Richard’s Story

Site created on November 13, 2018

Sir Rick began wheezing in late August and went to the clinic. Rick was prescribed a dose of antibiotics and an inhaler. In September, Rick was still feeling cruddy and the wheezing did not improve so Rick went to a different clinic and was again prescribed a dose of antibiotic. Still Rick's breathing did not improve. On October 4, 2018, Rick returned to Johnson Clinic in Rugby and met with Dr. Schoneberg . Dr. Schoneberg ordered and X-Ray of Rick's chest and located  a growth (tumor) in Rick's left lung. On October 8, 2018 a CT scan of Rick's chest, abdomen, and pelvis was performed, the CT scan verified the tumor in Rick's left lung and located a second  tumor on Rick's pancreas. Rick was referred to Trinity Hospital in Minot and on October 18, 2018 a biopsy was performed on Rick's left lung. Rick learned that the doctor's believed that tumor was malignant (cancer), but the type was not known. On October 25, 2018, Rick had an appointment at Trinity and learned that he had Non-Hodgkins lymphoma and that an appointment had already been made for that day at the Trinity Cancer Center. Rick learned from the oncologist that Rick's cancer was treatable with chemotherapy and often responds well to chemotherapy, but that they needed to do more tests to learn the severity of the cancer, including: a bone marrow biopsy, PET scan, heart echocardiogram, and install a port for the chemotherapy. The oncologist was clear that they needed to start the chemotherapy treatment ASAP as it was believed that Rick's cancer was growing based on Rick's increased wheezing and the discovery of the tumor on Rick's pancreas. On October 31, 2018, Rick had the Pet scan and heart echocardiogram and learned his chemotherapy was scheduled to begin on Monday morning November 5.  On November 2, 2018,  Rick had the bone marrow biopsy and had his port installed at Trinity Hospital. Rick left the hospital at 12:45 pm and at 1:30 pm was contacted by the Trinity Cancer Center and directed to stop at the Cancer Center ASAP. Rick thought or hoped that this was gonna be good news as he did not have a scheduled appointment. Rick learned that two (2) more tumors were located on his spinal cord in the lower lumbar region. Rick was advised that his cancer was too aggressive to be treated in Minot and that Trinity had already arranged for an appointment on November 5, 2018 (the day the chemo was scheduled to start in Minot) at Mayo clinic in Rochester, MN . Rick was told "you need to make that appointment!" On Monday, November 5, 2018, Rick was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Rochester (a Mayo Clinic Hospital) for further testing.  (By this time Rick's wheezing was much worse, his hip was hurting, he had severe neck pain, headaches, was getting fevers, his port was infected, his balance was a little off, and his cognitive was a little slow.) After a week in the hospital and multiple tests, Rick was diagnosed with Diffused Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma with "double expresser". The tumor in Rick's lung had invaded the bronchial and shifted the lung to the left, the tumor on Rick's pancreas had grown approximately two cm since the October 8 CT scan, Rick's lymph nodes in his pelvic area where swollen, and lymphoid cells were located in his spinal fluid indicating central nervous system involvement. Rick was alone while in Rochester except for a few friends stopping in for visits. Late on Saturday November 10, Rick had his first chemotherapy treatment throughout the night. For the most part Rick handled this well. Rick was released from the hospital on the late evening of Monday, November 12, 2018, to come home, as his labs were OK.

  Rick got on Amtrak and arrived back in Rugby on the morning of November 13, 2018, by himself. The chemotherapy Rick is scheduled to get in the future requires hospitalization for three to five days each time to monitor negative reactions. Mayo clinic did try to arrange for these treatments in Fargo, but Fargo also indicated they were unable to administer the chemotherapy treatment Rick needs. Rick's treatments are scheduled to last five months, with a dose of chemotherapy every three weeks at Mayo. Today (November 13) Rick is at home with Mother Teresa and is wore out from a week of tests, chemo treatment, illness, and long train ride. 

Rick needs to be back at Mayo on Friday November 23 (day after Thanksgiving) for his next Chemo treatment. Rick and his friends are desperately looking for help to get Rick to and from his treatments, as Rick is going be unable to drive or ride the train in the future based on his treatments.

If you or anyone you know of may be able to help with rides to Mayo Clinic for Rick, please let us know, as of now, we have no one!

Newest Update

Journal entry by Craig Zachmeier

Rick went into surgery at about 1:30 today and he was back in his room about 4:00. The surgery went well and the port has been removed. Sounds like it was a good thing to get the port out as the infection was past the epidural. He now has a huge patch across his chest (makes him look tough). Rick was pretty excited to get back to his room to eat his tuna sub (as it is lent) as he had nothing to eat or drink since yesterday at 10pm. I think he thought he was melting away. It appears Rick's extended stays down here (at Mayo) have given him celebrity status. I lost count on the number of female nurses (mostly blond) that have came into his room to just visit about Rick, Rugby, Mother Teresa, Charlie his cat, the Memorial Hall, and the last two weeks Rick has been away. Seems like all the employees know him by first name. Rick has been having an internal pain on his bottom that has been getting worse over the last week, which the doctors have not yet figured out. There is an MRI scheduled for Monday to take a look of what the source of that pain may be. Hopefully just a side effect of the treatments.

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