Bob's Cancer Treatment

Bob's Journey:

It's baffling to see how this all unfolded--he was chopping wood one evening late December, gets a strain in his side, and 3 months later we find out Bob has stage 4 Lung Cancer.

On January 1, 2018, my Brother in Law, Bob had gone into the emergency room for an excruciating pain on his left side (ribs). His x-rays only showed a black spot in his upper lung area, but it was insufficient info. He was given meds to relax the muscles and for the most part, he was okay. He followed up with a family doctor a few days later and was given antibiotics to prevent pneumonia. Within the next 10 days, his chest and ribs felt fine, but his legs started cramping. Another 10 days passed and the pain had become so bad he went back to the doctor and had an ultrasound performed where they found blood clots in both his legs and lungs. While they did find some enlarged lymph nodes in his lungs, they didn't seem to change in size after numerous tests week after week. Their main concern were the clots since he was not responding to blood thinners in the way he should. After several changes in blood thinners, he finally started responding, slowly but surely, to Lovenox, a shot needed 2x day. On Monday, March 12 he had a PET/CT scan where they found more nodes in his lungs that looked off, but still could have been inflammation from a possible infection (but also cancer) but wouldn’t know until they did the biopsy which was scheduled for 6 weeks out. The following Sunday (March 18th), he was very tired and not sleeping very well. Over the next couple days, he had become so drained, restless, and much disoriented, especially at night. My sister, Melissa, took him back to the hospital on the 25th, but wished she had done so sooner. While at their regional hospital, they found another clot in his arm, scattered images of something in his lungs, and lesions on his brain. After a couple days of meds, and no answers as to why this was all happening, they decided to transport Bob to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, which after all this time was the best decision made so far. In just one week, Bob's newfound medical team included hematology, neuro, pulmonology, internal medicine, and eventually the oncology team. The past couple weeks have been filled with scans, ongoing blood tests, MRIs, a lumbar puncture, and a bronchoscopy that was to result in a sample of lymph node tissue. Unfortunately, they couldn't get the cell sample we hoped. Last week, they had done a mediastinoscopy, which was successful. They managed to get the tissue, but unfortunately, the preliminary results were cancerous. They sent off tissue samples, which we are now waiting for, but the blood tests have shown stage 4 lung cancer--Adenocarcinoma. To say the least, this news is shocking and heartbreaking. Bob has never smoked in his life; he's young and healthy, and this plays in his favor in recovery. Bob is now in physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help with every aspect of his life.

At this moment, we are waiting for one more test to see what treatment would specifically help Bob the best; what we do know is that he will be taking the Lovenox shots the rest of his life. The positive is that three weeks ago when Bob entered the hospital, he was passive, blank faced, didn't talk, and was disoriented at night. As of last week he has conversations, moves around, and laughed when he talked to the kids every night on the tablet. His sense of humor is intact; it’s always been a strong characteristic of Bob and it makes him so great to be around. At this, the hardest of times, we need to take a page out of Bob’s book, and be positive and laugh when we can. It’s very difficult to feel that way in these dire situations but we are all here to fight this next to Bob because we know he would be doing the same for us too.

My sister Melissa is one of the strongest people I know. The hospital is 1.5 hours from home yet, she continued to be Bob’s rock while doing her best to be there for their 4 angels; Ashten, Hunter, Marra and Rainier. We couldn't have gotten this far without the help of family. Becky and Crista, Bob’s sisters, had been taking shifts at the hospital with Melissa so she could go home with the kids every 2-3 days. Our parents drove from outside Pittsburgh and have thankfully been able to stay with the kids throughout spring break and indefinitely. Bob was finally able to come home this week after being in the hospital for 17 days. The wonderful acts of generosity and kindness from Bob’s work and friends has been amazing as well. Full support for Bob and our family has been shown all around and is truly amazing. I know Bob was anxious to get out of the hospital and be home in his normal environment, even if it entailed the atmosphere of his 4 wide-eyed, talkative rambunctious kids. He loves his family and although this ailment is a difficult one, not being at home with them probably hurt the worse. He’s the most involved dad I’ve ever seen and knowing him and my sister, being away from the kids that long was probably one of the hardest parts of this whole process.

With the enormous amount of medical bills incurred already and the anticipation of medications, therapy, treatment, travel expenses and the loss of income, we are asking for donations to assist their family through this already devastating time.  However, we understand that sometimes a donation is not possible and we can only ask that you think of him and pray for his healing. Anything is appreciated, monetary or not, and the thoughts and prayers do go a long way.

We plan for me to withdraw the funds and send them to Melissa and Bob every two weeks via checks and cash apps to pay for his shots, neseau medication and any other medications that are prescribed.  We also plan to utilize the money for lost income and travel expenses to and from Chicago (1.5 hours away) for treatment.    We all love Bob and he has been there for his wife, his kids, and all of us, so this is the least we can do for him in the toughest of times. Bob might be physically fighting this disease, but we all can help him in this fight, and we hope you can too.

Thank you,
Jennifer Fetterman
(Bob's Sister in Law)
Temecula, CA

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Jennifer Fetterman 
Westville, IN
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