Rehab Makes the Difference

Robert Anslyn was no stranger to cancer. In 1998, he underwent a procedure to remove part of his larynx. In May 2006, physicians removed Bob's left kidney. Yet in four short weeks, Bob was back to enjoying his favorite past time of golf. Cancer was not going to get him down. In addition to being an avid golfer, Bob frequented the gym three days a week since he was 50 years old.

In April 2007, Dr. Paul Joslin, Internist, informed Bob that he made an appointment for him to meet with Dr. Alexander Pak's office, a cardiothoracic surgeon. The nodule, or small mass, they had been watching since November in Bob's left lung had changed and he needed additional testing. After having a PET scan, doctors determined they needed to remove Bob's lung. In June, Bob started chemotherapy, which lasted 12 weeks.

"I went from being 73 feeling like 50, to a 74-year-old man," Bob said.

When Bob started going to the Survivorship Center in September 2007, he couldn't walk and he was on oxygen all the time. He took it slow but Janice, Bob's fatigue therapist, wasn't afraid to push him a little. He did a lot of exercises on the stationary bike, the elliptical and treadmill. Bob's favorite activity, however, was playing golf on the Nintendo Wii game system. He dreamt of playing golf again and his workout was designed around his interests.  He always maintained his sense of humor and tried to keep a positive attitude. 

"I've made quite a bit of progress," said Bob. "I really believe that it was here [NKCH's Cancer Rehab Fatigue Management] that did it."

Bob said this cancer was harder for him. He had always been a perfectly healthy, athletic and competitive man, weighing in at 220 pounds, but not being overweight. The staff at the Survivorship Center had not only helped Bob physically, but they lifted his spirits as well. He tried to take the diagnosis lightly, but it did not come without adaptations for both Bob and his wife, Grace.

Grace says when Bob had part of his larynx removed, he was scared he wouldn't be able to make her laugh again, but he did. He was always making her laugh. Grace had to face the fear that cancer would take the man she loved so deeply, but she said her and Bob had an immense amount of trust and communication in their relationship. Grace says those two key pieces are necessary for a relationship to last like theirs did.

Grace says the one time he snapped at her because of his pain, he immediately summoned her over to kiss her in apology. A kiss was all he could offer, because he had lost his voice.

Bob lost his bout with cancer June 23rd 2008. 

Bob and Grace had the kind of love story people dream of having. Bob and Grace, married 41 years, spoke of each other with more love and admiration than is recognizable these days. Grace says, "There is no greater man than Bob. He was a wonderful father and a fabulous husband. Cancer might have taken his life, but it couldn't have his spirit." She says through a teary smile, "To every husband and wife-enjoy your spouse each and every day. Love them and be their best friend. You never know when it will be taken from you."

Grace, not only grateful to the staff at Fatigue Management for improving Bob's quality of life, she would like to thank NorthCare Hospice for all of their support and care at home, and especially Ellen Reynolds, his nurse, she was very special to him.

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