“A long way to go”: after the operation, Loyalsock teacher waits to see how she will recover from cancer | News, sports, jobs


What seemed like a normal day in December ended with Camilo Lopez-Medina and his husband Justin Lopez-Medina in the hospital after Camilo had a violent seizure.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was only 29 years old.

“He just dozed off and the next thing I checked was and he packed up.” said Justin. “It was really scary because I didn’t know what was going to happen”.

The two rushed to the local emergency room for tests and a 3-centimeter mass was found in his frontal lobe, which was then removed, showing a rare form of brain cancer.

“It was inferior and slowly growing”, said Camilo. “You’re not even sure how long I had it.”

He added that the local surgeons were able to remove much of the mass, but are now seeing a neuro-oncologist in Rochester, New York to do regular MRIs to see if the cancer is growing and the brain is healing properly. Both said doctors don’t want to do radiation because it could have permanent cognitive problems.

As of Tuesday, February 2, doctors will assume there is one tumor left and plan to remove the remainder of the tumor.

“It will be a long way to deal with it” said Camilo.

“If that had happened three years ago, we would have been in such a dire financial situation.”

Even so, the two of them have a gofundme that will help them pay for hospital and living expenses during the operation, which can be found at gf.me/u/zfb4ca.

The two worked together, researched and launched their own Instagram page “The Budget Boys” describe their experience paying off $ 135,000 of their student loan debt by working on multiple jobs.

Camilo and Justin taught English to children in China in the mornings before their other jobs, and then went about their daily work. Camilo was an accountant at the time and Justin remained an assistant professor in the criminal justice department at Lycoming College.

The two of them document their different experiences online and hope to continue their journey to set and achieve goals such as paying off their mortgage and saving for adoption and Camilo’s cancer journey.

“It was hard and it’s still hard … We didn’t know the severity or extent of his cancer and we still don’t know.” Justin added. “I learned things (about cancer) with Camilo and had to deal with them. It has created a new normal that focuses on making sure that he is fine and that he is being cared for. “

Because of the newer MRIs and scans, the two are still left “cautiously optimistic” and excited that Camilo will be back with his students after a long two month hiatus to recover from his surgery.

“It was hard to be away from my students” said Camilo. “I used to be active at work, but sitting here and relaxing has some implications like mental issues, cancer debt.”

Justin even said that some of Camilo’s students and co-workers sent cards and video chats with Camilo while he was away.

“There were days when I saw him really down, but we got our mail with cards (from students and colleagues) and it made a big difference to get him through the day.” said Justin.

“I was lucky,” said Camilo. “I was able to pay my debts in the hospital. It’s nice to know that if we can do it, anyone can do it. There is always a way. We want to break the stigma that it’s okay to talk about finances (and other personal stories) and start your own community. “

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