Many of you have not heard our story of what has taken place in the past few years that influenced our move to NE Ohio. So grab a cup of coffee or drink of choice and read on.
This is our story that many of you have not heard yet. It was Oct of 2015 that I was preparing to be part of Adam Japko’s Highpoint Market Design Bloggers Tour, a very special honor to be chosen.
To shorten our story a bit, Bob had had a topical melanoma area removed on his back 18 years prior to 2015. Due to the excellent diligence of his primary care doctor, Bob was instructed to have a chest X-Ray every year. Dr Ray Fisher explained that melanoma will often return in the lung. Who knew?
Mid-October of 2015, I had just arrived at my hotel room at High Point Furniture Market in NC. Traveling from Wichita KS to NC is a long day of connecting flights, so I was a very tired designer. I also was a nervous designer awaiting Bob’s latest lung x-ray. When my daughter, Kara, called to give me the results of his lung x-ray of stage 4 metastasized lung cancer, I was stunned.
I immediately called Bob and said that I am not doing the Design Blogger Tour and catching the next flight home! I knew of course that he was trying to be strong for me telling me I could do no better for him then to fulfill my professional responsibilities. Easy to say but how could I do this and not lose it to an emotional meltdown? It was his rationale advice that convinced me. I would stay, but in order to maintain my composure, I could not talk about it!
While in the lovely Wesley Hall Showroom, Joann Kandrac instinctively knew that I was struggling. I then shared Bob’s diagnosis to her since I needed a safe friend. She was there for me and I will be forever grateful.
I really did fake it until I could make it at market as these photos show.
This tour is grueling physically if you know anything about High Point Furniture Market in NC. It is huge and touted as the largest furniture market in the world! What an honor it was for me to be selected along with these amazing designers. Our role was to identify and promote the latest and best products for social media exposure.
But by the end of the weekend, I was starting to lose it emotionally, especially because I was traveling alone. So, knowing Joe to be a dear gentleman and friend, I headed to his showroom. Fortunately, he was available. I do not remember if I told him or not, but I do remember that his warmth and greeting to me was just enough to sustain me at that moment.
Fast forward to these last few years with many trips to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for his tests and treatments. We were so blessed to stay with our son Mark and his beautiful family during those years. Bob was a candidate for immune therapy. This treatment involves him taking only pills daily. Amazing!
However, the cost is really expensive, in the 5 figures monthly. But with our insurances, it’s 4 figures out of pocket for us monthly. Of course, this is what we do and are grateful to be able to do it even though he is now retired.
Bob is doing miraculously well! He is tested a lot. His care is now at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which is fantastic because it is known for its melanoma expertise.
You are probably thinking so what else is going on with you? Well, plenty is going on which I will share in my next post.
In closing however, I must tell you all that I never expected this post to take this turn as being a recap to Bob fighting his cancer. After pondering this change of content, I now know why.
Many of you are unaware of all that we have learned the hard way about melanoma. It is one of the most aggressive cancers with unpredictable profiles that make it a pretty scary battle to fight.
Therefore, it is imperative that I give you all these preventative measures that hopefully you will take very seriously.
- Never use tanning beds…ever!
- Always use sunscreen and reapply as needed, including ears and back of neck if walking or doing sports
- Wear hats and be smart about sunbathing
- Have yearly and thorough skin checkups by a dermatologist
- If you should have a melanoma removed, speak to your providers regarding periodic lung x-rays
- And lastly, please you all, just because medical advances are upon us, this is nothing to mess around with and most treatments like Bob’s are very expensive, even after insurance coverages.
No one is more surprised than I am with the content of this post! Perhaps it has to do with the inspirational view out my studio window that led me in an entirely different direction writing to you all this week.
Do not miss next week when I will actually share why we moved to Ohio plus my life as it is now. I hope that you do because I have a surprise give away available to all on my email lists!
Be well and live well my beloved followers!
In order to get the word out on this fairly unknown cancer’s path, please share this blog post. (https://bit.ly/2SM2d3H)
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