Scot Jacobson, a 556-pound Oregon man, has a 70-pound tumor he calls "Wilson," after the volleyball featured in the movie "Cast Away." It's just something to add levity to his predicament, Jacobson told The Huffington Post.
In the next few months, the 50-year-old father of eight must undergo two risky surgeries: a gastric bypass to get his weight down and a procedure about four months later to remove the volleyball-sized growth from his abdomen.
He had gastric bypass surgery once before and woke up to discover that surgeons aborted the operation because they were afraid he would bleed to death.
"It's hard to get excited again," he said to HuffPost on Tuesday. "I'm afraid the same result may happen."
Jacobson, a social worker from Pendleton, Ore., said he has been heavy all his life, despite the most restrictive of diets. Then last year, an endocrinologist discovered he had thyroid cancer, and the gland was removed in September. The tumor appeared a few months later.
According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity is linked to a greater risk of thyroid cancer. On the flip side, some types of thyroid disease can cause weight gain, Everydayhealth.com notes.
Jacobson, who is still working 40 hours a week, said he is cancer-free; the tumor is not malignant, but its size makes it dangerous.
However, before he can have it removed, Jacobson first needs to undergo the $18,000 gastric bypass surgery -- a procedure his insurance doesn't cover, the East Oregonian reports.
According to the newspaper, Jacobson's community, led by family friend Peggy Ruiz, is attempting to help him raise the remaining $6,000 he'll need by Feb. 22, the date set by Oregon Health & Science University Hospital for the gastric bypass.
That amount has now been whittled down to $3,500, Jacobson told HuffPost.
But until the first surgery happens, Jacobson is trying to keep his hopes in check.
"Of course things can go wrong during surgery and I can die, but not doing anything would more or less result in death," he explained.
Scot Jacobson with his wife, Clare, and their three adopted sons. The couple has five other children.