I was diagnosed with a high grade Monophasic Synovial Sarcoma in my right calf on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010.

Since that day I have been continually humbled by the support I have received from not only my family and friends, but complete strangers as well. The prayers and notes of support sent to both me and my parents have touched me more than I can express.

Upon being diagnosed with this rare form of cancer, we immediately put out a search to find the best doctor to cure this disease. The response we received said that the “Derek Jeter” of sarcomas was Doctor Gerald Rosen in New York City. He wasn’t seeing any new patients, but by the grace of God he agreed to take on my case and said he would see me immediately. We flew to NYC to see Dr. Rosen on the Monday following my diagnosis. Within minutes of meeting him I knew I had found my doctor. His confidence and straight forward manner immediately put us at ease and there is no doubt in my mind that I am in the best hands I could possibly be in.

My tumor is quite large. It has been compared to the size of an apple (8.3cm at it’s longest point). There are some things that complicate my situation, but there are even more things to be thankful for. Despite the size of my tumor, it has not spread anywhere else in my body, which is one of the greatest blessings we could have asked for. This type of tumor tends to spread to the lungs, among other areas, and having my tests come back clear took a great weight off of all of our minds. However, I was told today by Dr. Rosen that we are not yet out of the woods on saving my leg because the arteries and the nerve bundle are running through the center of the tumor.

Dr Rosen likes to treat these tumors with very aggressive doses of chemo, coupled with radiation, and shrink them as much as possible before surgically removing them. As he put it, the surgery is the coup de grace for this type of cancer. We want it to get as small as possible in order to make sure that the surgery removes it all. If any cells remain after surgery then the cancer will return. It is our hope that the chemo will help shrink the tumor away from the blood vessels and nerve bundle, but only time will tell how it will play out.

8 Responses to Diagnosis

  1. Jennifer says:

    Praying for you and your family Rob!

  2. Lydia Ann Breedlove says:

    You “come from strong stock” on both sides. Your positive attitude and winning way will get you safely through this. Your writing is outstanding, and that’s coming from a college English teacher !
    Lydia Ann Breedlove

  3. Ashley O'Connor Bowersock says:

    WoW! I just now am finding out about all of this. My prayers are with you and your family and for your strength and positive outlook! please keep us updated!

  4. Casey Nutter says:

    Hey Rob! My mom emailed me the news this morning and I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be praying for you and your family and that the chemo and surgery will wipe all the cancer out! It was really good to read your blog (the english teacher’s right …. you’re a great writer!) as well as completely encouraging and humbling to see what an awesome attitude you’ve had through all this! Stay positive!

    -Casey Nutter

  5. Bruce Lauriault says:

    You sound like a tough cookie-I played Football with your Dad in high school.Your Dad was a great leader and many people really love him-I have contacted many old Spartans and your story is spreading like wildfire with Churches praying for you.My Church Calvary Chapel of the Triad now known as THE BRIDGE has people praying around the clock for you.Look forward to meeting you after your victory. Many other Churches are getting involved daily asking GOD to help you beat this.
    in peace and battle,
    Bruce Lauriault

  6. Laurenc Bachmann says:

    Hello Rob:

    I just received an email from scott black johnson and wanted to write and say you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. From your werbsite it is pretty clear you have both courage and humility–two essential ingredients to dealing with adversity. Good luck and keep strong. Hope to meet you at 5th Ave Pres someday soon. All the best, Larry Bachmann

  7. Lisa Donofrio says:

    I want to meet you! I’m now 27 yrs old and I had a brain tumor at age 3 and went through radiation and some chemo-therapy. The brain tumor was removed by Dr Fred Epstein in 1987. I went through the radiation in 1986 to shrink the tumor. If you tell me what Hospital you are in I will visit you. I know most of the hospitals in manhattan. I could see you in church if you prefer but I am comfortable going into hospitals. My family and I will keep you in our prayers.

  8. Mandy Parkey Noland says:

    Hey Rob
    I just went to dinner with the Fermanian’s in San Diego and they told me all about what is going on and the blog. WOW just wanted you to know I was thinking of you and you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Keep being strong.

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