On April 24, 2017, just one month ago, our family's entire world was rocked by the most devastating news we could ever imagine. Our dad, Eric Englestad, went to the doctor for a cough he’d had for several weeks and after the doctor ordered a chest x-ray, we were told he has a 4-inch mass in his right lung. After having a CT scan, biopsy, PET scan, and an MRI of the brain, he has been diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with Pleural Effusion that has metastasized to his liver, bones, muscles, and worst of all, his brain.
Last Monday we heard the words that no one ever wants to hear: He would have less than 2 months to live without treatment.
Obviously, 2 months is not enough, and even though there is no cure, he chose treatment which could increase survival time by several months and hopefully even years. Both he and our mom are now out of work due to his illness and the bills are already beginning to mount.
About Our Dad
Our dad, Eric, is 58 years old and has been married to the love of his life for over 40 years. Together, they have 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren that they absolutely adore. And although we are grown now, our parents have always made sure we were well taken care of. Our dad has worked very hard to provide for us while also teaching us the value of a dollar. We didn’t always have everything we wanted but he made sure we never went without anything we needed. He would work 2 and 3 jobs at a time if that’s what it took to make ends meet. He’s the type of man that always put himself last and he’d give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger even if it meant he himself would be shirtless.
Just over 3 weeks ago, he was living a normal life as a long haul truck driver. He and our mom are a team; running coast to coast up and down the highway for weeks and sometimes months at a time before they could get home to spend a few days with family. Now they are home indefinitely with no income because neither of them are able to work under these circumstances.
15 years ago, around the same time our mom started driving a truck with him, our dad decided it was time to make a life change for the better and quit smoking cigarettes. He quit cold turkey and never looked back. However, even with that effort, as of May 7th, he has been on oxygen 24/7 and can only walk about 10-20 feet before he's completely out of breath and utterly exhausted.
In early April, while out on the road, our dad went to an urgent care in Washington due to a cough he’d had for a several weeks. They diagnosed him with a bacterial infection and treated him with antibiotics. After a couple more weeks passed with absolutely no relief, he made an appointment with his primary care physician at home. A chest x-ray was ordered and we were informed that he had a “spot” on his right lung but that it could be pneumonia and/or scar tissue and a CT scan would be needed to make the determination. The CT scan revealed the “spot” as a 4-inch mass, but also showed other lesions throughout various parts of his body. After a biopsy and PET scan, it was confirmed that he had Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) which had metastasized to his liver, bones and muscles. An MRI also identified 14 lesions on his brain. On top of all this, he also has Pleural Effusion which causes a fluid to build up around his lung making it even harder for him to breathe. We were told on Monday, May 15th that without treatment, he would likely only survive for about 2 months. With treatment, it could be anywhere between 6 months to several years depending on the genetics of the cancer.
On Friday, May 5th, he had an office procedure done to remove the fluid from around his lung. They took off 1 liter. Our dad almost instantly felt better but it lasted less than 24 hours. The next day we were at the hospital emergency room because he was so short of breath again. They kept him in the hospital for 2 nights and had another 2 liters of fluid drained while he was there. Last Friday, May 19th he had a Pleurx Tube put in place so that, with the help of our mom, he can drain the fluid at home rather than going to the doctor’s office or hospital every time and risking serious infection.
On May 17th he began radiation to his whole brain and right lung tumor. He will have 10 sessions of this while we wait on the genetic test results to come back at which time he will hopefully begin chemotherapy in one form or another. We have another week or more before those test results will be back. We will keep you updated on the results, treatments, and progress as much as possible.
It’s never easy asking for help however, dire circumstances have left us in this position. We hope that you will do anything you can to help us help our parents with the enormous amount of medical bills they are now facing. No amount is too small and no words can describe how greatly we appreciate each and every one of you and all that you do. Thank you!!
- Karen Johnston
- Avery Turner
- TeeTee Young
- Tammie Plummer
- Bobbi B