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Rallying for the Rettingers

$16,815 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 179 people in 10 months
Created December 29, 2017
Emily Jaramillo
on behalf of Sarah McIntosh-Rettinger
This Go Fund Me account is for our dear friend David Rettinger and his wonderful family. David has been an Albuquerque firefighter and paramedic for the past 12 years. His wife Sarah is a self-employed hairdresser  and they have three young boys.

David was recently admitted on Christmas Day to Presbyterian hospital with moderate abdominal pain that would not subside. After a series of tests, including CT and endoscopy with biopsy, a diagnosis of a Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor (pNET) with metastasis to adjacent lymph nodes was made. While this is devastating news, the outcome could have been much worse as most pancreatic cancers, known as adenocarcinoma, are fatal within months. pNET is a slower growing cancer with the treatment option being a very invasive and complicated surgery known as a Whipple. This surgery will be done out of state within the next month. More tests are needed in the upcoming weeks to further explore the reach of this cancer. As of now, his pain is under control and Dave should be discharged after what will have been 8 days in the hospital. He is physically feeling great and and ready to go home to his family! David is grateful that he has a fighting chance and a wonderful support team including his wife Sarah, family, friends, and his fire family with the Albuquerque Fire Department. Although there is a long journey ahead, it is the opportunity to make those steps that we are so grateful for given the grim alternative of what could have been.
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*UPDATE* David and I feel very lucky to have started a new relationship with a local oncologist who specializes in neuroendocrine tumors (NET cancer). We are going to continue on a path of stabilization which consists of monthly injections and scheduled scans for monitoring any changes. We are excited and optimistic that Dave is dealing with a slow growing cancer and can be treated like a patient with a chronic disease. We want to be positive in our outlook and shift our mindsets away from looking at this like a death sentence. Dealing with a slow growing cancer gives us hope that treatment options for NET tumors will be developed. We know that this will not always be an easy path but we are excepting of our new normal.

We can’t thank you enough for all of your support emotionally and physically and financially. We truly are the luckiest family around. That said we’d like to take a break from being the family “with cancer” in an attempt to go back to a more normal reality. We of course will keep friends and loved ones updated with any major news, such as surgery or travel. We will make an attempt to resume life as we knew it prior to our diagnosis last Christmas Day. We feel that this is important and necessary not only for us but for our children’s sake as well. We are going to take a break from frequent updates on social media. Thank you all for your love and support over the past year we couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to getting on with our lives and living them to the fullest.
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UPDATED!!! As most of you know, David and I attended a conference in Las Vegas Nevada for neuroendocrine tumor patients, caregivers and specialists. It was there we made some lifelong friends! It was wonderful to feel like we are not alone in this journey. We also had the chance to talk one on one with doctors that practice only in NET cancer. After discussing Dave’s case, they recommended some alternate treatments. Because the Whipple is such serious surgery on an otherwise healthy man we have decided to postpone his surgery in hope to get other options. We are going to consult with two doctors and estimate it will need one or two months to accomplish as one is out of state. Thanks all for the love and support.
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The last set of scans (CT and MRI) has revealed that that after five months of oral chemo and a monthly shots of Lanreotide (Somatostatin hormone analog to slow tumor progression), David’s tumors are stable but have not shrunk. The good news is they did not progress either. This led to a decision by the U of C doctors to discontinue chemotherapy and move forward with surgery to remove approximately 80% of the tumors and possibly debulk some of the liver tumors. In addition to that, embolization to some liver tumors will also attempt to shrink them. David traveled to University of Colorado Health Cancer Center for a surgical consult on 8/23. The team of doctors including the surgeon and oncologist agree that Dave is a good candidate for surgery because of his age and physical condition. In general, patients that receive surgery tend to live longer. After surgery, the focus will be on managing the remaining liver tumors and any other sites that may be involved in the future. Surgery is scheduled for October 10th, 2018 at 0730 and will require a two week stay in Aurora and approximately two months at home for recovery. The Rettinger family would like to extend their deep gratitude for the love and support of friends and family, the ONLY reason this is all possible! Updates will follow in October.
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Latest update today, Jan. 15, 2018, is the MRI found about a dozen lesions on my liver, likely metastatic but needs to be confirmed by biopsy which will be difficult since they didn’t originally show up on CT, which is what they use to guide a biopsy needle. Going to get an ultrasound tomorrow and another CT variation next week hoping they can find an accessible and visible lesion, otherwise going to consult with a specialist out of state. This could mean I may not be a candidate for surgery unfortunately and will have to find treatment options to help stop the growth because chemotherapy is typically not effective on this type of cancer. It is a slower growing cancer and I still am positive there are some good options to fight this. I’ll keep everyone posted as we get more info. I feel good still and will be trying to get back to work soon in the meantime. My family and I would not have been able to do this alone and I can’t thank everyone enough for the overwhelming love and support. I am still very thankful for the chance to fight this every day that I am alive and am trying to focus my efforts on living a higher quality life than worrying about quantity! It’s something we could all benefit from and I will do everything in my power to be a warrior for my family and hopefully an inspiration for anyone else in these situations. I love you all, we are eternally grateful.

David Rettinger
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$16,815 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 179 people in 10 months
Created December 29, 2017
Emily Jaramillo
on behalf of Sarah McIntosh-Rettinger
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