he be lifted up in your prayers. This truly is one of the most powerful ways to help him heal. I trust God’s grace is with us.  My brother inspires me with his courage to face these trials head on while remaining present to be a good father, brother and friend. He has had a strong community of people who have stopped by to show support and praise him for what he has done to help others not complaining about what he is going through.  He gives the credit to God knowing his fate is in his hands. I’ve witnessed his own spirituality grow stronger touching the lives around him including mine. He keeps things simple reminding me we all only have this moment.

While we remain optimistic, we still have a very tough road ahead!  Your contributions and prayers will help my brother during this trying time.  I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this post with others. To all those who have been through cancer or illness my heart goes out to you and your loved ones because it truly is a battle you are never prepared to take.  I will keep you updated as we go through this journey together. Thank you to all of those who have already been there supporting us. I feel extremely blessed to have the amazing people that are in our lives. Much peace, love and blessings to you all! 

P.S.  Never give up and always keep the faith no matter what you are going through! It is in our weakest times that we find our greatest strength to liberation!

P.S.S. Thought I would share what I read in the cancer center today:  I asked God , "why are you taking me through troubled water?"  He replied, "Because your enemies can't swim."

I know that God is always with us, even when it feels dark, I think to myself "it is darkest before dawn."  God has us in the palm of His hand. I continue to pray "thy will be done" no matter if I agree with the outcome or not.  I trust God will lead us, protect us, guide us, love us and heal what needs to be healed! Prayer is the most powerful way to communicate with God.  It is a gift we have been given here on earth to connect with Him who can give peace in the eye of the storm. 

Thank you God for keeping me rooted, established, and lead on this journey to go where you would have me.  Let me be an instrument of your peace and bring light where there are shadows. Let me be the person you would have me be, even if I am kicking and screaming, I know you have me right where I am supposed to be.  My brother is everything to me please heal him in the most miraculous and profound way. Thank you for all you do. Thank you for the friends and family who continue to support us. I trust and rely on you to carry us through.  Amen.  
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Yvette Rioux 
Asheville, NC
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