My name is Jason Mendelsohn and I’m 54 years old. I’ve been happily married for over 27 years to my wife Ronni, and we have three awesome kids, boy/girl twins that are 22 and a 16 year old son.
My cancer story began back in April 2014 while taking a financial exam. I placed my hand on my neck to ponder a question, and felt a bump. I immediately called my Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) after passing the exam, and he told me that because I did not smoke nor drink that I could see him over the next few weeks. As a guy who always goes to the doctor, I saw him in his office 3 business days later. He placed me on ten days of antibiotics and steroids, and scheduled me for a needle biopsy and CT Scan, in case the bump didn’t go away. After returning from a quick vacation to the Florida Keys & a business trip to DC, I had the needle biopsy and CT scan. Three days later, without any symptoms except the bump on my neck, I received the scary diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the right tonsil, ultimately being diagnosed as stage 4 HPV related tonsil cancer. My doctors shared that they believe I got the HPV virus in college over 25 years ago.
I chose the name SupermanHPV as I knew it would draw attention to the diagnosis, and help me spread the word about HPV related oral cancer. I wanted people to understand that 3 out of 4 adults by the time they’re 30 have HPV, 62% of freshman in college. Before getting diagnosed, I never even heard of HPV related oral cancer.
Superman was an easy choice, as my friends called me Superman during chemo and radiation, and gave me Superman t-shirts and figures, stating that I was Superman tough.
As great as life is today, 2014 was extremely scary. I ended up having a radical tonsillectomy, neck dissection (42 lymph nodes removed from my neck), followed by seven weeks of chemo, radiation and a feeding tube. Life was brutal, and I taught myself to separate my mind from my body. My will to live and my ability to compartmentalize all that was happening enabled me to remain strong and positive for not only me, but as well my wife, kids, extended family and friends.
Remember, I am not a doctor. I am sharing my story based on my experience.
Jason Mendelsohn aka SupermanHPV
My wife Ronni, taking me to my first appt. with my oncologist, Dr. Lee Zehngebot – An awesome doctor with tremendous bedside manner.
My wife Ronni, and my father went with me to see Dr. Ho, my ENT, to learn more about my cancer diagnosis. It was comforting to have them with me. It was surreal to think I had cancer. Totally shocking, as I felt totally healthy, with no symptoms but a bump on my neck.
I had a radical tonsillectomy and neck dissection in May 2014 – 42 lymph nodes removed.
Started chemo radiation treatment and feeding tube.
Rang the Bell!
I was laying in bed in September 2014, after finishing all chemo & radiation the week of August 11th, and received this picture from a good friend out of Washington DC. Gonzalo had written my name on cycling jersey which gave me the encouragement to keep fighting!
November 2014 – Our twin’s b’nai mitzvah in Israel. I was so happy to beat cancer and celebrate this event with my wife, kids, family and friends.
2015 – Scar looking much better. I used scar cream and sun screen.
September 2015 – Gonzalo & I, along with the entire AgencyOne team crossed the finish line after cycling 140 miles over two days. This was one year after I finished my last chemo & radiation treatment. Just one year earlier I was lying in bed eighteen hours a day too weak to walk around. This was truly a fantastic feeling.
June 30, 2017 our twins turned 16. Awesome day to celebrate our terrific kids. It was just a few years earlier that I was concerned I wouldn’t be here to see this day. We had an awesome party for them.
Featured on NBC Nightly News to discuss my story and the “silent epidemic” that is HPV.
Silver Syringe Awards – Immunize Nevada
Discussed within a Congressional Briefing on issues surrounding HPV-related cancers in the United States and around the world. This briefing is presented by the American Association for Cancer Research, Moffitt Cancer Center, and the Biden Cancer Initiative in partnership with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), Prevent Cancer Foundation, St.
The Burden of HPV-Related Cancers: A Patients Perspective
Life of Dad – Live Interview – over 28k views
Appeared in the following article for National Cancer Institute: Less Treatment for HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancer – NCI
1st Raise Your Glass fundraiser – Raised over $40k for Head & Neck Cancer Alliance programs to support patients, survivors and caregivers
Watch the video produced by PatientPoint Studios on my journey and how I beat cancer.