We were lucky to live so close to a great cancer treatment center. Cory and I went to see the oncologist and radiation therapist. During that first visit, we were told the treatment could very well render Cory sterile and prevent him from having anymore children. It was recommended that we take the necessary steps prior to treatment to ensure the possibility of children in the future. We were sent to a collection facility in Dallas.
Once treatment began in early February, Cory was unable to work due to the side effects of radiation and chemo. The next three months were a battle to stay healthy and counteract the side effects caused by the treatments. Cory struggled with being able to participate in our daily lives. He stayed dehydrated and required fluids every few days. Even with mulitiple trips to the emergency room, massive amounts of medications to counteract his symptoms, and a stay in the hospital, Cory's positive attitude continued to make the people around him smile and laugh.
The day of the surgery had finally arrived and we were all overcome with emotions. The surgeon was able to remove the tumor. We were told the cancer had spread to the cells and fatty tissues surrounding the rectum. If these cells were not eliminated, the cancer could spread to his lymph nodes, causing spread throughout his body to other organs. The cancer was now classified as stage 2. The following chemo would have a 50/50 chance of eliminating the remaining cancerous cells. After a nine day stay at Baylor, Cory was able to come home with major restrictions. At this point, Cory's short term disability was almost out and he would need to return to work soon. Facing more financial strain, Cory was forced back to work three weeks after surgery and one week before chemo began again. He went back to work with good spirits, but could only work part time, due to his restrictions, which completely exhausted him.
On top of surgery, a nine day hospital stay, financial strain, and attempting to work part time, Cory faced another obstacle; an ileostomy bag placement on the day of his surgery. An ileostomy is a surgical opening constructed by bringing the end of the small intestine out onto the surface of the skin. A bag connects to this open stoma and intestinal waste passes out of the ileostomy into the bag. He would have this for no less than 6 months. The difficulty with learning how to properly care for the bag caused Cory to need an at home health care nurse for a short time. The emotional strain due to embarassment of being in public and the bag being seen or heard was insurmountable. By this point, Cory had lost 40 pounds since surgery because of the restrictions on his diet due to the ileostomy and other side effects of his treatment. After four more months of chemo, he will undergo another surgery to have the ileostomy reversed. Recently, Cory also had to have a root canal due to the chemo wreaking havoc on his immune system and causing random infections in his body, particularly in his mouth.
Throughout the last seven months, Cory has remained positive, calm, and still has the ability to make fun of himself. Unfortunately, adding to the stress of this entire ordeal is the financial toll this has taken on Cory and his family. Hospital stays, scans, medications, supplies, and the inability to work full time has created a massive amount of bills and expenses that continues to grow each day. We want Cory to focus on beating this disease and being the amazing dad he is to Michael and Samantha, rather than stressing over it. We hope by establishing this site, donations can help achieve that. Any monetary donations will help Cory with his current financial obligations and be used for past, current, and future tests, surgeries and appointments ahead.
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