Art Svestka

First post: Oct 25, 2020 Latest post: Nov 2, 2020
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This journey began  with dad back in November 2019. He kept mentioning  how short of breath he was.  He said he felt tired out easily and sometimes got light headed feeling but the consistent shortness of breath was really bothering him.  A visit to the clinic in Cresco showed a significant amount of fluid on his lung which prompted an ambulance ride up to Mayo Clinic in Rochester where they aspirated most of the fluid...about two liters.  He returned to Mayo again two more times where they aspirated more fluid each time, totaling about four liters in all.  It was not immediately clear to doctors what was causing the fluid build up in his lungs so a long process of imagining and testing followed.

The start of 2020 brought about a biopsy with the results showing poorly differentiated carcinoma with sarcomatoid features and metastatic  adenocarcinoma (the cancer started in the lung and spread to the pleural lining). In layman's terms, Art had cancerous masses all throughout the right lobe and it had significantly infiltrated the pleural (outside)  lining of the lung.  The doctors were very honest from the start that 'curing' would not be possible with this type of cancer.  Our only goal would be to attempt to treat and prevent/delay the cancer from growing or spreading further.  His particular type of cancer is rare and aggressive. It has traits of two types of cancer cells (sarcoma and carcinoma) which makes it very difficult to treat.  It was determined with his care team that immunotherapy would be the best path forward.  Chemotherapy and surgery were not viable options for dad.  

In February as dad started his treatments, mom and dad decided to move just down the street to Cresco Assisted Living.  Their current address is 1004 North Elm St, #201 Cresco, IA 52136, phone number 563-547-3643 and their email address is

From January through June, he received  8 immunotherapy infusions of Keytruda and received  5 radiation treatments in an effort to treat the tumors. There was some promising results at the 3 month mark that showed the cancer had not grown and we were hopeful that a continued regiment of Keytruda every three weeks would maintain these results. 

Unfortunately, at the end of July, dad had a PET scan showing the cancer had spread to his liver as well as 3 areas in his bones: scapula, spine and ribs.  After conversations with his doctor and the family, it was decided that dad would no longer receive additional treatments and begin using hospice services.  We would like to send out a word of gratitude and appreciation to everyone involved in the care dad received at Mayo.  A special shout out to Dr. Michael Hessenauer for everything he's done.  

While it's been difficult this summer to get together with Covid19 visiting restrictions, mom and dad really enjoy sitting out on their deck enjoying the fresh air and talking to visitors on the lawn below.  Please feel free to reach out to mom and dad directly or share a comment or note here.

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