Wednesday November 29, 2017
Dave Stock beat cancer twice but faces a $10,000 dental bill
more stories from this episode
Dave Stock describes his teeth before having dental work as "meth mouth."
"Like when your smile has more gaps than teeth and cracks, it's not very nice to look at," he says.
While the Winnipeg man has a lot to smile about today, it has come at a heavy emotional and financial cost.
- The Current: 'I'm not asking for root canals and Hollywood teeth': Just how doable is universal dental?
Dave started chemotherapy to treat lymphoma in 2011, the day his daughter was born.
Doctors warned him that the amount of chemotherapy needed for his large six feet nine inches tall frame could lead to leukemia. But Dave felt he had no choice.
He did contract leukemia and after having a necessary bone marrow transplant, his body reacted badly.
"The first thing we saw was he lost all of his skin," says Amanda, Dave's wife.
"Then he started to show signs of graft versus host disease (GvHD). It's when the new bone marrow starts overwriting the old bone marrow — what's left — and there's a war going on inside your body," she says.
Dave's teeth were already brittle from chemotherapy, but when his saliva glands stopped working, the dry mouth caused his teeth to decay.
"He would eat a sandwich, and his teeth would break," says Amanda.
"It started with one tooth breaking, and then a few days later, another one chipped. A few days later, another one cracked, part of it came off," Dave says.
'People don't think cancer will lead to dental issues. Once you're done with the cancer there's nothing to cover what happens next.' - Amanda Stock
'All you want to do is find ways to help'
It was heartbreaking for Amanda to watch her husband fall apart.
"He probably lost a good 25 pounds just in those months from only being able to eat liquids," she says.
"All you want to do is find ways to help."
Without Dave's knowledge, Amanda created a GoFundMe page to help pay for implants and the accumulated bill of $10,000.
"He needed to eat. I didn't know what else to do," she says.
Besides money raised through GoFundMe, Dave says, a charity has helped pay for expenses, as well as his dental insurance and "the kindness of my dentist."
He still needs up to $10,000 worth of work for his bottom teeth.
After cancer, there's a cost
"People don't think cancer will lead to dental issues. Once you're done with the cancer, there's nothing to cover what happens next," Amanda says.
Dave is on disability, now receiving only a third of his previous pay.
'When your teeth are snapping and breaking as a side effect from a medical treatment, I think that should be covered.' - Dave Stock
"Which is hard enough but then to have his mouth fall apart and this extraordinary bill to fix it, you know, it's like what people in the States have to deal with. I don't know how they deal with that," Amanda says.
It's one thing, Dave says, if his teeth needed to be fixed because he didn't brush them or never took care of them.
"Yeah, I should have to pay for it," he says.
"But when your teeth are snapping and breaking as a side effect from a medical treatment, I think that should be covered."
This segment was produced by Winnipeg network producer, Suzanne Dufresne and The Current's Willow Smith.