Rebuilding a Life: Ron’s Story
“Outside of being born, I’d never been to a hospital,” says Ron. The owner of a design company in Cambridge, Ohio, Ron had lived 48 years with few health complaints. “I rarely took an aspirin. Then cancer hits me, and all of the sudden I’m on 21 pills a day.”
Nearly two years ago, Ron began to feel exceptionally tired, a condition he attributed to the stress of a 30-year career delivering creative ideas to demanding clients. That was, until his vision started to double and he began to feel constant pain on his right side. “I thought I was going to have a stroke, but my doctor said I checked out in perfect health.” Persistent pain sent Ron back to his doctor, who recommended a visit to a neurologist. Tests revealed a tumor in Ron’s brain.
Though Ron’s brain tumor was successfully removed by surgeons in his area, his recovery was fraught with complications. “I had a lot of swelling after my surgery, and the piece of my skull removed to reach my tumor became so infected, it had to be removed,” he says. “I began to lose confidence in the care I was receiving and my loved ones were really concerned for my well being.”
On the advice of friends, Ron made a visit to The James and Robert Cavaliere, MD.
“The James fit what I was looking for. When Dr. Cavaliere stepped in, he was focused. He knew what he wanted to do for me,” says Ron. “I wanted to understand everything I was experiencing. I had a lot of questions about my treatment, the swelling in my left temporal area and the multitude of drugs I was taking. I would e-mail Dr. Cavaliere with questions, and he would get right back to me. He even took the time to talk hockey with me,” he laughed. “The PCAs, the RNs, the oncology team, everyone there embraced me, listened to me and counseled me when I needed it most. Dr. Cavaliere has even asked me to present at a conference on brain tumors at The James. I’ve made a lot of friends there.”
With two years behind him and counting, Ron is sympathetic to those that may be receiving a diagnosis today. “You’re dealing with the big unknown. In the beginning, it’s hard to wrap your mind around what it is you’re dealing with, and trying to figure it out is like when I tried to study and learn Latin,” he says. “Who is going to explain all of this to you? Doctors may not have the time to go into great detail. The Internet can be helpful, but you have to be careful to avoid biased information. All you can do is gather what information you can about your condition, prepare the best you can and make the biggest jump of your life. It’s a challenge to put your life in someone else’s hands, but I put my trust in The James, and I’m still here and can begin to rebuild my life.”