Benefit planned to aid cancer patient
If having a sense of humor could prevent cancer, the last 12 months would have been quite different for Scott Neudecker, 46, of New Richmond.
A year ago Neudecker noticed a small sore on the bottom back part of his tongue.
He said at first the sore just felt like a bad canker sore, but when the sore didn't go away and got increasingly more painful, Scott knew something wasn't right.
He went to the doctor and was told the sore was "probably nothing." The doctor gave him ointment to apply to the sore. A couple weeks went by and the black and purple hole-like sore continued to irritate Neudecker.
Neudecker visited a mouth and throat specialist for a biopsy of the sore. On Feb. 22, 2010 Neudecker received the news ... the sore was cancerous. Neudecker had Squamous-cell carcinoma.
After meeting with multiple doctors and having numerous scans, the doctors believed the cancer was only in Neudecker's tongue. A doctor at the Fairview Hospital at the University of Minnesota suggested Neudecker avoid radiation and undergo a procedure to cut out a portion of his tongue and some lymph nodes in his throat.
At the time the less invasive option seemed like the best choice, Neudecker said. He said he still wonders if he made the right decision.
Since the tumor was "growing like crazy," Neudecker said the doctors wanted to operate as soon as possible. The first surgery was March 10, 2010.
Neudecker said during the eight-hour surgery, half of his tongue was removed.
With the extensive surgery came the risk of Neudecker losing his ability to talk. Neudecker considers himself "a talker," so waking up unable to talk was especially difficult for him.
Although he did not permanently lose his ability to talk (thanks to speech therapy), for an entire month Neudecker depended on a white board to communicate.
The next months, Neudecker described as a rollercoaster.
The last 12 months have been physically and emotionally draining for Neudecker, and he is hoping things go "back to normal" in 2011.
"I just want my life back," he said.
The avid outdoorsman wasn't able to hunt or snowmobile this winter, but he's hoping to get his weight and strength back this spring so he can ride his motorcycle around town.
Regardless of how healthy or optimistic Neudecker is, there is no way to avoid the stacks of medical bills piling up.
Luckily, Neudecker has an "amazing support system."
Family, friends and co-workers have supported Neudecker through his emotional and physical rollercoaster the last 12 months. Now those same people want to support him financially by holding an event in his honor.
There is a benefit planned for Neudecker on Feb. 19, at JJ's Sports Bar, in Hammond. Doors open at 3 p.m. and a spaghetti dinner and musical entertainment go from 4-7 p.m.
Funds raised at the event will be used to help pay for Neudecker's medical bills. Contact Alyssa at 651-308-0161 or Jenny at 651-431-0156 to purchase a $10 spaghetti dinner ticket or to make a donation for the auction or raffle.
If you are unable to attend the benefit, but would still like to donate, a fund for Neudecker has been set up at WESTconsin Credit Union, P.O. Box 269, New Richmond, WI 54017, FBO Scott Neudecker.
For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.