My father had a stroke on May 10 which was caused by a tumor in his brain. Through many tests 4 more tumors were discovered in his body and he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastic melanoma and told he has 6 months to live. The same day of the diagnosis my dad decided he will fight this battle with a positive and humorous attitude, all while showing his family courage and faith are what will get us through.
Lancaster Rehab Hospital has been my dad's home for several months now and we are hoping he will come home soon. He has been working hard everyday to regain his strength and motor skills that the stroke robbed him of. He will soon undergo immunotherapy to shrink the cancerous tumors but we are also fighting this battle with an alternative holistic approach.
Unfortunately many of the costs associated with my dad's cancer fight are not covered by insurance which is leaving my parents with a financial burden. Any help you are able to provide would be deeply appreciated. I ask for you to keep my dad and my family in your prayers, we believe in miracles and we believe my dad will be cancer free!
*For full story, please read below*
On May 10, 2017 my dad woke up to numbness and no feeling on the entire right side of his body. We rushed him to the ER where they quickly determined from his symptoms that he had a mini stroke and began medication to stop the bleed in his brain. Once admitted, they began the never ending tests and scans while we nervously waited for updates by his bedside, all the while his sense of humor shined through the clouds.
The results from the MRI and CT scan showed the bleed in his brain had stopped bleeding, but it also showed there was a mass present in the ponz area of the brain. This news of course was a complete shock and the unanswered questions started arising. At this point the right side of his body was completely numb, his vision double and blurry, his hearing was muffled, his speech was slured and he had trouble swallowing.
Thankfully my dad has some of the best doctors on his team and they had a feeling that the tumor in his brain was not the only tumor in his body. After more scans it was revealed that he also has 4 tumors in his abdomen, all of which looked suspicious. A biopsy was scheduled for the tumors in his abdomen. The tumor in his brain can not be biopsied due to the location in the middle of the most important part of the brain. Preparing for the biopsy was terrifying but my dad remained in good spirits joking with the nurses and doctors.
What happened next changed the course of our lives and shook our family to the core. My dad was diagnosed with cancer, stage 4 metastic melanoma. Only a few short minutes after the doctor told us this horrible disease invaded my dad's body, my dad courageously said "I will beat this." We shared tears and fears and decided that with God on our side we will fight as hard as we possibly can.
After a month long stay at LGH daddy was moved to an acute rehabilitation hospital where he began intense therapies several times a day. The first stay at rehab didn't last long as his brain started to bleed again and he was rushed back to LGH. Once the brain bleed was under control, the focus turned to the brain cancer. My father went through 10 treatments of targeted radiation on the tumor in his brain. Once he completed the radiation treatments, he was sent back to the rehabilitation hospital to continue his recovery from the stroke. Losing so much of his ability to function normally was a difficult thing to accept for him however, his determination to recover overtook any doubt and pushed him to try his hardest on the new path life has paved for him.
While at rehab, he made great progress and continued to have a positive attitude. His vision slowly improved, his hearing became a little clearer, he became physically stronger, his speech went back to normal and he no longer needed pureed foods. Daddy learned to begin to walk again, walking 50 feet with a walker and the help of 3 physical therapists. These steps were such a huge accomplishment and helped us all continue to hold onto the belief that he will fully recover.
Unfortunately another setback arose in the form of an infection that made his body go septic. My dad began shaking uncontrollably, his blood pressure dropped to 60/40, his temperature was 104 and his heart rate was 198 beats per minute. He was rushed back to Lancaster General Hospital where his was in critical condition and we were informed how serious his status was. All the prayers we had been praying were answered and all his vitals began improving quickly with the treatments they were giving him. After another week spent in the hospital, he was given the all clear from the doctors and was transferred back to the rehab hospital.
During one of the appointments at Ann B Barshinger Cancer Center, my dads oncologist told him that he has 6 months to live. Through the tears and range of emotions, my dad reminded us that only the Lord determines when ones earthly stay comes to an end. As a family we vowed to do everything possible to help my Dad beat the cancer and live a long life full of joy.
We quickly began research on curing cancer and shrinking tumors. The amount of information on alternative approaches was overwhelming and the success stories were so inspiring. We knew we had to try some of the holistic treatments we were learning so much about. Cancer thrives in an acidic body so my dad only drinks special alkaline water. He has been drinking mixes of fresh ginger, organic turmeric, raw garlic, baking soda and black pepper. My mom has been driving to purchase the alkaline water and making the fresh concoctions to take to my dad every day. We are flooding his body with vitamins and he will see a doctor who specializes in holistic treatments. He will begin immunotherapy treatments in the coming month and we have very high hopes for this new cancer treatment. The immunotherapy uses your own DNA to fight the cancerous cells, essentially telling your body the cancer should not be there and to destroy the tumors.
This fight has been such a rollercoaster of emotions and the road ahead will be long. The costs of treatments, travel, alternative medicines and loss of income are beginning to pile up. While fighting the biggest fight, I pray my parents don't have to worry about the financial burden and can remain focused on my dad's healing.
Through each step of this fight my father has shown unwavering courage, imense humor and faith that has the strength to heal. In the face of fear, God is speaking through him and using him to bring others closer to Christ, encouraging my dad to be a beacon of hope for us all. I am so proud to be my father's daughter and I kindly ask for any support you can provide in helping my dad beat cancer. If you cannot provide any financial help, we ask that you keep my dad in your prayers. We truly believe in miracles and cannot wait to update you when he is cancer free!
Thank you for taking the time to read our story and thank you in advance for keeping us in your prayers! God bless!
- Jody Oettel
- Jayne Thomas Kennel
- Susan Greenwald
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