Sunday, May17, 2014 was one of the happiest days for Laura and John Roth. The youngest of their 6 children, Susan, was graduating from Valparaiso University. Besides the obvious celebration of Sue’s accomplishments, John and Laura were celebrating the end of college tuition payments!
They had six children – John Jr., Joe, Tom, Peter, Ben, and Susan – in a 9 year period so money was stretched tight for most of their married years. Now at Susan’s graduation they could see the light at the end of the tunnel. They were excited to catch up on their credit card bills and start doing some of the things that they had been dreaming of for years. They were so thrilled to have made it through the 30 years of financial responsibility for their children.
Then came the crushing blow on Sunday, July 20th just two short months later. John had been having some motor problems first cutting his fingers a couple of times while refinishing their basement and then falling. He began walking kind of dragging his one foot. He thought he sprained his ankle when he fell. Others began to wonder if he had had a stroke. Laura took him to the Immediate Care Center that evening. She noticed during the exam the doctor were giving more of neurological exam rather than examining his foot and her anxiety level began to rise. After the exam, the doctor said, “You need to take him directly to the Emergency Room and tell them to do a CAT scan of his head”.
After hours at the ER, they received the news that no one wants to hear – he has 2 tumors in his brain. They kept him overnight at the local hospital and Laura had the horrible of task of calling her children and telling them the devastating news. Monday morning, Laura talked with the hospital oncologist and the oncologist she had seen years ago when she had cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. By late afternoon, John was transferred there and more tests were done. The result of these tests was they found a third tumor. On Friday, July 25th John was in surgery for a biopsy and resection, where they removed as much of one of the tumors as they could, removing the other two was deemed too dangerous. John was diagnosed with Glio Blastoma Multiform level 4 and Laura’s world was swirling out of control. The children helped out as they could, visiting with John in the hospital, taking care of things at home so that Laura could stay the weekend’s in John’s hospital room, sifting through all of the insurance and financial documents, Ben flew home from South Korea where he had been teaching English for the last couple of years and everyone worked together to make decisions on what was the best course of treatment.
Shortly after the surgery, John was moved across the street to The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) where he stayed for about 2 and a half weeks. He received therapy, while the doctors and family worked out his treatment plan. August 16th, while John was at the RIC, John and Laura celebrated their 34th anniversary. Laura had gone to Lawry’s Steakhouse, one of their favorite places, and brought back dinner for them to celebrate their anniversary for what might possibly be the last time.
He was moved to Manor Care in Arlington Heights where he would be taken to and from the Northwest Community Hospital for Radiation and Chemo treatments. They arranged to have a family portrait taken at Manor Care on Saturday, September 27th. Then they went back to the house to rearrange furniture so that they could use the dining room as John’s room. Insurance days were used up, treatment was done; it was time to bring him home for Hospice care.
On Tuesday, September 30th, John came home and Rolando his full-time caregiver came to stay. They are hoping that with the radiation treatments done, that John will regain some of his energy, but for now he uses a wheel chair and Rolando uses a lift to help him in and out of bed. John is happy to be home with Laura where he can see the kids and grandkids and his dogs. Laura and the kids are determined to make his days as comfortable as they can and hopes that friends and loved ones will continue to visit and pray for them. This is their new normal and they can use whatever help and support that you can offer them.
As you can imagine, this all costs money and a lot of it. The caretaker alone is $170 a day and it is not covered by insurance. That is over $5,000 a month all at a time when income is down. The full extent of their bills still hasn't been determined as bills are only now beginning to trickle in. It is hard for Laura and the children to concentrate on spending as much quality time as they can with John when they are so worried about where the money will come from. Can you help by paying for a day or half a day? Any amount you can give will help relieve this overwhelming burden so they can focus on what is really important - enjoying their last days with their husband, father and grandfather.
DonationsSee top donations
- Kenneth Borre Family
- Bart Sager
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more