She had a sore on her tongue that didn't go away. When they removed the tumor it was the size of an egg even though only a tiny bit was visible to the eye. The doctors followed up with the standard roster of surgical procedures. She had a near total glossectomy (tongue removal), neck dissection (cutting the neck open and removing all lymph nodes), forearm flap reconstruction (removing a flap from the forearm to fix where the neck was operated on), skin graft (to fix the arm), feeding tube and tracheotomy. Surgery was November 2013, and she was talking and eating solid foods by Christmas. Doctors were nothing short of amazed. She had 30 radiation treatments and sailed through that with minimal complications- continued taking all nutrition by mouth. (This is virtually unheard of which proves that this young lady was very strong indeed.) Everything was looking good. Then the metastasis to the lungs showed up and nothing they tried worked.
Jonnie passed away at 19. This is why I do what I do. I don't know how to explain it. I'm not sitting here thinking I'll ever make enough of a difference to cure cancer or even raise enough money to pay for someones chemo radiation who can't afford it. But I'm damn sure gonna try. I won't go through the laundry list of maladies, inconveniences and illnesses that I deal with every day because it just doesn't matter. I'm here so I better make good use of this time to the very best of my ability. If for no other reason but to honor, in some small way, those who can't.