Two Cancers, One Goal

$18,450 of $22,000 goal

Raised by 132 people in 58 months
Cancer never rests; cancer shows no favorites, takes no prisoners. My husband, Robert, has recently been diagnosed two different cancers. Despite a double diagnosis of cancer, he is committed to fight both cancers head-on. Robert sees the smile on our daughter's face and knows he must face the battle; he is determined to watch her grow up.

Robert is early in his battle against metastatic melanoma and prostate cancer. He has endured one surgery already and is facing another, in addition to treatments and recovery. Robert is seeing many different doctors in an attempt to cure these terrible cancers. Despite medical insurance, the medical bills are beginning to overwhelm our family. Any donation will help us defray the costs of our seemingly endless doctor and hospital visits and costs. Thanks so much for taking the time to read our story.
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Good morning and happy Monday!

I realize it's been awhile since the last update. This new year and new semester has me incredibly busy and I have little free time for anything right now. I found a window to update this morning but it may be brief.

Robert is remaining about the same, overall. He has some good days and he has some rather bad days where he feels sick and doesn't want to move from the couch. I think it is the overall physical feeling: the neuropathy, chronic fatigue, muscle pain from the radiation spots, generalized nausea, and foot and leg pain from gout flairs. His feet and ankles tend to swell quickly since his kidney function is still falling. We had an appointment with the nephrologist about 2 weeks ago and not much has changed. She's a good doctor but there isn't much she can do right now except monitor his kidney function until they finally stop working. Once that happens, she will discuss the options Robert has for dialysis. Keeping his kidneys as long as possible is a good thing but since their function is so poor, he feels awful most of the time. It's his Catch-22. While we understand that not much can be done but close monitoring, it is increasingly frustrating each time we go to Indy. No one can alleviate any of his discomfort and it bothers me to no end.

We head back later this week for this quarterly oncology scans and appointments. It is usually a very long day but nevertheless, a necessary appointment. Hopefully the cancer is still at bay but we always hold our breath until we get the results. This trip will exhaust both of us and luckily, my Friday will be rather smooth this week. I'm giving an exam instead of lecturing and teaching a lab. Easy for me, not so easy for my students. ;)

No news from the neurologist. Robert had his EEG and MRI at the end of December and we've heard nothing from him. As much as I like the doctor, the neuro office at IU Health really needs some work. They are the worst group at providing test results, feedback, or even trying to make an appointment. Our current work-around is contacting Robert's oncology nurse and asking her to directly contact the neurologist's office. That seems to work but only ask her in a pinch. Right now, I'm just too tired to ask and Robert is to the point where he's accepted he is at risk for TIAs or minor strokes. I think it is time we look for a pallative care doctor to help coordinate all of his medical issues. I simply can't do it all and Robert feels too badly most days to really advocate for himself. I just hope our insurance covers it.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well and staying warm. Our part of the State has been hit hard with influenza but we've managed to dodge it so far...(knock on wood). I hope that lucky streak continues. None of us can afford to be sick, for entirely different reasons. Stay warm and healthy, friends and family and I will post again when I have time. Take care. :)

Kathi and Robert
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Happy Friday to all!

We just returned from another Indy trip this morning; today was a return visit to the neuroscience center for an EEG and another MRI of the head. The tests went smoothly but no results to report yet. Since it's Friday and Monday is a holiday, hopefully we will learn something regarding the tests by mid week. This office isn't great about providing updates on tests so Robert may need to call or message his doctor to find out results.

The last medication prescribed by the neurologist made Robert sick so that's another drug that doesn't work. It was a long three days of him being physically ill and needing more assistance than usual. Luckily, work was winding down for the holiday and I was able to be home more to help him. We also suspect his constant, low-level nausea is due to his kidneys failing. He sees the nephrologist again next month for more blood work to see if he's reaching "the point of no return" with his kidney function. Otherwise, Robert is about the same: very weary, tired, and painful. I'm always impressed with how well he manages it all. It is SO difficult to watch him do this every day. Yet, he perseveres and does what he can each day.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! Happy New Year!

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It has been another busy week and I finally have a chance to post an update from our last Indy visit. The oncology appointments always make for a long day for us and the last visit was no exception. CT scan, blood work, and two doctor appointments and A LOT of waiting. Most of the results were "good" news, meaning the cancer is still at bay and Robert's kidney function is holding steady. However, there is a new issue neither of us were expecting: both of Robert's femoral heads are dying. He has avascular femoral necrosis. The blood flow has been blocked somehow and the tissues and bone around the heads of his femurs are dying. He has no clinical signs yet but eventually, Robert will experience joint pain, arthritis, and possible fracturing of the femoral heads. It is bilateral so both hips will be affected. Needless to say, we were caught off guard and quite stunned to hear this news. No one is sure why this is happening but all signs point to the side effects of the immunotherapy. While we are thankful the immunotherapy saved his life from the cancer so far, it sure does keep providing Robert with other unusual and irreversible conditions. He is scheduled to see an orthopedic surgeon in January to discuss possible options to alleviate upcoming problems or future treatments for this condition. I think we are still processing this information; Robert can not fathom a life where he is immobile. I'm exhausted just thinking about all of it.

At any rate, we head back to Indy on the 18th to see the neurologist again to follow up on the MRI from September. The doctor is still unclear if it was a mild stroke or TIA or possible metastases. Any of those possibilities scare both of us but Robert has had no reoccurrence of the stroke-like episode since the one in July. We shall see what the neurologist has to say this time around. I think both of us are looking forward to a quiet holiday break. I wish I could sleep for a week. Despite everything he's experiencing, Robert remains upbeat most days. I have my ups and downs as a caregiver but overall I hold up strong. Angeline is happy and doing well. She is ready for Christmas and managed to talk us into putting up our tree right after Thanksgiving. We never do that! It looks good and has brought some much-needed spirit into the house.

I hope everyone is staying warm and is having an enjoyable December! Thanks to all of our family and friends that continue to support us through this journey. Take care and have a safe and happy holiday season!
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Happy Tuesday to all!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving weekend. We had a low key weekend; I ordered food for Thanksgiving and Angeline and I made a pumpkin pie. Robert isn't well enough to travel to Fort Wayne and spend the night away from home. I didn't feel right about leaving him home alone on Thanksgiving so we decided to stay home as a family. Robert has spent many holidays alone prior to meeting me and since we don't know how many more he will have, I wasn't going to let him spend another alone. Thankfully, my family understands and continue to be very supportive of all decisions we need to make. My mother had surgery the week prior to the holiday so she was still recovering as well. No need to add house guests to the mix. I spoke to my parents on the holiday and it was still a wonderful day. :)

Robert and I head to Indy again this Thursday for his 3 month scans and oncology appointments. He is terribly fatigued most of the time, mostly due to the end stage kidney disease combined with the chronic neuropathy. Still, he is slowly working on a new sculpture when he has the energy to pick at it. He's making some progress and it looks amazing. He won't let me take photos of it yet or I'd post one. This sculpture is a knight in full armor and sword. I'm not sure of the inspiration but it is a neat piece already. It is relatively small so he can cast it at home when it's ready. We've had no luck finding a foundry close that is willing to help us with his equine sculpture. Sigh.

If we learn anything new this week, I'll post again, a bit more efficiently. I also have a CT scan this week to check a spot on my left lung lobe that was found by accident last year. Hopefully it's just scar tissue and nothing of concern. We definitely don't need any more health adventures in our family! I hope everyone has a great week ; I can't believe December is almost here.

Take care and wishing peace and love to all. :)
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$18,450 of $22,000 goal

Raised by 132 people in 58 months
Created June 4, 2013
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1 month ago
Mike H.
3 months ago

Hope to see you soon.

Summer Lashley
4 months ago

Love you!

Henry and Sherri B
5 months ago

Hang in there.

8 months ago
Scott Minier
10 months ago

Our family loves you and yours! Stay strong!

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