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This fundraiser ended on 12/21/11

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I am currently battling throat cancer. I never imagined going through this and unfortunately insurance at times only will cover so much.

I am currently going through treatment for throat cancer but my battle started last December when my symptoms surfaced and I had no clue what was happening. I initially thought I just had the flu and then when the pain worsened I assumed it was strep throat. When the pain continued and worsened the fear became greater. I knew something was wrong but I did not want to know. Also my insurance at work is horrible. I kept thinking of how I would pay for all these additional costs if it was something really bad.

The weeks turned into months and after numerous attempts with over the counter medication I knew I was in trouble. I could barely swallow water much less food. I finally went to the doctor and confirmed it was not a sinus infection or strep throat. By this time my coughing was unbearable and my entire throat was swollen. I could not sleep and I stumbled through each day with the pain and fever that never went away.

In May I put my fair aside for my crappy insurance and decided to face whatever financial setbacks were coming my way and went to an ENT specialist. Two hours later I am being told that I more than likely had throat cancer. I sat in the parking lot in shock and cried my eyes out. I kept thinking how far along am I? Will I get better? I had just moved to Dallas with no immediate family around me and so I truly felt so alone and helpless.

The following week it was confirmed at UT Southwestern here in Dallas that it was more than likely throat cancer. After numerous MRIs, CET scans, and PET scans I still had no confirmation. A biopsy on my throat with a needle was still not enough. A week later I find myself in surgery for a throat biopsy but wake up to a 4 inch incision on my throat. My lymph nodes were so badly infected they had to be removed. 12 days I get the call and the answer I knew was coming. I had throat cancer and the tumor was malignant.

It is so hard to describe emotionally what I went through next. I had no clue what stage I was in and no idea of my life was coming to an end. I could not sleep. I had no peace within me. After meeting with my doctor I was told I had a 75% cure rate and that my cancer had no spread. My chemo therapy would last 6 months and would not be a pleasant experience.

Every patient is different I was told. My reaction to his chemo ( I am currently doing 5 different kinds) was unknown to them. It was kind of a learn as you go process. I did not react well to the 1st chemo (reduxtin) but now can receive medication prior to the process and avoid the uncontrollable shaking and nausea. The week after chemo is the hardest. The Neulasta shot I get for preventing infection makes every joint and muscle in my body hurt. These five days are so unbearable and during this time I just want to quit. I cannot imaging doing this 4 more times. It just hurts so much.

I still come to work since I cannot afford not too. The medical bills have stressed me out and the driving to the hospital for chemo treatments, blood work and cleaning of my IV in my upper arm has had a major impact on me financially. So often I need to be home because I don't feel good but how can I? I cannot afford not too and so I come to work and pray to God to give me strengh to do this. The driviing to the hospital and then work and then home usually is about 90 miles and with the cost of gas I just have no choice.

I have since lost my hair. That was hard to accept during the beginning when just a touch of my hand sent my hair flying away. Now I have accepted this new look and actually I kinda like it! This has been a tough time for me. At times I question if I can do this and this usualy happens during the week following my chemo therapy but then I feel better and I get strong again. My family is 9 hours away and so more than often I keep so much away from their ears. I don't and I won't have them worry more than they need too. My elderly parents don't need to worry about me either. I am convinced I will walk away from this. My symptoms disappeared the second day of chemo! When I have the strength I still go the gym. I cannot sit back and let this monster destroy me. It has changed me. I don't see life as I used too. I realize now how quickly it can all be over. Even as I type these words I feel the tears stream down my face. It has been nothing short of hell but I have been told that God does not give you more than you can handle. I will win this battle and come a stronger person but more importantly a better person. That in itself was worth all that I have been through and to be a better person in the end it a good thing. A good thing indeed
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