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Tom Garrett - Tonsillar Cancer

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  • My name is Tom. I'm the lead singer for the international recording group The Classics IV and this is my story. Just over two years ago March 30, 2016, I was diagnosed with Tonsillar Cancer. Initially I was told that the only course of treatment was surgery to remove the tumors followed by chemo therapy, that I might lose my ability to eat without a feeding tube, might lose my ability to speak properly and of course might no longer be able to perform. I was faced with a multitude of decisions that could change my life as I had known it since I was 15 years old.

    We scheduled the surgery and headed home. After returning home it took a couple of days to try and come to terms with the future. I sat down at my computer and googled "Non-Surgical Treatment for Tonsillar Cancer" the first item that came up was proton treatment. I had never heard of Proton Treatment let alone that I might ever need it. I read everything I could find about it, what really excited me was that it could provide treatment without damaging the surrounding tissue. That google search started the journey of a lifetime.

    My final treatment was on July 23, 2016, six weeks and three days later I was on stage in Las Vegas in front of over 3,500 people and I sang! Today I sit here cancer free! In the world of cancer there are many different forms of treatment for various forms of the disease and proton may not work for everyone. In fact I was told by one doctor at a highly regarded hospital that proton was the wrong treatment plan for me. That opinion turned out to be WRONG.

    The moral of this now not so short story: it's your life get a second opinion before you choose your path to recovery, not every doctor knows everything. Proton not only saved my life but who I am. So, I'm still performing thanks to an amazing caring staff, from the front desk to the nurses, technicians and doctors, especially Dr. John Han-Chih Chang. People really do make the difference.

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