Annalisa Tempesta wrote -
Team BenAnnas has been organized for those that want to support two great fighters- Ben Goodhue and Annalisa Tempesta. While both stories are unique, Ben and Annalisa's share strength and determinaton. Ben and Annalisa are lucky to share many mutual people in their lives that have supported and inspired them in their battles!
As the holiday season of 2016 came and went, Ben and Sarah were excited to share the news of their expanding family. No sooner did they share this news that their world come to a screeching halt when the horrific headaches Ben was experiencing revealed itself to be brain cancer in its worst form; glioblastoma. Ben underwent an immediate craniotomy followed by 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy followed by 12 more rounds ( one year) of chemo. As further testing was done on Ben's tumor, we were told that he didn't have glioblastoma, rather a grade 3 form of brain cancer. A positive shift in diagnosis although still a very serious form of cancer.
Ben amazed us all as he returned to work following his radiation treatments and coached a Spring sport that same year. The birth of their daughter Maggie came in June and then Ben geared up for another school year coupled with coaching football. Not long after returning to both of these, Ben suffered a stroke. He continued to amaze us as he bounced back with seemingly no effect from the stroke. At this time Ben cut back a little bit from football and eased himself into the winter months.
Ben and Sarah continued to travel into Boston for regular MRIs, checkups and monthly week-long chemo treatments. Flash forward to the month of March and Ben is finishing his last chemo treatment. All scans up until this point have been clear with only a select few showing some scar tissue. Here on out we continue to pray that Ben will be cancer-free.
In later December 2017, Annalisa went to urgent care for a sinus infection. While at the doctor's, she asked him to look at what she thought was a canker sore on the right side of her tongue. When she showed the doctor the sore, he told Annalisa she had to have a biopsy done as soon as possible as it could be cancer. On January 2nd, 2018, Annalisa had four pieces of her tongue tested, and was told that it was most likely a traumatic ulcer, given her age and that she is a non-tobacco user.
To even the doctor's surprise, Annalisa was diagnosed with infiltrating keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, a form of head and neck cancer, on January 9, 2018. On January 22nd, Annalisa underwent surgery to remove 4.5 mm from her tongue, blood vessels and nerves from the surrounding area, and about 30 lymphnodes from the right side of her head and neck to reduce the chance of spreading. While surgery was a success, futher testing has showed that cancer has spread into the blood vessels and nerves. At this time, Annalisa and her medical team have chosen to monitor the growth of the cancer and postpone radiation due to the severe and permananet side effects experienced with radiation of the mouth.
Although a level of uncertainy remains, Annalisa and her support system remain positive that she will eventually be able to say that she is cancer free. For now, she continues to heal from surgery.
Ben and Annalisa have been inspired to come together for the North Shore Cancer Walk to help all those that have been impacted by this disease. All proceeds from the walk will benefit oncology services at North Shore Medical Center and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center, where Annalisa currently recieves her services.
Thank you for supporting Ben, Annalisa and such a great cause!