Campaign finished. Thank you everybody. Our campaign is now over.
Help Ray & Family with his Cancer Treatment
$280 Raised
6% of $5k goal
5 contributors
0 days left
Ended Apr 27, 2014
For the next 2 months plus, Ray will be undergoing chemo and radiation treatment. He'll be unable to work during this time. Ray & Cherice have 1 son and another on the way. It is a difficult situation from every aspect. More ...

For the next 2 months plus, Ray will be undergoing chemo and radiation treatment. He'll be unable to work during this time. Ray & Cherice have 1 son and another on the way. It is a difficult situation from every aspect, but financially, very hard.

Ray & Cherice were by my side nearly every day of my husband's 3 month hospitalization. I had Workers Comp. to cover my financial bases, Ray & Cherice helped me cover all the others. It's time to Pay it Forward.

Mar. 18, 2014 - What a way to spends the day — with Cherice Heilesen at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Ray receiving chemo.
From the beginning (from Ray's FB updates):

Feb. 14, 2014 - The news came in at 10:12 this morning. Positive for squamous 8 cell carcinoma (cancer in my tonsil) and positive for human papilloma virus. Chemo in my future.

Mar. 10, 2014 - 1st day of appointments in preparation for chemo/radiation therapy — with Cherice Heilesen at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

  -  SoOoo, this morning's first appointment is actually the 2nd of 10 prep appointments. I spaced off the chemo prep specific dental exam I received on Tuesday of last week. Really, today is 2nd day of prep appointments. Left home at 7 something this morning and braved Southbound I-15 traffic. There was a wreck in Centerville and people have to make sure that it's not anybody from the "ward"... Gotta do 5 miles an hour and get a real close look...y'know, might want to send over a casserole or something. Of course, it was minor damage to all vehicles on scene and none of the lanes were obstructed. The wife and I had left in plenty of time, so, no biggie. Got to the Huntsman Cancer Institute checked in. Didn't have to wait long at all. My wife was asked to stay in the main waiting and I was escorted to another waiting room that had changing rooms connected. Put on a gown as instructed (YAY, partial NUDITY) and posted this original post. Then, asked to follow to the room with a CT scan machine in it. Laid on my back on the CT machine table and the folks in radiology went to work. They made a head rest that specifically fits my bald noggin, and then inserted an upper and lower mouth guard in my mouth that was warm and conformed to my bite as it cooled. Then, draped a wet and warm sheet of mask material over my face and head and began molding and shaping it to my chin and nose and cheeks. I had no idea what the material looked like, they had me keep my eyes closed the whole time the mask was cooling and drying. I got a good look at the mask later. They then gave me a quick scan, and 3 tattoos to accurately align me with the machine each time for treatment in coming weeks. I'm just gonna tell everyone that I got tattoos 'cause they make ya tough:-) When that was done, I changed back into my street clothes and my wife and I went and did a little shopping 'cause we had some time to kill before my other appointment today. When we got back to the Huntsman, we went up to the 3rd floor and checked in for my PET scan. Again, my wife stayed in the main waiting and I was shuffled to a room with a recliner. The nurse explained to me that the stuff she was injecting via my previously placed IV would need an hour and 15 minutes to circulate my system, and I was to do nothing during that time. HOLY BORING! I then had to change into some hospital sweat pants (more NUDITY) and go into the room with the PET machine in it. Laid down on table of that machine and spent 25 to 30 minutes coasting in and out of it. I was then asked to get up and wait a few minutes while they switched out the table from the concave and cushy one to a hard flat one. The mouth guard and mask were then presented and my head was strapped down, tattoos aligned, contrast administered via IV, and I coasted for another 15 minutes in and out of that machine. Left Salt Lake at about 14:30 and went and picked up our son from school. Got a quick bite to eat at home, changed into work clothes, and headed in to pick up some missing hours at the ol' day job. Left work at 21:30 gotta be back there at 05:30 and leave by 11:00 to be back at Huntsman at 13:00 tomorrow for a couple more:-)

Mar. 11, 2014 - Things went very well at both my appointments today. The first was a speech evaluation, which didn't involve any evaluation of my speech at all. The gal talked, and I talked. She gave me some exercises to do with my mouth, because I will be getting some sores and my tongue will suffer some consequences. There will be nasty thick mucus and not enough saliva to go around. She re-interated that this will SUCK, and that "yes, I will have a feeding tube", but it is a LAST RESORT. I must eat and drink. I must eat and drink. I must eat and drink.

Mar. 11, 2014 - My 2nd appointment was a meet and greet with my oncologist. He will be administering the chemo. He went over the 2 types of chemo that I am gambling to get. The reason I say gambling is; I have agreed to participate in a clinical trial that is very specific to the type of cancer that I have been diagnosed with. I may receive the clinical chemo, I may receive the regular tried and true regimen chemo. I will be randomized by an outside source and be put into group 1 or 2 accordingly and be treated according to that group's regimen. 
That was today. 
3 more appointments tomorrow.

Mar. 14, 2014 - Wednesday was alright, but yesterday sucked.
Eye test and peepers are fine. Then hearing evaluation. My hearing suffered some high frequency range loss years ago and I've been very protective of my hearing ever since that diagnosis. So, hearing hasn't changed and my eardrums are healthy. 
The last of 3 appointments was with a nutritionist. She gave me guidelines for caloric intake. She touched again on the importance of the mouth exercises that the speech therapist assigned me to do throughout this ordeal. And, she spoke in depth about the role that the tummy tube will play. As soon as my wife and I returned from Salt Lake, I changed clothes and headed into work to pick up as many hours as I could that evening. 

Thursday morning began with no breakfast because of the procedure coming up in the afternoon. Clocked in at work a couple of minutes before 6 a.m. and clocked out (had to get home and shower, meet up with my wife, and head into Salt Lake) at quarter after 10. As I left work, I remembered that I had been asked to stop by a metal building project. Spent about a half hour there discussing the assembly of the skeletal steel. Headed home and quickly got cleaned up and out the door again. Checked in at radiology on the 3rd floor of Huntsman Cancer Institute (about 30 minutes sooner than we had to) just before noon. We were told that things were running a little behind but, the nurse took us back to get me prepped anyway. I got changed into the hospital sweat pants and gown and then got the rundown on the upcoming feeding tube placement. A procedure ahead of mine got postponed, so in I went. The drugs that the nurse administered did not put me out, which is exactly the way I like it. The team talked to me the whole time. The nurse mentioned that she had only given me the least amount of drugs to get me through. "I'm good with that." I said. They had me scoot over onto the bed to take me back to be with my wife where I had changed clothes. As the procedure drugs wore off, the nurse stopped by and sat me up a little. I got light-headed, so they adjusted the bed with my whole body flat and the bed at an angle that put my head below my heart. This went on for a couple of hours. NOT A GOOD TIME! Each time I felt good enough to be sat up a little, the pain at the surgical site intensified, the light-headedness returned and we'd start over. During all this sit up, lie down business, the nurse gave me tons of IV fluids, and she made a few phone calls. Another thing that happened was, as the pain intensified and I got light-headed, my heart rate dropped. This happened I think 3 times. The heart rate deal was why the nurse gave me fluids and made phone calls. A doctor came and talked to me about the recovery goings on, and determined the level of pain was likely causing the heart rate thing. Finally, I was given a low dose of pain killer, it kicked in and I was able to get up without feeling faint and hit the "head". I guess walking to and from a bathroom break is a good sign, so, a prescription got called in and discharge papers signed. The wife and I stopped by the pharmacy we use near our home, and I spent the night watching tv and snoozing off and on in one of our couch's recliners. Thursday sucked.
I'm off from work until Monday thank goodness.

Mar. 18, 2014 - Here's an update; 
Spent the weekend healing from being "stabbed". Just dealing with tolerable pains at the surgical site now. 
Yesterday, my wife and I headed up to Huntsman Cancer Institute for my VSIM. A virtual simulation of a radiation treatment. Folks in Radiation/Oncology ran me through a "dry run". Mouth guard in, mask on, head locked into position with mask, and tattoos aligned. My 2 jobs while they do their thing? "Breathe normally, and remain still."
I learned that I will be receiving the regular regimen of chemo and radiation. A big dose of chemo on day 1... That's today. 6 radiation treatments per 5 weekdays (this week is 6 treatments in 4 weekdays) for 6 weeks to total 36 treatments, with a 2nd big dose of chemo on day 22 of the 6 weeks. That's it. The next 2 plus months will be tough.

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