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Tamra Judge’s Ex-Husband Simon Barney Reveals He Has Stage 3 Throat Cancer

Heartbreaking news out of the OC.

Tamra Judge’s ex-husband Simon Barney, 55, has revealed that he’s been diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Simon says, “I’m a private person, despite what my time on reality television might say. But I wanted to speak before someone else does and uses their words, not mine. And to speak out about it so others can see how I’ve taken this fight on with optimism, and the good this has ultimately brought my life.”

“I think everything happens for a reason, I think your destiny is pretty much set for you, and you’re here to learn lessons,” he adds. “This has been a tough lesson for me. And I’m hoping it can be a lesson for others, too.”

Simon’s symptoms first started in May 2019  “when he noticed his salivary glands were swollen on one side.”

Initially, doctors believed it was an infection but an ultrasound And biopsy showed that other areas in Simon’s neck were affected. The final diagnosis was cancer.

He then went and visited top-notch doctors who found that the “cancer had spread into Barney’s throat, tonsils and lymph nodes.”

Surgery was considered but the cancer was too spread out for surgery to be effective. A second and third opinion reached the same conclusion. Instead, Barney would need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation to fight the cancer cells.

In January, Simon finally told his friends and coworkers about his diagnosis as he prepared to start treatments and fight for his life.

He told his ex-wife and three children Spencer, 19, and daughters Sidney, 21, and Sophia, 14 about his diagnosis earlier.

“He told me the news and we both literally started crying. I just couldn’t believe it,” Judge, 52, tells PEOPLE. “My first thought was, ‘I don’t want to take my kids to their dad’s funeral,’ and immediately, any ill feelings between the two of us just vanished. At the end of the day, none of that matters. All we have to do is rally together to make it through this.”

While this devastating news has rocked Simon and Tamra’s family it has also improved their family dynamic. It’s no secret that Tamra and Simon’s family has been on a roller coaster of ups and downs over the last 10 years. The former couple’s oldest daughter Sydney has been estranged from Tamra for years while their son Spencer has been estranged from Simon for several years.

However, that’s all changed recently. Sydney and Tamra are communicating once again as are Simon and Spencer.

“It’s kind of like a new beginning for me and my family. It’s really brought everyone closer together,” Barney says. “When I told Tamra, she said she cried for like, two or three days. Things changed with our relationship from there, in a good way. We’re getting along in ways we haven’t in years. And she’s become close with my fiancée. And that shift carried across the board with my kids, too.”

“That’s what I’ve always wanted,” he continues. “My fiancée, the same thing, she’s always wanted that with my ex-wife, for the kids. The kids would prefer it if we all got along. And they see that now, and it’s had such a powerful effect.”

According to PEOPLE, “Doctors have placed Barney on an aggressive treatment schedule, doubling up with radiation and chemotherapy at the same time. His chemotherapy is every 3 weeks, while his radiation is every day — 5 days a week — for a total of 7 weeks.”

“The process is the real bad part,” Barney explains. “It basically attacks all of your organs. You’re like poisoned. It’s been killing me. If I had a choice, I probably wouldn’t have done chemo and radiation at the same time, but that’s what they recommended. It’s like hitting your head with a hammer and pouring gas on yourself. I was ready to end it the other day, the symptoms were so bad. It’s almost worst than the cancer.”

“You go in Monday, you get the chemo. By Friday, Saturday, Sunday, all the steroids are wearing off that they give you, and it really hits you,” he says. “I just curl up in a ball for the whole weekend in my bed, and then pray that the truck gets off me. Because I was run over by one.”

“Then they give you a shot that’s supposed to help your white blood cells multiply, and that hurts your bones, so you feel like you can’t walk,” he adds. “And then the radiation, basically they hit me in my neck, my throat, and the tonsil area. It’s like a 9 out of 10 pain. It’s a lot of pain.”

The aggressive treatments have left Simon unable to eat.

“You have an appetite but you can’t eat anything because your taste buds are gone, or they taste and smell like chemo — this metallic, disgusting taste and smell,” he says. “My throat is swollen and bleeding which makes it difficult to swallow even water.”

Simon’s all endured other side effects including buzzing in his ears and slight hair loss but despite it all, his positive outlook has remained in place.

“I have hope,” Barney says. “Doctors have said I’m doing really well so far. They look at me and they go, ‘Man, you don’t look like you’re going through chemo.’ So that’s good, the prognosis is good.”

“I’m a huge optimist; the glass is always half full, not half empty. And I’ve always been that way, the cancer just enhanced it,” Barney says. “I’m kind of a jokester. And everyone in my life has been so supportive and offered to drive me to treatments and take care of me, but my whole motto is, ‘Don’t treat me like a cancer patient because that’s not how I want to be treated.’ So I stay strong and don’t let this take me down. Because if your attitude sucks — if you start believing, ‘Oh my God, cancer’s a death sentence’ — then you’re done.”

“I think, if you had to pick out of from all my family, I was the right person to get it,” he continues. “I can survive this, at least mentally.”

While Simon’s determined to beat this cancer he’s also at peace with the possibility that he may not survive.

“Listen, if it’s my time to die, it’s my time to die,” Barney says. “I’ve lived a good life, and you can’t do anything about that. But if it’s not, then I’m going to fight this. I’m going to fight it with a smile and a laugh, and I’m going to beat it. It’s whatever my destiny is.”

The entire AllAboutTRH Team is shocked by this news. It makes sense now why Tamra wanted to walk away from RHOC for the time – her family needs her more than ever. We’re praying for Simon and hope he’s healthy very soon.

Thoughts on Simon’s cancer diagnosis?

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Lara Sophia

Lara began writing for AllAboutTRH in October 2014. Lara is a born and bred Jersey girl, who loves blogging and currently writes a lifestyle blog: ChicandSequined.com Beyond blogging, Lara enjoys traveling, fashion, beauty, and gossip. Lara is excited to get in on the gossip and put her own spin on things.

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