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In November of 2016 Rich was diagnosed with Stage IIIC rectal cancer. The initial plan was to have 4 months of chemotherapy followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiation and then surgery. Rich endured the tough cycles of chemotherapy--with many of the common side effects (neuropathy being one of them). He was amazing through it all--not a complainer! The follow up CT showed that the tumor had markedly reduced in size with a possibility that it was gone. The recommendation from the doctor at that time was to continue as planned, but because of the high risk of severely debilitating side effects related to the next courses of treatment, Rich opted to stop at this point.
Over the course of the last few months, Rich has experienced increasing pain, low grade fevers, bleeding and fatigue. He was scheduled to see his doctor on July 2nd but on Thursday evening, June 28th he experienced shaking chills, fever of 103, and very rapid pulse. Marlene and Kim took him to Region's ER and Rich was diagnosed with sepsis (infection of the blood) as well as very low hemoglobin. During this hospital stay he had CT scans and an MRI. The result--the cancer has returned. The tumor is significantly larger than it was when diagnosed initially. The doctors stated that they have 'upgraded' the staging but did not give a number.
The doctors have set up a treatment plan for him: oral chemotherapy accompanied by radiation therapy 5 days per week for 5-6 weeks and then surgery. The surgeon said "the treatment won't give you the same quality of life you had before, but a better quality of life than you are having now".
Rich was discharged from the hospital this afternoon and given careful instructions as to what they need to watch for. He will see his doctor in follow up on Monday. As many of you know, Kimberly is getting married on July 12th so Rich asked if he could wait until after the wedding to start the treatments. They asked him to get all of his consultations and preparations done before the wedding so they are "ready to go" right after her wedding.
This isn't going to be a 'walk in the park' but both Rich and Marlene are amazing! They know that whatever comes-- He will carry them through!