Trevor Hamon: Throat Cancer Veteran on a Mission

Trevor Hamon’s harrowing story about battling throat cancer begins with a vivid recollection of his beloved virgin Pina Colada tasting sour instead of sweet.

“I always made it with ice-cream and coconut and pineapple – it was so good! One day I gave some to my wife and my daughter and when I tasted mine, it was sour! I told them – ‘don’t drink it – it’s no good!’ But theirs tasted fine – there was nothing wrong with it,” said Trevor.

This marked the beginning of a persistent sore throat and cold that Trevor tried unsuccessfully to appease with lozenges. His doctor took a swab but found no bacteria.

In the meantime, his career in Private Wealth Management was in high gear and he operated an office in Edmonton and two sub-branches in northern Alberta. At age 52, he and his wife Nina had relocated from southern Alberta to run a branch practice in Edmonton.

When several months passed and his throat was still sore, he had another examination revealing that one of his tonsils was extremely swollen, hence, a tonsillectomy was ordered.

Trevor Hamon after his surgery

“I woke from the surgery and I felt good – no pain – but then I learned they hadn’t taken my tonsils out, instead the doctor had done a biopsy,” he said.  Mysteriously, the results were fine, but Trevor was still not fine.

It would be nine months before a second biopsy would reveal a highly aggressive form of throat cancer. Trevor was scheduled for an innovative surgery pioneered by a doctor in Edmonton and at that time, it was not performed anywhere else in the world.

More on the Surgery Procedure

“Dr. Rizk performed the specialized throat cancer surgery pioneered by his teammate Dr. Seikaly. Surgeons from around the world came to the U of A Hospital in Edmonton to be trained in Dr. Seikaly’s procedure. The procedure involves cutting the lower jaw in half and separating the tongue at the back to allow ease of access down the throat to the tumour. The hole created by removing throat tissue and the tumour is filled by a skin graft from the arm, complete with the vein and artery. The tongue is then reattached and the lower jaw reconnected. The hole in the arm is covered by a thin skin graft from a leg.

“Since I had the surgery, I understand they have added an extra step to remove a node of the thyroid gland, which is inserted in the arm. It continues to function there at reduced capacity, safe from the otherwise destruction caused by the radiation treatments.”

– Trevor Hamon

“I was in surgery from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm,” said Trevor. “It was October and after the surgery, with all tubes and stents sticking out of me I could have been Frankenstein for Halloween. I felt down, like the only person in the world who was messed up like this.”

Surgery was followed by 30 radiation treatments, which Trevor said, “felt like dying 30 times.” The extreme difficulty he was experiencing in swallowing often caused him to choke on his saliva while trying to stay still during the 20-minute sessions.

Recovery was long and grueling with some setbacks and many tense moments. Trevor was told he might only live for three to five years, but he leaned into family and his Christian faith to stay positive.

One day, while in a prep room for radiation, Trevor saw a poster for a throat cancer support group, and joining this group was a huge turning point for him. “It was like a light went on. I was with other people just like me who could relate to everything I was going through. It saved my life – literally,” said Trevor.

Eventually Trevor and Nina’s kids convinced Trevor to retire, and move from Edmonton to Raymond, Alberta – where they would be closer to family.

Trevor sold his practice and threw himself into researching cancer. “The doctors bought me time and I’m using it to learn all I can and live as long as possible, and to help others do the same,” he said.

It’s been 14 years, and today, sustained by a sugar-free ‘Garden of Eden’ liquid diet, he is alive and well and sharing his story, his wisdom and his faith with anyone who cares to listen.

“For me, survival has come from four things: my faith, my family, support from others in the same situation, and extensive research that has made me a bit of a very serious (like my life depends on it) student of cancer,” said Trevor.

Wellspring Online

In 2020, during Covid enforced isolation, Trevor learned about Wellspring Calgary and joined the online community from his home in Raymond, Alberta. He continues to feel deeply appreciative of the programs, and especially enjoys the connection with others he can relate to, and those living with cancer in communities in his area.

“I would say to anyone who has cancer, sign up for Wellspring support and whatever else you do, don’t miss it! There is nothing worse than thinking you are the only one in the world with this problem. Everyone battling cancer should know about Wellspring. When you meet others who understand and can relate, it recharges your hope,” he said.

Trevor Hamon before his surgery

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2 Comments

  1. Trevor thank you so very much for sharing your experience and story with us all. Your experience has and will continue to support others as they take their own journey. I’m so glad yo felt connected and were not alone. Thank You!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Trevor. I am so pleased to meet with you via zoom classes and know you are there with all your wisdom and care. Karen


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