In May of 2017, Dillon (my husband of 17 years, married right out of college) was diagnosed with a large brain tumor on his pituitary gland. He had been complaining of headaches for awhile but we had attributed the headaches to his lack of sleep. At that time he was working close to 80 hours a week as a Corrections Officer for New York State. The headaches continued and did not respond to pain relievers we purchased at the drug store. Our next step was to see a myriad of doctors. Through the process of doctors’ appointments, tests, scans, x-rays, medications; Brain Tumor was the diagnosis. Due to the size and location of the tumor Dillon was told to immediately stop working so he could undergo Brain Surgery to remove the tumor. This happened within a week of the horrible diagnosis.
The size and placement of the tumor posed the next problem. Unfortunately, the entire tumor could not be removed. The tumor was covering the carotid artery in his brain and was dangerously close to the optic nerve, during surgery it was decided to leave this part of the tumor. The carotid artery is responsible for supplying blood to the brain. Removing this part of the tumor may have risked cutting off blood flow to Dillon’s brain. His eyesight was impacted. Dillon has lost peripheral vision in his right eye. An alternative treatment was determined to be the next phase. Radiation therapy was the best option offered- to shrink the remainder of the tumor. Dillon underwent 27 consecutive radiation treatments from the end of September 2017 to the first week of November 2017.
As with most major medical problems, there were serious side effects to the treatments. The radiation therapy caused the tumor to swell. Swelling in the brain gave Dillon unrelenting, severe headaches. Because of the swelling, the headaches, and visual impairment, Dillon was unable to return to work. Hopefully, with time the swelling will cease and the tumor will shrink, at least this is what we were told would happen.
As a Corrections Officer; Dillon is required to be able to deal with difficult persons in various, difficult (sometimes life-threatening) situations. If his health is impaired in any way, this leaves him vulnerable to his client’s potentially violent behaviors. Additionally, in extreme pain and compromised vision, Dillon’s reactions may be less than quick and effective. Clearly, his profession of ‘protecting the public’ could not happen.
We are a family of seven, with five wonderful children. Our children’s ages range from 5 to 17 years old. I am Dillon’s wife; I work full-time as a Medical Assistant in Binghamton, New York. Dillon was the main bread-winner of our family; my salary is not enough to keep our family afloat. It is uncertain when Dillon will be able to return to work and in what capacity he will be able to work.
We are turning to ‘GoFundMe’ because Dillon’s condition is precarious at best. He has exhausted benefits earned as a Corrections Officer. We are basically out of options. Our bills are piling up and they will only get worse with the cold weather upon us. Additionally, the Holiday Season is quickly approaching. Family, friends, and coworkers have helped us to the capacity they are able. We need to keep our family healthy, fed, warm, and clothed. We need to be able to buy Dillon the medications he needs and pursue the therapies, and surgeries necessary to get him healthy, out of pain, and working again. Finally, my heart breaks for my children. Normally, Christmas season is happy and full of cheer for our family. Our youngest children don’t understand the dire financial situation our family is in right now. They fully expect Santa will come to our home and leave gifts, like he does for all little children, like all their friends, and like they see in Christmas specials on TV. It is doubtful that Santa will stop at our house this year!
Our family’s future looks desperate. Dillon’s health has a long way to go before he can work again. We are a proud family and would prefer to do anything else but ask for help. Your kind consideration is very much appreciated.
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- Anjeanette Donovan
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