On June 26 at 7:30am Ian went into surgery at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, MT. Following updates from nurses every couple of hours Dr. Scott Larson came into the waiting room around mid-night, after over 15 hours of surgery, to tell us the outcome. Indeed, along with many lymph nodes from his neck, about half of Ian’s tongue was removed and reconstructed with a 4-inch oval of skin, a vein, and artery from his wrist. The next three days were spent in intensive care where the graft was checked every hour to make sure blood was flowing. Then Ian spent another ten days in recovery before being discharged for home back in Missoula.
Following four more weeks of healing with nutrition coming primarily through a feeding tube inserted into his stomach, Ian started six weeks of chemo therapy and radiation that finished up in mid-September. Recovery from those treatments took over two months including weaning from five months of heavy opioid medication.
Since mid-December, Ian has been able to return to the part time job that he has had for several years. As you might guess being a part time job there were no benefits such as insurance and Ian certainly had no savings to tap. Fortunately, Medicaid picked up the bulk of medical costs (over $200,000) – but not all, and there are thousands of dollars of uncovered bills to pay.
As always, there is never a good time for misfortune and this hit at a time when I was unemployeed but begining a job search which had to be abandoned as I became Ian's primary home care giver. Overall, out of pocket expenses has left our family with staggering dept.
The $25,000 fund we are trying to raise will only cover about half of the monetary impact of Ian’s illness on our family but would certainly stabilize our situation and give us breathing room to work off the rest. Part of the funds raised will go to help Ian pursue a career in computer programing.
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