Help John Duffer through his difficult surgery and recovery!

For: John Duffer
Woodbury, TN
Organizer: Sharon Adams
Help John Duffer through his difficult surgery and recovery! (John Duffer)
of $15,000 goal
83% Complete
Raised by 108 donors

The Story

In the spring of 2016, my brother, John Duffer, went to the dentist to seek treatment for a simple broken tooth. What he thought was going to be a routine visit, turned into a trip to an oral surgeon, who quickly diagnosed him with a tumor in his jawbone.  After a biopsy was performed, it was discovered that the tumor was benign, however, it was a very destructive tumor called an ameloblastoma tumor.   

After receiving this very rare diagnosis, doctors found that the tumor had significantly deteriorated his jawbone. Due to the massive damage that had been caused, surgeons wanted to immediately start the planning/pre-op for an extremely difficult surgery that would remove his entire lower jawbone.  In order to reconstruct the jawbone, part of the fibula from his leg would also be removed and constructed into a prosthetic to replace the jaw.  John was also told by doctors that plastic surgery would then be performed to repair the face.  During the time immediately after this surgery, John will be placed into a medically induced coma for an undetermined amount of time to help with the healing process.  He will then be faced with a very long and painful recovery of at least a year to a year and a half. During this recovery time, he is told he will have many rehabilitation therapies for his jaw, leg, and speech. Doctors have even said that he may not sing again or even talk the same and all who know John know what being a singer/songwriter means to him.  We are all praying that he will be spared from this outcome.  John took this life changing news with courage and determination and is ready to fight!

This entire summer John has had to go to numerous doctor and hospital visits, have tests run, and just this week he has begun daily hospital trips to receive IV antibiotics for an infection affecting the jaw that must be cleared up before the surgery.  The doctors at Vanderbilt, and locally in Woodbury, are amazing and we have complete faith in their abilities. 

John has also been working hard at Duffer’s Restorations and Creations for the last 4 years.  He is an artisan that creates/restores beautiful pieces that are truly legacies and he has been told that they have touched many of his customers very deeply.  He has always enjoyed being self-employed and making his livelihood this way.  However, the recuperation time from the surgery will mean a significant drop in his income as he will unfortunately be unable to work for an undetermined amount of time.

John is so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people who have asked how they can help.  With much encouragement from many of you, we have set up this page to allow everyone who loves and cares for John to support him as he prepares to embark on this monumental medical journey. If you would like to donate to John to help him during this difficult time, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Whether or not you are able to give, please continue to keep John in your prayers! We have already seen God’s grace and outpouring of love at John’s benefit concert last weekend. That was a very bright moment in a dark time and we thank you to those that were able to attend and support John’s special moment.  I will continue to update this site when the surgery is scheduled and during his rehabilitation.  The tentative plan is for the surgery to be set for some time in the next 3-4 weeks.  Due to the complexity of the up to 20 hour surgery, it takes a great deal of planning on the part of the medical team and we are patiently waiting to hear when this will take place.  Once again, from me, my parents, John, and the rest of the our family, thank you so very much for all that you have done to support his journey.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 28, 2017

Posted on August 28, 2017

Please read the below update for John.  I have been having some difficulty sharing to our email subscribers.  I apologize that you may have to scroll down to read 8/28's post.  Thank you.

Posted on August 28, 2017


Posted on August 28, 2017

Here is a recent picture of John, too. 

Posted on August 28, 2017

Posted on August 28, 2017

Hello, family and friends.  We hope that you are all doing well and have enjoyed your summer. We apologize for not updating John's YouCaring site sooner, but we either had information that was changing quickly or waiting for information to share.
John had surgery on June 13th to remove melanoma cancer from his back.  Lymph nodes were also removed to see if the cancer had spread.  The pathology reports showed that the surgery did indeed remove the cancer cells from the area on the back, but cells were in the lymph nodes.  The most recent scan showed that the cancer cells in the lymph nodes have not grown or multiplied since June so John will not have to have treatments (chemotherapy and/or radiation) at this time.  This is a blessing, considering everything that his body has been through previously with the removal of his lower jawbone and fibula due to the ameloblastoma tumor.  He will continue to be monitored at this time. Please pray that the cancer will continue to not be aggressive and will miraculously disappear!
John had originally thought that he would be having his 2nd jaw surgery in July.  This has yet to happen because insurance has denied coverage at this time.  He must have at least three more surgeries to complete the reconstruction of his jaw - John still does not even have teeth (which insurance will not cover either, stating teeth are purely "cosmetic").  This situation is beyond ridiculous.  It is also so upsetting and frustrating!  John's surgeons have been writing letters to the insurance company and we hope it will be resolved soon. He continues to be in a great deal of pain with his jaw and with his leg (where the fibula was removed and constructed into a prosthetic to replace the jaw).  John is sadly feeling like he may need to come to terms with the fact that this constant pain may never go away and that this pain is his "new normal".  It is heartbreaking; however, John is so strong and tries not to complain.  He has been working some again (he hasn't been able to actually work since November), but it has been very hard on his body. He is still healing from the cancer surgery, as well.  I am in awe of John and his determination.  Please continue to pray for his pain management, overall healing, and that the insurance situation will be resolved quickly.
Once again, John and his family would like to thank you for all of your support.  It has been an extremely difficult year and John still has more obstacles to overcome in the near future - your support helps him a great deal in facing these challenges. Thank you for the prayers, donations, meals, encouraging notes, calls, texts, and emails, rides to the doctor's appointments, and more! He appreciates you and your kindness more than you will ever know!

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