It’s difficult to describe my sister Nancy in just one or two words. She reaches out to everyone she knows with a helping hand, a giving spirit, a compassionate heart and a willingness to put others needs and concerns before her own.
In June of 2014, Nancy noticed what she thought was an “ulcer” or “canker sore” on the roof of her mouth. After consulting with three different dentists (all of whom said they’d never encountered a lesion of this sort) and numerous X-rays over a 3 month period of time, she had a triple biopsy done on the roof of her mouth. The final pathology report would be rendered a week later and a follow up appointment was made for September 25th (Nancy’s birthday!) We were informed then that the final path report showed malignancy of the palate – or Epithelial Myoepithelial Carcinoma of the Palate. She was immediately referred to Dr. Bob Sinard, Associate Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the ENT Head & Neck Cancer Center at Vanderbilt.
George, Nancy and I met with Dr. Sinard, six days later. After thorough examination, Dr. Sinard shared an interesting statistic with us: Epithelial Myoepithelial Carcinoma of the Palate is a very rare form of cancer; only 25 known cases in the world and he has performed surgery on two of these 25 cases – Nancy was to be 26th and his 3rd surgery for this type of cancer. After many scans, test, and fittings for a prosthesis (called a surgical Obturator which was to be inserted immediately after surgery), the operation was scheduled for October 16, 2014. Dr. Sinard informed the family that he was able to get the largest portion of the tumor by taking approximately ½ of the roof of her mouth. The lymph nodes were clear, however, there were no clean margins. Dr. Sinard opted to stop and treat the rest of the cancer with radiation and chemo-therapy. The surgery had to heal before the radiation & chemo could begin.
To date, Nancy has not been able to work. Her "full- time job" has been showing up at The Vanderbilt Clinic five days a week for her chemo-therapy and radiation treatments. The medical bills are overwhelming and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain her monthly living expenses much less the out of pocket medical expenses for the mounting medications ($1,000 just in the month of January). Her part of the hospital bill is astronomical and she has yet to receive statements from her medical team which consists of the surgeon, a neurologist, an oncologist, a radiologist, a physical therapy team, a gastroenterologist, and a swallow specialist. The surgical Obturator, will be replaced with a “permanent” Obturator sometime in the spring of 2015, neither of which are covered by her insurance.
- Pam Mishler
- Jackie Beadle
- Mary and John Doak Sr.
- Dolores Beadle
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more