It’s been a whirlwind couple of days for former Teen Mom star Amber Portwood! After getting out of prison on Monday, where she was greeted by her brother Shawn and mom Tonya, Amber visited the local Frisch’s Big Boy burger restaurant for her first post-prison meal, and was then able to reunite with her daughter Leah later that night. Today she had another emotional reunion as she traveled to Indianapolis with her mother to pick up her dad Shawn Portwood, Sr. at the airport.
UPDATE – Amber’s brother Shawn left a comment below to clarify that Amber was actually dropping her dad off and not picking him up.
Photographers were on hand and caught Amber at the airport pulling a suitcase on wheels with her dad walking along beside her. (Fans of Teen Mom will probably remember Amber’s dad from the show — he was present during one of the two major blow ups between Gary and Amber.) According to The Ashley’s Reality Roundup, MTV footed the bill for Amber’s dad’s trip from Florida, although there was no film crew present in the pictures.
The meeting must have been especially sweet for Amber because over the last decade her dad has been struggling with some very serious medical issues, and at one point was only given only six months to live. Shawn Portwood, Sr.’s medical issues were talked about in detail by his son (and Amber’s brother) Shawn Portwood in a heartfelt Give Forward posting back in June in hopes of raising enough money to get his dad some dentures to replace the teeth he lost due to chemotherapy.
Here is Shawn’s posting in its entirety from the campaign, which has only raised $180 of the $999 goal to date:
My sister and I love my father more than anything. Life with him was a little rough at times, I must admit, but either way, he is our father. Growing up he tried but couldn’t be there for us like we would have liked. His daughter (our sister) Candice passed away from SIDS in 1996 and life went down hill for him. He began to drink and forgot about the things that were most important in his life. The thought of losing his baby girl weighed on him heavily. Then in 2004, my father and my mother separated, which did not help the situation.
One night my mother had a vivid dream of my father, which resulted in him passing away. This scared her and she went to my father’s home to check on him. He was laying on the couch bloated and yellow. His liver had finally failed him. She rushed him to the hospital where they told her that he only had 30 minutes left to live if she had not brought him. Then they gave her the worst news, which was he only had 6 months to live because his liver was so bad. My sister and I were devastated and I remember leaving my home and walking for about four hours crying and asking why.
After that, my father turned his life around the best way he could. He fought through those six months and continued to fight for about eight years. The whole time he was in pain and battling to get a new liver. Then in 2011-12 he was having a pain in his neck. He went to the doctor and they discovered that he had Squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) on top of his voice box. It was the size of a baseball.
After the cancer was discovered he began to lose a lot of weight and the doctor told him that he would need all of his teeth removed before he could do chemo. He had his teeth removed and had a feeding tube put in. He fought through cancer like he had been fighting liver disease for nearly a decade. Eventually, he won his battle with cancer and I commend him for that. He is one of the strongest men I know although he does not believe so.
His life has dealt him a lot of bad hands and he has dealt himself some as well. However, I believe he has paid for all of his mistakes with the pain he has been in for almost a decade. He is so weak and a lot of organs are slowly failing. His thyroid is not working like it should as well, which is causing him to be weak. When my father was healthy before all of the illness, cancer, etc., he weighed more than 200 pounds. I think he barely weighs 140 pounds now because he does not have teeth and cannot eat the foods he needs to be healthy. He is basically on a liquid diet as of right now (Ensure, etc.) and has some foods processed so he can swallow them.
My father has never asked us for anything. He is too proud to accept help but sometimes you need it. I want to at least give him the gift of dentures so he can enjoy a steak again or anything that many take for granted. He has endured too much pain and I can only hope that this will lift his spirits and help him work on his health.
He still needs a liver and practically has to be on his death bed to get one. The risk of cancer is very high with him as well. Recently, he has complained of a constant migraine and pressure of one side of his head. He is getting an exam on his head this week to make sure he does not have a tumor. He will not live a long prosperous life but I do want him to enjoy the life he has left.
(My father has a number of medical expenses, however, this small amount is just something to give him hope and motivation for the future. I came up with the idea to do this for him when he called to thank for me making a donation to the American Cancer Society in his name a few days ago. He was so grateful and appreciative that I had donated to them.)
Thank you so much and please pray for him if nothing else.
Here’s the link again: