Rob’s Story

Site created on July 24, 2018

We have created this Caring Bridge site to keep our family and friends updated on Rob's journey.  Thank you all for your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time.  

The last 8 months have been a whirlwind.  It all started last August when Rob began experiencing groin pain.  He was seen by an orthopedic surgeon to assess the hip replacement he had in 2012.  The PA directed Rob to a spine doctor, as the hip "looked good" on CT scan.  Rob wanted another opinion, so went to see Jackie's cousin (a chiropractor).  After reviewing the CT scan results, there was mention that there was a soft tissue mass, consistent with metallosis.  He encouraged Rob to get a second opinion before seeing a spine specialist.

The second opinion led to a needle biopsy to assess for cancer with Rob's previous history.  Diagnosis from the biopsy was consistent with metallosis, hence a removal of the previous hip joint was recommended.  In February Rob had hip surgery.  A new hip joint placed.  The soft tissue mass was not removed as it was explained that it would "absorb".  Unfortunately, the mass continued to grow, and Rob began having worsening pain and mobility problems.  He could no longer work.  After discussion with multiple doctors, and further imaging studies, Rob and his family fully believed that he had a soft tissue mass that could be surgically removed.  Excited to get back on his feet and back to work, Rob scheduled surgery (in June) to remove the soft tissue mass.  Another unexpected turn occurred...the surgeon presented to the waiting room doors only minutes after Rob had been wheeled into the operating room.  The news he had to tell Jackie and their family was unimaginable...the mass could not be removed, it was not a soft tissue mass, it was a firm mass.  Rob's hope to obtain relief from the constant pain and immobility wasn't in his near future; he now had to wait for pathology results.  

After days/weeks of waiting and misleading discussions/diagnoses, the news we did not want to hear was upon our ears..."Rob has cancer"...he has a rare form of Sarcoma, only seen in 2% of population.  Rob will need radiation, possibly chemotherapy and surgery.  Rob was referred to a Sarcoma specialist at the University of Minnesota.  Again, another hurdle...after Rob went through a day and a half of consulting with the Radiation Oncologist and being marked and set up for radiation treatment, the air was taken out of the balloon once more...Rob's tumor was so large that the Medical Oncologist felt that he would need to be treated immediately with potent chemotherapy.  The doctors do not think that the cancer has spread, although there a two small areas (one on each lung) that they will be watching.   

Rob began chemotherapy on Friday July 20th.  It is an aggressive chemotherapy regimen with many side effects.  Rob is exploring many alternative forms of treatment  for the side effects...acupuncture, biomat & essential oils.  Many family and friends are at Rob's side daily so Jackie can continue to work.  

As many of you are asking what can you do, for now it is prayers for minimal side effects and that the chemotherapy works.  Family and friends are planning a fundraiser event.  Information will be posted here on CaringBridge site.   We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Newest Update

Journal entry by rob tomberlin

Rob “Tombo” Tomberlin

Passed away peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends at the age of 54 on 11/28/18. Forever remembered by wife Jackie, daughter Haley, son Tyler; parents Ron and Sandy; siblings Chris (Kristine), Kelly (Brian); nieces and nephews; Cassie, Jake, Mitchell, Colby, and Mya. Parents-in-law Don and Bonnie Nelson; sisters-in-laws; Judy(Irv), Jodi(Bruce); brother-in-law; Gary(Sally) nieces and nephews; and a multitude of friends. Rob was born in Minneapolis on September 22nd, 1964. As a youngster growing up in Richfield, MN, Rob was seldom seen without a baseball glove on his hand. Rob was an incredible athlete. Rob's passion for baseball led him to a scholarship at Western Kentucky University and then on to sign a contract with the Atlanta Braves. He continued to show his love for baseball by coaching kids and youth baseball. Along with baseball Rob enjoyed golfing and watching the NFL. On October 23rd, 1993, Rob married his loving wife Jackie. Rob was a devoted father, he and Jackie enjoyed spending time together watching their son Tyler and daughter Haley competing in a variety of sports.  Rob enjoyed vacations in Mexico, spending time with family and friends and the Christmas Hallmark channel. Rob was an amazing friend to everyone, he was especially known for his positive and caring nature. A Celebration of Rob’s Life will be held on Friday, December 7th at North Heights Lutheran Church, 1700 Hwy 96, Arden Hills, MN 55112. Visitation at 10:00am with Celebration service at 11:00am.  Please use entrance B. In honor of Rob and his passion for sports, please wear your favorite sports

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