A DAD suffering from life-threatening cancer has recorded emotional messages for his family before his voicebox is removed.
Ray Rodda, 61, visited doctors three times before being diagnosed with throat cancer in December.
The former Sunderland Echo graphic designer, from Silksworth, was told the cancerous lump in his tongue was so big, surgeons would need to remove a third of the organ to clear him of the disease.
He then discovered his whole tongue would need to be removed, as the cancer had progressed to the lymph nodes and both sides of his throat were severely swollen.
The dad-of-three, married to Shirley, 52, a special educational needs teacher at Portland School, had chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which was unsuccessful.
He is set to have a 13-hour operation tomorrow to remove the cancerous area.
Daughter Emma Rodda, 24, engaged to Andrew Howells, 30, said the family is hoping for a positive result.
She said: “It is such a difficult time for us but at the end of the day, we are still pleased that there is another option.
“I don’t think my dad has really thought about how life-changing this will be at the moment. He is just looking forward to the surgery because he is suffering so much.”
Two teams of surgeons will perform the operation, which is only carried out about three times a year. Ray will then have to spend at least three days in intensive care.
After the surgery, he will breathe through a tracheotomy, be fed through the stomach and will speak using a machine.
He has already recorded messages for his loved ones on the computer, so they can still hear his voice.
“He has been recording things so he can say ‘I love you’ and ‘hello’ when we walk in the room,” said Emma.
“And he has been recording commands to say to the dog.
“The NHS has given him the machine and an iPad mini for when he goes outside.
“My mam is a special needs teacher and knows lots of symbols he can use to tell us what he wants.
“She is busy making them so he can communicate when he comes out of surgery.”
The family is hoping that the operation will save Ray’s life.
Emma added: “The doctors say that it doesn’t look like it has gone anywhere else, but it did go to his lymph nodes.
“The hope is that the surgery will remove all of the cancer. Hopefully this will work.”