“My doctor diagnosed stage 3 esophageal cancer and laid out a treatment plan which included chemotherapy, radiation and a surgical procedure to raise my stomach and fabricate a new esophagus.”
Our family joined CHM in November 2015 at the Gold level, adding the Brother’s Keeper program for catastrophic medical bills. Friends recommended the ministry. They had great experiences with CHM members sharing their medical bills, and testified of how well it fit into their budget.
I experienced difficulty swallowing in January 2018, and I thought there was simply an esophageal stricture that would need an operation. I underwent an endoscopic ultrasound that revealed a two-inch tumor at the juncture of my esophagus and stomach. The tumor perforated my esophagus and invaded the surrounding organs.
My doctor diagnosed stage 3 esophageal cancer and laid out a treatment plan which included chemotherapy, radiation and a surgical procedure to raise my stomach and fabricate a new esophagus.
During the same appointment, my doctor discovered an enlarged node under my left clavicle. With the addition of a palpable lymph node, my diagnosis was increased to stage 4 cancer with no possibility of surgery or radiation.
Shock and disbelief overtook me. I was an avid runner, athlete and four-time Boston marathon participant—and had no history of health issues. Nevertheless, I’d been handed a difficult diagnosis.
Chemotherapy was the only treatment option left open. After one month on the harshest chemo treatment, I decided to stop the higher dosage and do a low, daily dose because of the severe side effects.
During this time, my wife, Theresa, reached out to CHM because she was concerned about the treatment’s high cost. My monthly chemotherapy treatments alone were $52,000, and the high costs weighed heavy on our hearts.
When Theresa spoke with a CHM representative about the costs, relief swept over her—the reassuring staff member focused on being soothing and informative, answered her questions, and walked her through detailed instruction on how to navigate handling bills as self-pay patients. The CHM representative even asked if we wanted to be added to the CHM prayer list.
After we were added to CHM’s prayer list, fellow members sent letters of support, prayer and love. I want every CHM member who sent a letter to know that their support carried us through an incredibly difficult time in our lives—I cried tears of thankfulness over each one we received.
My family and I spent significant time in prayer. We believed that along with the chemotherapy, prayer was an important part of my cancer treatment—and it was. Three months into treatment, CAT scans showed my tumors were shrinking; we gave God the glory for my astonishing healing.
Just one year later, God gave me my life back. CAT scans showed that the esophageal tumor was completely gone, and a further PET scan confirmed no evidence of any cancer. I’ve now been cancer free for two years—praise Jesus!
The process of setting up a payment plan and negotiating discounts with healthcare providers was easier than we expected. With the help of CHM’s Member Advocate team, we negotiated nearly $330,000 in discounts on my cancer treatment bills.
CHM members shared the rest of the costs—over $220,000. We felt such peace when we received our sharing checks in the mail; CHM is true to its word by sharing eligible medical expenses.
According to the American Cancer Society, the probability of me surviving over five years after my cancer diagnosis was 19 percent. Through God’s miraculous healing and through CHM members helping carry my burdens, I learned to lay all of my burdens at the foot of the cross.