John Donald

First post: Jan 4, 2021 Latest post: Jan 11, 2021
Welcome to our CaringBridge website for John. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Many of you know John’s long, arduous battle with cancer. It started in 2005 with an aggressive cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, in his face and neck. As quickly as surgeries were performed to remove tumors, new tumors appeared.  John received an extremely aggressive treatment of radiation - totaling over 800 “shots” to the face and neck area. When tumors still formed an elaborate surgery, known as The Radical,  became the last hope in stopping the aggressive cancer in what was a “Hail Mary” surgery.  After 17 hours, the surgery was completed and John’s body was rearranged (shin bone became his new jaw), reconfigured (pectoral muscle was now his new neck), and reconstructed (many patches of skin were removed from various parts of his body to fill in cancer affected areas). But he was cancer free. He had occasional tumors pop up which were quickly removed, but overall, miraculously, the surgery worked. 
A few years ago John had another bout with cancer. This time, it was melanoma. His nose was basically removed and then reconstructed with tissue and flesh from his forehead and other areas. 
Around this time, John’s teeth started breaking and falling out. He aspirated and choked whenever he ate. 
He finally learned that he was experiencing long-term effects from ALL of the radiation he had received. 
It’s a bitter pill to swallow. His life, no doubt, was prolonged by the surgeries and treatments he received; however, his body would now start to slowly deteriorate from the inside. 
Today, John is nearing the end of his earthly journey. His throat has deteriorated so much that there is no flap to close off the trachea from the esophagus. His brain is rapidly deteriorating from the radiation and treatment-induced dementia is prevalent. He has a feeding tube but has lost interest in eating. He weighs 90 pounds and his body is tired. 
He still has a spark of orneriness that you can see in his eyes if you look close enough. But we realize our days are numbered. 
We would like to communicate through this site any updates and daily news to let you know what is happening.  We don’t know if we have weeks or days but we know this time will be difficult and emotional. We want to honor John as best we can, and we want to do our best to convey how blessed we are to call this man ‘dad’. 

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