Roosevelt's Cancer Fight
Roosevelt is a self-employed Peak Performance Coach and has worked for himself for the past twenty years. He has helped thousands of students pass their SAT's with flying colors, allowing them to attend the college of their choice. Being self-employed means there's no PTO or paid vacation days. If you don't work, you just don't get paid.
This past June, Roosevelt was diagnosed with Stage IV Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma, metastasized to lymph nodes and thyroid from an unknown primary cancer. One of the side effects of this cancer is that is has affected his voice, which he clearly needs in order to be able to teach. For quite a while, he had no voice at all, and could only whisper. He has regained some semblance of a voice, but it still comes and goes at will. The doctors don't know whether his voice will ever return to normal.
He has undergone 31 daily radiation treatments and six weekly chemo treatments and will be having surgery on December 12th to remove his lymph nodes and half of his thyroid. We don't know how long the recovery period will be or what will happen to his voice, but in the mean time his medical and living expenses are growing and his income is dwindling.
Some of the side effects of his treatments and cancer are that he has difficulty swallowing, his taste buds have been compromised, his salivary glands have been compromised, his voice has been compromised, he has dry mouth all the time, and he has to take almost all of his nourishment through a feeding tube, which hangs directly out of his stomach. He no longer enjoys food and nothing tastes right. The man who loves his smoked meats no longer cares about food.
Roosevelt is fighting the good fight and he is working hard to keep his attitude positive, but facing the possibility of no income is weighing heavily on him. He needs to focus on just getting well, so I am asking that you look into your heart and help lessen his burden. No amount is too small. All money raised will be used for medical and living expenses.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you in advance for you donations. You will never know how much it means to us. I can't take his cancer away, and I can't make him feel physically better, but I can at least try to eliminate a little bit of his worries.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am beyond moved by Nadine's magnanimity in doing this on my behalf. Words elude me. I cannot believe that my circumstances are what they are, yet they are. I need to devote my energies to healing myself, and I am hopeful that I will overcome my present adversity. But, right now, I face an uncertain future. I would never have launched such an initiative as this on my own behalf, and it is with more than a little discomfiture that I speak here at all. Your help and best wishes are certainly appreciated. Thank you from the depths of my soul.
I am awed and humbled by the majestic heights of your compassion and generosity. I cannot possibly thank you enough. I will go into surgery in fewer than twelve hours buoyed by your good wishes, prayers, and positive, healing energy. My gratitude will never be a match for your collective magnanimity. Wow.
Hey folks! My surgery has been cancelled! Why? Because my pet scan from last Saturday reveals that my cancer is gone ! Back in the day, we called this a complete cure, or maybe a remission. What we say today, and what i believe to be more accurate, is that my latest scan revealed no evidence of disease. There was nothing even remotely resembling cancer on the scan. Consequently, the potential costs of my surgery vastly outweigh the potential benefits. Pure and simple. I can't begin to adequately express my enormous gratitude to those of you who have supported me through this trial, whether by means of this campaign or otherwise. You have risen far above the call of duty; indeed, none of you have any duty to me as the term is ordinarily understood. So again, thank you!!!!! My sweet, thoughtful, amazing guardian angel in the flesh, Nadine Borey, is to be thanked above all. Again, having no obligation whatsoever to do so, she just up and set into motion this campaign, which has moved dozens of people, many complete strangers to me, to donate in order to help me stay afloat during this stressful, uncertain time. And, not to belabor the point, the response has been astounding. So, where do matters stand now? Well, first and foremost, in layman's terms, i no longer have cancer. In layman's terms, i no longer have a growing, ticking timebomb inside my body, doing its damnedest to kill me. So, does that mean that the fight is over, and that i won? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. What has not changed is that i am a veteran of radiation and chemotherapy, both of which inflicted immediate harm, and both of which threaten further harm in the short, intermediate and long terms, indeed, for the rest of my life. At present, i am unable to take in nourishment, liquid or solid, by mouth. Thus, i have to use a feeding tube for my nutrition and hydration. This is, to put it mildly, an inconvenient state of affairs. Nature did not design me to eat and drink this way. While i do eat and drink in this artificial way, things are going on that threaten to make this unnatural state of affairs permanent. For example, in order to swallow, one must swallow. It's a use it or lose it proposition. I will need to work intensively with speech and physical therapy professionals in order to maintain, and, ideally, increase my ability to eat and drink the natural way. I currently have a tracheostomy that both saved my life on the operating table (yeah guys, i flatlined during the original attemptvto insert a breathing tube for the surgery that is now no longer necessary) and would have made Friday's surgery possible. I will be working with my ENT doctor to wean myself from using/having this device, and to ultimately remove it. Additionally, eating requires adequate saliva production. At present, i cannot naturally produce sufficient saliva as a side effect of radiation. My radiation oncologist has prescribed a medicationvto help. Unfortunately, it will take 12-16 weeks to find out whether I'm one of the people helped by this med. If the med doesn't work, it is unknown and unknowable whether or to what extent my salivary function will be redtored naturally. Indeed, speech itself requires a certain threshold level of moisture, which i currently can't naturally geerate. This can be partially worked around by use of water as a substitute, and sometimes i have to whisper, which is, counterintuitive ly enough, bad for the speaking apparatus. In addition, chemotherapy and radiation decrease the mobility and flexibility of all of the mechanical structures involved in eating, drinking and speech. The extent of the damage to each individual is unpredictable. I will be working ongoingly for the rest of my life withcvariouscclinicians invorder to do the best i can in all these areas. Right now, my right vocal cord is paralyzed. Will it become unparalyzed? The heartbreaking truth is that i don't know, and my team doesn't know. We cross our fingers, work hard and hope for the best. That was alot. Here are the relevant take aways: For the time being at least, i have kicked cancer's ass, killed it!!!! While this particular battle has been won, the long term war is far from over and i still need the help of all of you still willing to give it, be it a prayer, an encouraging word or some much-needed $$$. Thank you all!!!!!!! Bless you all!!!!!!!!!
I have a pet scan scaeduled for tomorrow in Leominste. This will be the first one taken months after chemoradiation, so it should be most revealing. Ideally, nothing will be glowing, or, failing that the only glowing stuff will be in the area where i will be having surgery in a week, meanining that either all the beasties have been zapped outright or that the only remaining beasties are exactly where they were expected to be and willvbe gettingbthe hook, or,in this case, scalpel. Cross away, pray away, vibe away--we got this!!!! Bam!!!!!
The craziness continues. Had another trach put in (problems with the predecessor). New facility Valley stream. Neck dissection 1/29, pending future hilarity. Cathi, you are right. You keep docrors from killing us!!!
In these trying times, most of of know someone, love someone, are related to someone, who is facing travails not dissimilar to mine and, if to that extent alone, I get that my case is not exceptional or unique. Indeed, it is for this very reason alone that that I am so gobsmacked by your actions here. It is said that tears are only rain to make love grow. If this is true, than know that your gardens of love will be glorious for many seasons to come. For, as it is written, my love lives outside my window. Clouds burst to give water so her love can grow. My love smiles to me each morning, says she'll never leave me, and I know it's so! Happy Sunday, peoples!
Thanks to every single one of you!