Ben's Cancer Battle

As of this writting Ben is in the hospital for the 12th time since May of 2017 when Ben was first diagnosed. There are more hospital stays in the near future.


The chemo therapy he received last summer and fall did a very good job. But, as it turns out there remains some very tough cancer cells that just will not quit. Ben’s oncologist ordered more rounds of chemo that is a bit stronger and has to be administered in the hospital. Each round takes five days. Right now Ben is in the middle of the second round and is back in the hospital through the end of this week.


In addition to the chemo therapy Ben, his mother, and I will be headed to City of Hope in Duarte California on the advice of his oncologist for a more aggressive treatment that will hopefully rid Ben of the cancer once and for all.


While at City of Hope they are going to harvest stem cells from Ben and keep them frozen so they can reintroduce them to his blood after yet still more aggressive chemo therapy. Just the harvesting alone can take between four and seven days. Ben's entire stay at City of Hope could be a month by the time all the treatment and recovery is finished. Of course due to the apraxia Ben has Carole and I will be there the whole time. 24/7.


As you may imagine, and for those of you who have been through this know, the emotional strain can be overwhelming. The prayers and good thoughts from family and friends is a blessing that has brought much peace to us. Ben takes great delight in hearing about each and every kind word no matter how those words are delivered.


The financial strain is there as well. I’ve gone thru all my vacation and sick time at work. At the beginning of this year I stepped down from managerial position to allow me more freedom with my schedule at work so I am able to assist with Ben's many appointments and helping Carole with her needs and the gap that is left in tending to the house that Ben had always taken care of.


California Family Leave only paid a percentage of my weekly pay and it will only cover 6 weeks in a twelve month period. I won’t be eligible again until July of this year. Our savings were depleted during 2017 and with the start of the new year comes covering all the out of pocket expenses of health insurance all over again. Last  year with Ben in the hospital the family deductible was used in a matter of a few weeks. As of this time we are approaching that deductible again. We came dangerously close to losing our home as well. Only a state funded program kept that from happening. The expenses that we have while Ben is in the hospital goes beyond health care. There are expenses for travel and meals that need to be taken care of.


Again, each and every positive thought and prayer and any aid to help offset the financial burden is so gratefully appreciated.


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Randy Gerber 
Redlands, CA
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