“Outside of being born, I’d never been to a hospital,” says Ron Fichthorn, age 48. As the owner of a design company in Cambridge, Ohio, Ron enjoyed a busy life and career with very few health complaints.
“I rarely took an aspirin. Then cancer hits me, and all of the sudden I’m on 21 pills a day,” he said.
Ron first remembers feeling exceptionally tired, a condition he attributed to the stress of his career. But then his vision started to double and he began to feel constant pain on his right side. A visit to his primary doctor revealed nothing. Persistent pain finally sent him to a neurologist, where tests showed a tumor in Ron’s brain.
Though a local surgeon successfully removed Ron’s brain tumor, his recovery was fraught with complications. There was a lot of swelling in his left temporal area, the part of the brain on the side, close to the ear. A piece of the skull — initially removed, then replaced during surgery — became infected. This part of his skull ultimately had to be removed altogether.
“I began to lose confidence in the care I was receiving, and my loved ones were really concerned for my well-being,” said Ron.
Friends encouraged Ron to make an appointment at the OSUCCC – James.
“The OSUCCC – James fit what I was looking for. When Dr. Robert Cavaliere stepped in, he was focused. He knew what he wanted to do for me,” says Ron.
Dr. Cavaliere helped Ron through his recovery process and explained everything.
“I would email Dr. Cavaliere with questions, and he would get right back to me. He even took the time to talk hockey with me,” Ron laughed. “The PCAs, the RNs, the oncology team, everyone there embraced me, listened to me and counseled me when I needed it most.”
With several years behind him and counting, Ron is cancer-free. He is sympathetic to those who may be receiving a diagnosis today and understands how confusing it is in the beginning. He advises patients to do as much research as they can about their condition.
“It’s a challenge to put your life in someone else’s hands, but I put my trust in the OSUCCC – James, and I’m still here and can begin to rebuild my life,” Ron said.