I am so proud of how he has overcome adversity in his life. He quit school in grade 10 and worked hard every day. He never asked me for anything, paying his own way and even helping me out once in awhile. He delivered pizza (Venice House), travelled and busked (Vancouver), and enjoyed his free time fishing and camping (La Ronge). He earned a career as a journeyman electrician and eventually purchased a home in Birch Hills, Saskatchewan.
Approximately one year ago, Chad developed a lump on his ear and, being human, ignored it as being nothing to worry about. In April of this year, a small lump on his right cheek started to get his attention, growing to an extraordinary size. Fortunately, he connected with Dr. Craig Cantin, who referred him to surgeon, Dr. Nico Moolman, who referred him to surgeon, Dr. Gary Groot. He was diagnosed with melanoma in August and confirmed with metastatic (Stage IV) melanoma in August/September of this year. The cancer is subcutaneous and includes tumours in his lungs and brain. The mortality rate for this type of cancer is less than a year.
Dr. Groot got Chad accepted into the groundbreaking immunotherapy treatment. This treatment is, thankfully, offered at the University Hospital's Cancer Agency in Saskatoon.
On September 6, 2018, Chad underwent radical surgery to remove the primary tumours on his left ear, right cheek and the lymph nodes below the cheek. Using skin from his left thigh, plastic surgeon, Dr. Annika Card, reconstructed his cheek; and removed the tumour from his left ear, sewing the top and bottom of his ear together to form some semblance of a small but normal ear.
He had a painful, uncomfortable journey in the hospital and at home, fighting infection and waiting for the incisions to heal properly. Twice I had to rush him to the hospital, as his cheek started to fall apart and his leg incision opened end-to-end. Thank you, Dr. Chandran and Marguerite for your expertise, kindness and empathy. The entire healing process had to happen before starting immunotherapy.
Chad had his first treatment on October 31, 2018. The immunotherapy treatments will involve Opdivo and Yervoy every 3 weeks for 4 sessions. The Yervoy treatment is meant to hit the cancer hard but it comes with uncomfortable and life-threatening side effects. Hopefully, If Chad can get through 2 of the 4 Yervoy treatments, it will make a significant difference in the cancer. The Opdivo comes with its own side effects and its purpose is to stop the cancer from growing. Treatments will continue every 2 weeks for the rest of his life. He will require constant MRIs to monitor his progress. Travel and possible overnight stays in Saskatoon will be constant.
On top of everything else, Chad has been gradually losing his hearing. Dr. Moolman was able to diagnose Chad with bilateral otosclerosis and cochlear issues. This means that total deafness is imminent without surgery, which cannot occur for at least 6 months and which surgery will most likely have to take place in Edmonton. We have no idea what the cost will be for this process. In the meantime, he requires hearing aids to hear properly and to diminish the tinnitus he is currently experiencing. Propner hearing aids will cost over $2,000. Insurance will only cover up to $1,000 every 4 years for hearing aids.
We don't know where this journey will take them nor the toll it will take on Chad's quality of life. Chad will never work and may never drive again. If these treatments are ineffective, we have to seek other treatment methods, perhaps in Ontario or Vancouver or even the United States. I don't want to see them lose their house and everything they have worked so hard to acquire.
We hope for tiny miracles, rays of hope and a long future with Chad in our lives. Humility has now opened its door to this Go Fund Me page. Please accept our appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for any help you can give to Chad and his family.
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