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Nov 25, 2016
It's difficult to know where to start with my father's story...the last 16 months have been an incredible journey. In early May of 2015 my dad was diagnosed with Glioblastoma; a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. He was recovering from a knee replacement at Mayo Clinic when he informed the resident doctor that the dexterity in his right hand seemed somewhat off. After an exam they decided to do an MRI, which is when the tumor was discovered. The initial diagnosis was terrifying - the tumor was inoperable and he had 3 - 6 months to live. Several days later we met with the Brain Cancer Team at Mayo, and they provided a more positive outlook. Despite the tumor being inoperable, they indicated that with a rigorous regimen of radiation and chemotherapy the median life expectancy was actually closer to 15 months. He was able to get into a clinical trial in which higher levels of radiation are given combined with new technology that can better target the tumor. With this trial, our hopes were that he'd have an even better chance of extending life beyond the norm. The Mayo Clinic Brain Cancer Team has been amazing, and here we are 16 months later!
My dad's approach to this journey has been nothing short of amazing. He has remained positive, in good spirits, and determined to fight this. For everyone that knows him, this probably is not surprising. He is extremely stoic, and never has been one to feel sorry for himself, nor does he want anyone feeling sorry for him. In fact, he might even be mad at me if he knew created a page for him on this site! His determination and strong will have made a profound impact on myself and the rest of our family. It has helped us stay positive and determined too. For so many people with this terrible disease, I have to imagine that giving up hope and surrendering is the easy thing to do when you receive that kind of news. But not for him. He has taken it one day at a time, because in the end that's all we can do.
Unfortunately given the location of the original tumor, he has had a gradual worsening in the strength and dexterity of his right and left leg, as well as is speech. While this has been frustrating for him, he has adapted as well as can be expected. We received unfortunate news the end of August that the cancer had started to spread beyond the confines of the original tumor. This obviously is very worrisome, and there are several other treatments he has started or will beginning over the next three weeks in attempt to fight back and keep it in check. Although his energy level is low, and speaking is very difficult, he still musters up the energy to root for the Hawkeyes (or yell at them when they play poorly!). We don't know what the future holds, but know this is an uphill battle. Fortunately he has been surrounded by his brother, sisters, friends, my wife Angela and I and our children, and my mother almost constantly since he was first diagnosed. The love, and support has been incredible, and I cannot thank everyone enough. On behalf of my whole family, a gigantic THANK YOU to family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances for supporting us through all of this. Please keep sending prayers his way! I will be sure to post updates as we continue this journey.