Born in 1963 i grew up with my 3 older sisters, my mom and dad living in Edmonton
Met Giselle August 1988
Survived E-coli bacteria 1989
I moved to North Van April 1990
Giselle followed June 1990
Married in 1994 in West Vancouver.
Ray born at St Pauls Hospital in Vancouver Feb 1996
Giselle suffered a Uterine Inversion during childbirth. Terrifying trauma.
Decide to leave the BC coast to move back home April 2000
Ray was 4 and it takes a community to raise a child. Our families both are there so..... :(
Buy house in Sherwood Park in 2000
Found the lump on Jan 15, 2005 while working in Vancouver
Treatment began July 2005
36 rounds of radiation to my jaw along with 3 rounds of sysplatinum radiation
Once I had recovered somewhat they did a surgical procedure called a "radical neck dissection".
That all ended October 2005.
I was back at work after our company Christmas party.
Happiness was shortlived
I was told, after 6 months, that the pain I was experiencing in my neck was neuropathic
That means that a nerve was cut during surgery and there will be no repair for it.
I will live with the pain forever.
We started at the University of Alberta Pain Clinic 2005 and went through every pain med available. Lots of drugs work but most make working impossible.
The other side effects of my cancer have been the following
1. Pain. If I were to describe my pain I would have to say that it is like someone opened my neck up for the surgery but forgot to close me up and I just woke up. I'm not kidding. It feels as though someone is holding me down and drilling into my ear. I also have tinnitus. It is a 8.5/10. I go into my garage to scream and cry at least once a week. I take 10mg of Morphine every 8 hours. I also take Cymbalta for depression, Gabbapentin because my neck has cramps and spasms that make my jaw pull down. Last year I was taking 90mg of morphine 3 times a day. Doing much better now. But the pain is much higher. Less dopey though.
2. Saliva. The radiation cooked my saliva glands. I produce a paste like substance. Not saliva. I drink a ton of water. But, saliva protects our teeth, it helps us swallow by lubricating our throat and mouth and breaks down our food. I have a pretty fluid diet now. Lots of smoothies. Yes, I'm very healthy now other that this stuff.
3. Teeth. Because of the radiation location, my teeth were directly in the line of fire. My saliva dried up and my teeth became brittle and started breaking down. I have only half of the teeth I had last year. I'm lucky here too because I have some teeth and not much bone loss.
4. Swallowing. The surgery not only caused nerve damage that causes my pain. It also caused numbness in the whole area extending down to my throat. But only on the one side. When I swallow, my epiglottis doesn't work quite right. Some fluid squeezes past and down my wind pipe. My lungs have been quite damaged by aspirating fluid and food. Choking is a constant fear. There is no way to fix that either
5. Lungs. I am a very strong tough durable guy. Good Canadian kid. Strong heart, strong lungs. But my lungs are getting battered as I explained above. I suffer pneumonia every year or so I am admitted and put on oxygen until my stats come back up.
I have a friend who married a very financially well off woman. (They are now divorcing) Her father is one of the wealthiest men in the province here. Billionaire.
I was on his Lear Jet in 2007. He looked at my fingernails and said that I was vitamin d deficient. He started a company called xxxxxxx to benefit his employees health.
I began treatment as his guest.
He also suggested that I have all the mercury removed from my teeth and he would pay for everything.
(At the time, my teeth were fine. I had a great dentist but my wife worked for him. They had a fall out so I lost my good dentist. )
So we had all that dental work done by his guy in Calgary. Dr Xxxxx. Apparently about $30k worth of work. Wow. Thanks!!His personal Physician called me and said "Mr Xxxxxx has said that "Money is no object". I didn't need anything at the time so I didn't ask.
Well, all of the crowns failed and rotted from underneath.
What this dentist, Dr Xxxxxx, didn't realize is that doing major work, especially cosmetic work, should not be attempted on a patient like me. The radiation affects the area forever. My blood doesn't flow like yours in that area.
Now, my teeth are all broken, crowns have to be replaced. I had such a bad infection in my face that I was hospitalized just this past summer. They pull out all those back teeth.
When I tried to get help from the guy who suggested all the work, he said he can't support any more charities due to the economic downturn. Now I'm a charity.
So, I haven't been able to keep my business going, pain is an everyday, every hour, minutes.
My wife is frustrated, my son is so sad for me.
I talked to my sister today. She said what no one has.
"Terry, you have a day when you try a new thing and you're good for a week or two, then pain comes, the new thing stops working and I'm back in the hospital. Why don't you just retire early and live in your garage building wooden toys?" Haaaaaaaa
All my retirement savings are gone.
I've worked my butt off all my life.
I have a home, wife, 19 year old son but I am struggling with this terrifying pain every day. Day after day.
I am dreading to go to sleep because when I wake up in the morning, the pain stabs you in the side of the face like a glass of ice cold water.
I don't know if I can go on with my career.
My brain doesn't let me think like I used to.
I ran the electronics security for Paladin Security for 5 years and was helping to build that company to where they are now. I had a huge part in that.
They treated me very well but I was becoming less and less able to help the company move forward. So in December of 2013, they gave me a severance and let me go.
I was very sick later that year and unable to work.
The severance was quick to go.
Without an income, money seems to fly out the window.
It would seem that, I'd be good to go and then 2 weeks later, I'm sick at home again.
Constant pain is maddening, it causes you to not be able to focus at all for extended periods of time. This message has been sitting in my "notes" for a week now while I pick at it.
I'm at the point where I want to just leave my wife and kid here and just take off and hobo until I'm done. At least then, my family doesn't have to suffer along with me.
Maybe I could go on the lecture circuit.
I am a great living walking talking reason to quit smoking!!!!