My name is Benjamin Webb, and I have stage III testicular cancer. Unfortunately, cancer seems to be something that is all too common these days. For me, it became a reality nine years ago at the age of 28. At that time, I was diagnosed with stage II testicular cancer; which is actually one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in young adult males. Luckily my cancer had not yet spread to any other organs, and was considered highly treatable. After a surgery(they took one of my 'boys'), and four rounds of chemotherapy, I was declared "cured!"
With a new lease on life, I went on to have a child (age 4) with my loving wife, and lived in relative bliss until about six months ago. Like everyone in the US, and around the globe, I have felt the stress of COVID-19—both emotionally and financially. Stress is known to inhibit the immune system, and in my case it seems to have resulted in a recurrence of my original cancer (yolk sac germ cell tumor). My oncologist suspects that my immune system had been managing several small clusters of left-over cancer cells, located in the lymph nodes around my heart/lungs, for some time. Eventually, my immune system was not able to contain the cancer cells, and it has now spread to several other areas of my body (11 lymph nodes ranging in size from 1.5cm - 9cm and my thyroid).
This time around, my treatment needs to be quite aggressive. Within the span of the last month, I went from finding a small lump on my collarbone (supraclavicular lymph node), to being admitted into the hospital for 5 days at a time for 24hr chemotherapy infusions. My current treatment schedule is a twelve week block, consisting of a minimum of a full month in the hospital.
While I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to receive treatment, it has placed an additional financial burden on my shoulders. So far, I have been able to take out several short-term loans to get my medical treatment started (procuring health insurance at $800 a month, exams, scans, labs, first round of chemo, etc.).
As one can imagine, this strategy is unsustainable and will run out of capacity in the very near future.
My projected costs are:
1. Insurance/Hospital/Doctors/Labs: $20,000
2. Household bills/expenses: $5,000
3. Dental (chemo is extremely damaging to the teeth): $10,000
4. Chemo related recovery equipment: $2,000
5. Chemo-centric and post chemo diet/supplements: $2,000
The current climate has also made it much more difficult for friends and loved ones to offer support in various ways. Nevertheless, my family and I have had no shortage of prayers, surprise deliveries, and offers of support. If I learned anything from my first bout with this disease, it is the importance of friends and family.
I will be posting updates in blog form, so anyone who is interested can check it out!