Another Bump in the Road

When I had the first cancer in my mouth (Squamous Cell Carcinoma )(1999), I had half the roof of my mouth removed as well as my orbital bone.  I went through a very hard time because people could not understand what I was saying.  It’s a fact that you definitely need the roof of your mouth to project your words!  People take this for granted.  I remember when I first had the surgery.  My dad didn’t think about it and asked me to call and order a pizza.  The girl couldn’t understand a word I was saying.  I was completely devastated and cried.  :(  This was a major issue because I work at Wright-Patterson AFB (administrative assistant) and have to interact with people on a daily basis (in the office as well as on the telephone).  I went through chemotherapy, radiation, and was off of work for a year to recover and deal with many severe health  issues.  

Then, in 2005, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in my abdomen.  I did what is called an autologous transplant (which is where I donated my own stem cells).  I again went through many rigorous rounds of chemotherapy and was finally in remission.

Around Christmas time (2007), we decided to have reconstructive surgery to rebuild my face from the damage the  1999 Squamous Cell tumor caused.  Our health insurance company would not pay because they said it was cosmetic.  This meant we would have to pay the entire amount out of our pocket.  
 So, as with all surgeries, the doctors run tests to ensure I’m healthy and able to have the extensive and very dangerous surgery.  On Christmas Eve (the day before the surgery), I received the heartbreaking news that the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma had returned.

We sat down  with the doctor and he said I had two options.  I can have intense rounds of chemotherapy once again but eventually my body would become immune to the treatments and I would die.  The second option was for a sibling to donate their stem cells to me.   My sister and brother took the test and my sister was a perfect match.  If my sister was unable to donate, luckily my brother was a close second.  Thank God!  

As of this year, I’ve  had a recurrence of the Squamous Cell Carcinoma on the other side of my face.  I go to OSU this Tuesday to get a Petscan to see  if it spread.  I know it hasn’t (thinking positive) because my original doctor told me it stays localized.  Plus, I had a Petscan about 3 months ago - all clear from head to toe.  :)

My doctor has a game plan:  kill the evil, remove the evil, and reconstruct my face.  This is not cosmetic - this is a medical necessity.

We’ve had hellacious medical  bills within the past year.  We’re hoping our health insurance will pay in full for what is to come.  But, I have decided to tell my story.  We are not ones to beg but we need  help.  I’ve been on Leave Without Pay Status since May 2017.  Thank God Dan still has a paycheck.  However, it’s not enough to make ends meet.

Even though it’s not what we wanted to hear, it’s ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD, ANOTHER CHAPTER IN MY BOOK (I’m writing a book about our journey)—but Dan and I will FINALLY have our lives back to normal. 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.



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Beth Sherwood 
Dayton, OH
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