John walked into the doctor's office on Thursday, August 22 for what anyone would have thought was routine back pain. He had no way of knowing he was about to embark on a treacherous journey. Initially the routine pain medication, muscle relaxants and physical therapy seemed reasonable. But it became apparent that the electrical shocks down to both feet and the progressive numbness were not a routine situation. After multiple attempts to get help, with escalating symptoms on Wednesday, August 29, he walked into his primary physician's office. His hips were so unstable he stumbled. An emergent MRI was ordered for the next day. John is a devoted father of two beautiful girls, Alyssa (10) and Lauren (7), thoughts of an impending diagnosis weighed heavily on him.
The morning of Thursday, August 30, John's petite wife, Halley, acted as a human crutch to get him to the car. John, a strong carpenter, could no longer walk by himself. The MRI plainly showed evidence of a spinal tumor, and he was rushed to Spokane for emergency neurosurgery. He was initially told by the Neurosurgeon, "You may never walk again". The surgeon removed a tumor that covered the length of three vertebrae and some bone. After the placement of two rods and six screws, the prognosis was "you will walk again!" Although he was relieved with this news, it was at this point that John received the full weight of the diagnosis: Aggressive Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
John is a realistic optimist and took the diagnosis in stride. He has strong will to walk again and this is a priority. His insurance company allowed a mere eight days of rehabilitation. So, while he waited for all the tests to be run to determine the extent of the tumor, he utilized everything and everyone. The rehabilitation was intensive, but he did learn to walk again. Not as he once had, but with a walker. Knowing that although he would not be able to jog or wakeboard again, he hoped to be able to get around in time unassisted.
The tests showed he had cancer cells in his brain and neck and that his Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma was Stage 3. He was eager to start his chemotherapy. He had one port placed in his chest. But with the cancer cells in his brain, a port was also placed into his brain. The initial chemo rounds were fairly uneventful. He was encouraged that he would be able to tolerate the treatments without too many complications. However, that was not to be the case. He has recently had a number of complications. There is a large blood clot his lungs called a "saddle embolism" (that is often deadly), a blood clot in this thigh, and he has contracted Pneumocystis, a fungal lung infection. He is currently in the hospital, and this is very frustrating for him. These complications have further weakened him and delayed his chemotherapy.
John has always been a hard worker and has provided for his family; but like many in the United States, has a high deductible insurance plan. Halley is working as much as she can, but her priority is taking care of Alyssa and Lauren and being available for John at the hospital. The reality is that John will not be able to financially pay for the course of chemo, then radiation, and complications that may occur during his recovery.
John is asking you to help him provide for his family and mounting medical expenses. He is blessed to have the support of a loving family. He holds tightly to the Lord, whom he trusts to provide the strength and means to make it through this journey.
Please help the Davidson's get their father, husband, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and nephew back to health and wholeness!
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- Kristal Ragland
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