On July 24, 2018, our lives changed forever. My older brother Mark had been sick for weeks and finally went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a severe blood infection, had gone septic and almost perished.
In the course of his recovery it was discovered that the cause of his sickness was Squamous Cell Carcinoma or "cancer of the mouth." The cancer had spread to his throat and lymphoids.
After staying at University Hospital in Columbia, Mo. for 8 days he was discharged home but life would never be the same. Next was a series of doctor's appointments informing him of the treatment that would be necessary to save his life. He would have to undergo surgery that would include the removal of part of his tongue, most of his teeth, both lymphoids, a juggler vein from the left side of his neck, two skin graphs, one from his inner left thigh and the other from his left forearm and the removal of two arteries from his left arm. The skin graphs and removal of arteries from his left arm would be used to in part to build back some of his tongue and to rebuild arteries in his neck that would connect to the new skin in his mouth to keep it alive long enough for it to attach and become part of his mouth.
The surgery took place on August 18, 2018 at University Hospital in Columbia, Mo. and lasted almost 10 hours. Mark did well in surgery and the wonderful team of physicians that performed the surgery that day were able to remove all of the cancer.
Now, the recovery begins and it has been hard for Mark. His voice is forever changed, he has a drain tube in his neck and he said he hurts more now than he ever has. But besides the physical remnants of cancer, Mark has said he misses the sound of his voice, being able to eat a real meal that requires chewing of the food, not feeling exhausted all of the time and not being able to work and earn an income like he used to.
He has to prepare for radiation and chemotherapy to destroy whatever cancer may be left. All he wants to do is go back to work, retain some semblance of normal and give back to his community by helping someone else who is going through cancer. He is struggling financially right now because he cant work. His employer has helped tremendously with three months of bills; however, until he can complete his treatment and heal, he cant work to earn an income. He will not be able to work for an indeterminate amount of time.
Any and all funds received as soon as possible will provide the financial security relieving his current stress of paying for rent, food, utility bills, and other miscellaneous life needs which will assist in his ability to focus on healing.