Shaun’s Battle with Testicular Cancer

Campaign Created by: Shaun Paramore

The funds from this campaign will be received by Shaun Paramore.

Goal: USD $10,000
Raised: USD $ 6,938

The morning of June 30, 2023 I detected my right testicle had swollen slightly. Enough that I noticed a difference from one day to the next. Not having insurance at the time due to lack of hours maintained through my union and quickly turned to any means possible to get an exam.

July 1, 2023 I visited a Planned Parenthood hoping to be seen. They set me up an appointment for that Monday July 3, 2023. At the appointment the doctor did a physical exam ruling out possible tumor markers and thought maybe hydrocele due to injury but strongly urged me to get an ultrasound. 

Being that I still did not have insurance I strongly thought about taking the diagnosis and letting time tell me whether or not to be worried. My finances have been extremely strained since Covid began. Work has been slow and shows little signs of recovering so sadly every decision now is made from a place of survival week to week.

After thinking on it for the day I decided to find an ultrasound clinic and pay out of pocket. It nearly broke what little money I had to do this but I needed the piece of mind. I got the ultrasound done on Friday July, 2023. 

The next morning the initial doctor at planned parenthood called me saying they had sent her the results as I directed. She told me the results found a solid mass consistent with that of a tumor. She urged me to find a Urologist as soon as possible. Remembering I did not have coverage currently, she tried to point me into a direction where I could receive some help. Little in means she did her best.

That next Monday July 10, 2023 while at work, I tried making calls both to my union and to medi-cal asking for help. I didn’t make enough hours (125 hours) a month to have my benefits as a union member and I made too much income to qualify for Medi-cal. Desperate to get help I tried to activate my cobra through my union benefits ($1299 monthly) just to get to a urologist. I was told by a representative that I’d have to pay for every back month I haven’t qualified for benefits. All together it was over $14,000 dollars just be get benefits for the month of July. Then it would be $1299 every additional month after that. 

Like I said, my industry like many others hasn’t recovered from those years of Covid. I have lost over 50% of my annual income which translates to not working enough hours to have my health coverage activated on top the financial struggles from less income. A double edged sword as it were.

Breaking down at work that day, I did not know what to do. Who to call. Who could help. I just knew I needed to figure this out. I called my boss asking if I could be relieved from my duties that day so I could concentrate on making phone calls. Thoughts crossed my mind like sitting at county medical until I was seen by who I needed. It could be days if at all but at least I might be seen.

As my boss picked me up from my work site he knew something was seriously wrong. He said he could see it in my face. While he respected my privacy he also let it be known that he cared and maybe there was something he could do to help. I told him everything and how at every turn it seemed like I had no help or support and didn’t know where to turn to help me figure this out. 

Himself and his wife decided to take action and help me find an insurance plan I could pay for out of pocket. Trying to get enrolled mid month was extremely challenging and ultimately did not happen. I was forced to wait until August 1, 2023 to receive my private insurance. So I was left to wonder.

It felt like living with a time bomb inside you with unknown destructive power. A terrible feeling that when unknown can make you fall into the depths of one’s imagination. 

I tried to be proactive by contacting Urologist in the area. None of which would talk to me until I’d commit to cash appointments, which I did not have or provide insurance which I didn’t not have proof of yet. When scrolling through Hoag in Newport Beach’s staff I saw one doctor whose face made me smile. That’s all it took. I reached out to his office and his administrative manager heard my story and where I was currently sitting and told me he was an extremely busy and sought after surgeon but dedicated to helping. She said send over my ultrasound findings and she would convince the doctor to have a look. She called me back 10min later saying he was in surgery the rest of the day but confirmed he had them, would look at them before leaving for the day or while at home and they would have a decision whether to take me as a patient the next morning. 

The next morning, she called me back saying the doctor overlooked everything that evening at home and wanted me to come in for an exam ASAP and he would be taking me as a patient. During this time I was still waiting for insurance to activate. I didn’t know whether to be grateful I had such an organized doctor and staff in my corner or terrified that he wanted to see me so quickly. As of July 12, 2023 I had a doctor in my corner but still no insurance.

The next two weeks I wrestled with every feeling imaginable. Impatience. Wanting to never know. Debating whether to tell my loved ones and friends where things were at. Admitting that I was struggling with depression and contemplating not speaking with anyone about this life changing event.

July 31, 2023 my 39th birthday. I received what felt like the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten. My insurance ID a day early. I immediately called my doctors office looking for an appointment. They were able to squeeze me in at the end of the day for August 1, 2023. 

Meeting my doctor for the first time was like a light shined down on me. He physically examined me and had an ultrasound tech on standby incase he felt something that didn’t match up with the finding I provided nearly a month earlier. The next half an hour him, sister and I spoke about possibilities, treatments and what course of action he’d want to take next and what course of action I’d be willing to take. I put myself in his hands. He was confident we were catching this cancer at the starting line. He was grateful to me for moving as fast as I did and fighting hard right out of the gate to get to him. He said we would best this. Together. 

Next steps were blood work and x rays for staging. August 2, 2023 I did blood work. August 3, 2023, did chest x rays. 

The rest of that week was agonizing because the doctor had said blood work would tell us initially what we could be looking at as far as course of treatment. 

That Friday, August 4, 2023 I woke up to an email from my doctor from his personal email saying he had a full day of surgery ahead of him but he wanted to let me know that my blood work came back clean and consistent with testicular seminoma, which means most likely contained in its early stages of growth. He said they would be moving some things around to get me into surgery ASAP. He also said as soon as he got chest x rays back he’d be reaching out but that with the blood being clean he was pretty positive the chest x rays would show the same. Later that same day I was called by his RN saying that Thursday morning August 10, 2023 was reserved for surgery. 

With surgery booked and the diagnosis fairly certain it was time to tell most of my family and friends who didn’t already know. A had a birthday dinner Saturday August 5, 2023. With many friends there that didn’t know any of this had happened I struggled between ruining the night by catching everyone up or just enjoying what I romanticized as what could be my last birthday dinner. I decided to just enjoy the night with my family and friends. I spend the whole next day telling everyone what I had been going through and what was to come. 

Telling everyone was very hard to do because lots wondered why I had waited so long and many were now forced to catch up to my level of optimism very quickly. Coaching everyone conversations through the dark thoughts I’d had while feeling alone in this to finally feeling in good hands with my doctor and his team was a journey with every personal I called and spoke with. 

It’s a process I will never forget. 

August 10, 2023 the morning of surgery. Arrival time 0530 I had a whole team beside me. My mother, sister, girlfriend, father, aunt, one of my best friends (whom we had just lost a friend months back and helped each other through the loss). The nurse was shocked at how many people showed up so early just to hug me and tell me how much I mean to them and how they will be waiting for me on the other side of this.

Laying in the hospital bed during prep listening the a surgery playlist and talking to nurses and singing songs to them from my playlist, I received over 40 text messages from co workers, bosses, friends, family telling me they were with me. I remember asking the nurse if I was a bad person because I didn’t like my playlist getting interrupted. We both had a good laugh. She said she suspected I’d be her fondest patient that day. I appreciated her smile and jokes and continuously asking how I was doing. 

She asked about my tattoos and the music I was listening to. I told her I was a career musician for nearly half my life and that music had saved my life and taken me all over the world and that I was listening to the songs that had meant the most to me throughout it all.

Split my final moments before they took with my mother, sister and girlfriend. The last loved ones I may ever see were my mother and sister. They raised me and did a fantastic job at that. I may not be the perfect man, but I am always trying to be better than the day before. 

Once in the operating room, all the nurses introduced themselves and said I was going to be just fine. My doctor came over before the anesthesiologist and said “Are you ready? We got this.” I replied “We do.” They all talked me to sleep. 

I’m awake. I have survived. 

Now I’m in recovery awaiting the next steps and the bills are piling up. I wish I didn’t need it but I am hoping for a little help. Thank you. ❤️

UPDATES

Update #4
December 30, 2023
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Good evening to whoever reads this update. It’s been a while and a few really great things have happened and one not so great thing. 

First, I am still in good health as of today with a CT Scan scheduled for March. My doctor tells me there’s a 20% chance of finding something but he thinks the scan will come back completely clean again. As time goes on the chances of something returning fades so the first couple years are extremely important I stay on schedule. 

I have downgraded my self funded health insurance to something I can hopefully sustain by myself over this 5 year period. Thank you to my contact at Covered CA for finding something that will hopefully work for me long term assuming I stay in good health. It is so expensive to have decent coverage.

Speaking of coverage, I received the judgement letter back from LINECO today concerning my appeal for the access to benefits they denied me during the early days of the sickness. In the appeal I was instructed to give a detailed outline of what my interaction was, what my health concern was and why I believe I should be granted my benefits. WHY I SHOULD BE GRANTED MY BENEFITS!?

It was a very detailed letter and story, to the point where I teared up writing it, reliving those early hopeless days being turned away by my unions benefits office. While writing and reading it back I thought, “there’s no way anyone could possibly deny me this after reading everything I had gone through.”

Well, I was wrong. I was denied. Again. This time by a “board of trustees” and other officials whose job it is to keep the integrity of our fund in tact. I say our fund because I pay into it yet was denied due to not maintaining 125 hours worked every month due to the work being crippled and slow since Covid.

I asked for my weekly income disability payments I was owed and I asked for the board to reconsider the criteria set in place for us to be granted benefits in times of need, so that nobody else has to go through this again. Apparently neither were worth a second thought to them. “Times sound tough for this guy, let’s make them tougher by not supporting our member when he needs it most.” Sounds about right. This has me heavily considering leaving the union I’m apart of. What’s the point anymore?

In better news, I was honored on the field at the Los Angeles Rams game recently for cancer awareness month and my recent fight and victory. Joining me on the field was my mother (also a survivor) and fellow Rams super fan and friend Enrique. It was truly a wonderful experience that I’ll remember forever. Not even fully healed from surgery and Rams legends are taking my picture down on the field during half time in front of 60,000 football fans. I’m extremely grateful and humble to share that experience with fellow survivors and supporters and I’m extremely thankful for the Rams front office for setting that up and featuring my photo on the rams website and emails recapping that game.

I’ll include the photo in the post.

All in all I have many things and people to be grateful for. I wish this appeal would have went my way. I wish LINECO would have done what was right. I needed that back disability to pay personal bills that accumulated during the recovery and also to help pay for my insurance plan going forward for the next 5 years.

Maybe this page will find new eyes and regain some life as the goal has not yet been reached. If not, I am still thankful to everyone who contributed. It really did help lighten the load. I love you all.

Raise your glasses in hopes of a better year for everyone.

loveShaun 💜


Update #3
September 19, 2023
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Today at my post op appointment I received the news that I am officially Stage One and am entering observation going forward!!!

This means the CT scan and blood work showed no traces or indications of cancer at this time. I should not need radiation or chemo based on these findings. My Doctor and I will become best friends in the coming years, which is fine with me because he’s been an angel on my shoulder. He radiates positivity which is only second to his surgical and organization skills. 

Together we will keep a close eye on blood level markers and periodic test results for the next 4-5 years to stay on top of any changes in my health. 

Cancer is always cruel and sometimes it doesn’t let you off easy. It hides and festers in the dark while we are unknowing. 

I feel I’ve escaped rather easily compared to those that have battled longer and harder to get away from this. Also, my heart has broke so many times in the last few months listening and reliving my friends and loved ones stories of those who fought until they couldn’t anymore. 

Even with the financial hardships this has spawned, I am extremely fortunate to be here today to share the most positive news I have ever received in my life.

I’m aware THIS fight has been won but another is never far away now. 

So my doctor and his team and me and mine will stay ready and vigilant if it should return. This donation page and its goal helps me accomplish that.

I couldn’t have stayed strong and pushed through this without every one of you. I have been forever humbled and eternally blessed to have so many donate so far, repost and pin this page on their socials, say kind words about me and to me, reach out to me and stay in the corner beside me as I face this. I know it’s not easy. I love you all.

Happy birthday to one of my brothers. I love and appreciate you very much. This has been very hard for you seeing me go through this considering all it has taken from you in the past. You’ve stood strong and had me through it all. I hope this news makes your birthday today that much better. I’m not going anywhere!!!

I included a picture with this update of a gift basket I put together for my Doctor and his hard working staff. They deserve so much for the amazing work they selflessly do for all their patients. They really give it their everything all day, everyday day and deserve to be recognized and appreciated for it.

As you can see in the picture, I’m in good spirits while still recovering from the surgery. Things are getting better everyday thankfully. It feels like the worst of the recovery is behind me.

With all this down time for recovery, I’ve been working on music slowly but surely. It’s like air I need to breathe, the passion of my life I can never leave behind. There may be no more crowds to woo or career to chase but I love the art and that’s more than enough for me. As long as I’m able to create, I will. 

I’m working on a special cover song that will be dedicated to everyone who’s carried this page all this way. Hopefully it’s ready to release for everyone to enjoy or make fun of before we hit the goal. 

I love you all. 💜


loveShaun

Update #2
September 14, 2023
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After much confusion and waiting on insurance for authorizations, today I am having my CT Scan of my lower abdomen and surrounding areas. 

If all goes as my medical team and I suspect and hope, this will serve as the final test in the staging and clearance post operation. 

If clear, I will enter the observation period for the next 4-5 years to make sure the cancer does not return to the surrounding areas. If something is found to remain, my team will advise forward steps to combat what is found.

It has been a very emotional and wild couple of months. Recovery was a lot tougher than I thought it was. I’ve had to take more time off work than originally hoped but it’s important that I recover properly and completely with something like this. 

Still, I remain humbled and grateful. Not just for the gift of life and that my medical team acted so quickly but for all the family, friends and loved ones that have stayed in close contact, offering and helping anyway they could every step of the way. 

I am constantly overwhelmed by the support I have received from everyone. It’s been a lot to take in and I just want you all to know how much love and appreciation have everyday to not have to face this alone. I couldn’t have handled this without you. 💜


loveShaun

Update #1
August 25, 2023
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I was feeling extremely low today when I got the news from my union that they weren’t approving my request for weekly disability income. This is a fund I pay into as a union member but due to not maintaining enough hours because work is slow (125 per month) I am not eligible. The same issue that brought me to have to buy my own insurance in order to see the proper doctors and get the help I desperately needed. 

Apparently I can appeal this decision which I plan on doing, but it won’t be read and considered until December when the board of trustees meets next. I will appeal if not for myself for anyone of our union workers who come after me with a similar path that gets caught in the cracks that shouldn’t be.

With this crippling news I was feeling extremely sad and alone not knowing how to handle the weight going forward. As a man, I usually pride myself on being the person who can help and be of service to those in need especially loved ones. It’s been hard to create this and have to ask for help.

Thankfully, tonight donations started to come in and my beloved friends and family are trying to get the word out. 

I am overwhelmed by everyone’s willingness to help me during this time of need. It will never be forgotten. ❤️


loveShaun

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