After battling months of lower back pain, seeing orthopedics and neurologist, having scans done, and dropping weight uncontrollably, we finally saw a gastroenterologist who listened to our concerns and scheduled a colonoscopy on March 10th, 2020 where we learned the dreaded truth no parent ever wants to hear…He has cancer.
Appointments started the following day. We were faced with a CT scan that would determine if we were dealing with localized, regional, or metastasized cancer. More appointments would follow including seeing an oncologist, radiation oncologist, and colorectal surgeon; CT and PET scans, genetics testing, and pain management. Within a few days Rodney was officially diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer and we knew it was regional- meaning it was in his rectum and his pelvic lymph nodes were also invaded.
By March 18th, 2020 Chemo started. Rodney would go to the cancer center every other Wednesday to sit for several hours and have chemo shot through his body. He would come home on a continuous pump for 48 hours and then go back on Fridays to have the pump removed. This made Rodney uncontrollably nauseas and incredibly fatigued. He steadily lost weight due to lack of appetite. He suffered from the most common side effect; cold sensitivity, to the point he had to be careful just getting something out of the refrigerator. With the help of pain management, we were able to get his pain under control.
After months of chemo treatments, follow up scans revealed the tumor was shrinking and we would soon start chemo-radiation. These were 5 day each week for 6 weeks. A few weeks after chemo-radiation ended Rodney had more scans that would reveal the cancer had shrunk more and all the treatments were doing what they were intended to do.
Radiation ended just in time for deer hunting season! This was a huge blessing for Rodney. He was able to get out and enjoy the great outdoors again!
In December we were scheduled for surgery in January where Rodney would have part of his rectum removed and obtain a colostomy bag. After a few post-surgery complications, he was discharged home the following week.
Within 3 weeks, he had acquired an infection from surgery and had to be readmitted to the hospital for a night to have a drain placed. He would continue to deal with the drain for a month. During this time pathology reports came back, the cancer was REMOVED!
On April 29th Rodney went back in for surgery to have his colostomy reversed. This surgery went better than the previous and he was discharged home the next day.
We were finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel but well aware we would continue to have follow up appointments.
About 2 weeks after surgery, I received a phone call that cancer cells were found in the stoma that was removed during surgery. This was a complete shock to the surgeon. Nothing appeared abnormal during surgery. At this point she scheduled Rodney for a PET scan. Soon we would learn there was a small mass in one of his lungs and a suspicious area near his rectum. Rodney started a round of antibiotics in hopes the questionable area was just a small abscess. He was also scheduled for a follow up CT.
On 5/25/2021 we learned Rodneys cancer was back and it had metastasized, meaning it spread to other areas of his body including his spleen and abdomen. The oncologist told us at this time it is no longer curable but we need to start chemo treatments again to prevent it from spreading further. Round 2, treatment 1 began on 5/26/2021.
At this point the goal is to keep the cancer contained to the already affected areas, keep Rodney pain free, and work on marking things off his bucket list.
Rodney and his dad have talked about going on a big whitetail hunt since Rodney was a little boy and how big the buck must be before taking the shot. Our goal with this fundraiser is to make this wish a reality for Rodney.
Please know, any amount you are able to donate will go straight towards Rodney’s dream of getting to experience the hunt of a LIFETIME buck!