Ben's Cancer Care

My brother Ben has Cerebral Palsey and Apraxia.  Regardless of this, he’s always been the biggest helper and sweetest guy you’ve ever met.  Our mom is currently in a wheelchair with her own issues, and Ben helps her clean and cook.  He’s really quite impressive.  He’s won several medals with the special olympics.  He’s the asst. Youth pastor for his church.  He’s helped an abused woman move out of her house. He's built homes for people who can’t afford it in other countries. He even taught our youngest brother, Matt, how to snowboard.

In May he went to the doctor for a cold that we thought had turned into pneumonia.  Turns out he had tumors on his lungs.  We initially thought he had lung cancer and when we found out it was testicular cancer that had metastasized into his lungs and liver, we were actually ecstatic even though it's stage four.  There was so much more hope for him than a lung cancer diagnosis.

When he went to start chemo on June 2nd, he was feeling dizzy and had a fever.  He was admitted to the hospital and that night could not keep his oxygen levels up and had to be intubated.  This was basically his worst nightmare as he has a super sensitive gag reflex.  Turns out his lung had collapsed and he was presenting as septic.  We’re still not sure if the cancer was just causing septic-like responses or if he actually was septic.

He had his first round of chemo while intubated and did awesome!  He had some side effects, but he came out of it fairly well.  Partway through his week after chemo, he started swelling in his face and neck.  Turns out he had a pneumothorax (air bubble between his chest and lungs) and his lungs were leaking air into his body, so he then had to have a chest tube inserted to relieve the air.

Since his lungs weren’t healing the holes as quickly as they’d like, he was transferred to Loma Linda Medical Center to have some one way valves installed until the holes can heal. 

He has been admitted to the hospital at this point since June 2nd.  We’re not sure how much longer he’s going to be here, and we want to ensure he’s not left alone.  Due to his apraxia, he has difficulties communicating with the staff and so we act as interpreters.  We’re trying to cover a minimal amount of our step-dad’s wages so he can take the month of July off in order to ensure we have someone to stay with Ben at all times.  While my step-dad has loss of wages insurance, that only covers if he's the one who's injured.  Any amounts above that will go to cover the medical expenses.  While we have medical insurance, we’re not sure what’s going to be covered and what won’t be, and we'll continue to have expenses as Ben finishes the final rounds of chemo.  The doctors are hopeful that the the 4 rounds will be sufficient to kill the tumors.

The first medical bill has come in at $4,000 even with insurance.  After almost a month, more than half in the ICU, we're not sure how many more bills we're looking at!  Thanks for reading and sharing!

Ben at a tea party our sister-in-law threw at our mom's house.

Ben with his basketball team in Long Beach.

Ben bowling when he went to visit our brother and sister-in-law in Boise.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Sarah Hake 
Redlands, CA
Carole Powell