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Tamra Judge’s Ex-Husband Simon Barney Shares An Update On His Health After Cancer Diagnosis!

Simon Barney, the ex-husband of Real Housewives of Orange County alum Tamra Judge, has taken to Instagram to share an update on how much his life has changed since he was diagnosed with Stage 3 throat cancer.

The father-of-three showed back-to-back photos before, during, and after he completed treatment, which included chemotherapy and radiation.

Simon shared three photos that he captioned as “Metamorphosis: Before, During and after treatment. Can you tell which is which[?]”

Earlier this year, Simon revealed that he was diagnosed with stage three throat cancer.
“I’m a private person, despite what my time on reality television might say,” Barney said with a laugh. “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,” Barney told PEOPLE. “This has been a tough lesson for me. And I’m hoping it can be a lesson for others, too.”

The father-of-three revealed that he first started experiencing symptoms in May when he noticed his salivary glands were swollen on one side. Initially, doctors thought it was just an infection, but an ultrasound and biopsy found other areas were affected too, including the side of Barney’s neck. The final diagnosis was cancer.

A follow-up appointment, accompanied by his fiancée of 9 years Catushia Ienni, with new top doctors found cancer had spread into Barney’s throat, tonsils and lymph nodes, reported the publication in February 2020.

They considered surgery, but a biopsy showed the cancer was too spread out. A second and third opinion produced the same results: Barney would need to go through the dual treatment of chemotherapy and radiation.

At first, Barney decided not to share the news with his co-workers and friends until the beginning of January, when he started his treatment plan. Barney says he let his family know before that, including ex-wife Tamra Judge and their three children: son Spencer (19), and daughters Sidney (21), and Sophia (14).

Barney's battle with throat cancer brought his family closer. Judge and her daughter, Sidney, began communicating again, as have Barney and his son, Spencer, after years of estrangement. Barney’s relationship with ex- stepson Ryan Vieth have also changed for the better as they are now in constant communication.

“It’s kind of like a new beginning for me and my family. It’s really brought everyone closer together,” Barney said. “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 continued. “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.”

Doctors have placed Barney on an aggressive treatment schedule, doubling up with radiation and chemotherapy at the same time, reports the publication. 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.”

“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.”

Barney reveals he’s experienced other side effects, including constant buzzing in his ear and slight hair loss. Barney, however, is looking for a positive outlook during his health battle.

“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 told PEOPLE. “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.”

Barney adds, “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.”

Last month, Tamra shared an update on her ex-husband, Simon Barney, amid cancer battle during a Q&A session via Instagram Stories. “He finished treatment a few months ago and getting stronger everyday. He's staying positive ! We are praying he kicked cancers ass but we don't know yet ...”

Photo Credit: Simon Barney via PEOPLE