Robert Michael Strzemp's journey to beat lung cancer

My husband, Robert Michael Strzemp, was diagnosed with lung cancer a month ago. Today we went back to his oncologist for results from a PET scan and MRI of the brain. Bad news- he has non-small cell squamous carcinoma of the lung which has metastisized to his liver, right lung (it started in the lower lobe of the left lung, his verterbrae and more skeletal areas. He is turning 60 next month. He beat neck cancer in 2000, he beat quintuple by-pass surgery in 2010 and many small set-backs in between. We are at the crossroad of feeling the pain of the past and fearing the future. It is a bad place to be. He is scheduled to start chemotherapy next week and the prognosis is that he has from 3 months to 3 years to live. We have been married for 14 and a half years and have not known a time that has not been recuperating from an illness. I had disc surgery in 2012 which left me unable to use my hands and arms completely. I also had a heart ablation in 2010-my heart has been better since then. We are pretty much alone in the world and take strength from each other. I have lost 5 friends in the last 14 years to either heart attacks or cancer. I have lost two beloved dogs this past 18 months. But regardless-----one can never give up. Barbara

8 Replies

  • My heart goes out to you both, and your courageous battle with so many ailments and misfortunes is awesome. One of my dear friends has had a similar diagnosis to your HB and I feel sad and defeated for him. I have atrial fib - like you? Plus a few other conditions. But you're right, we must go on. And not lose hope I guess. Best wishes, janR.

  • Thank you Jan. I feel you are never really alone when people such as yourself respond so sweetly. The heart ablation ended my atrial fib after 25 years of a very bad condition. Get a good cardiologist and see what can be done. Barbara S.

  • Stay in there. It is a horrible diagnosis but get all the support and help you can. Have you got a local hospice? They are wonderful at providing support and care and often have day therapy units. I have stage 4 NSCLC and visit our hospice on a regular basis. It is friendly,comfortable and a safe place to express your fears. It has helped us through some very tough times. I also try to have a trip out each day. Sometimes it's coffee with friends. walk in the park, finding a bluebell wood , hunting a wisteria in full bloom. This rotten disease had made me appreciate many simple things that you often don't notice. You have been through so much together already that it really doesn't seem fair but as out daughter says , 'If life was fair we'd be millionaires and politicians would be cleaning toilets!' It sort of sums it up. Jenny

  • Jenny, Thank you for a good laugh today-millionaires and politicians can't really have that much fun. Thanks for the hospice suggestion. I will take care of Bob at home and we will work with a very good group of oncologists. You really can't let sadness and depression get in the way of making good, sound decisions and with the help of the higher power above---efforts will not be lost. Barbara S.

  • I wish you both all the best and courage to fight on. have faith in God. your husband is a fighter and is relatively young. consider newly approved modality of treatment such as Immunotherapy and even cancer vaccine and virotherapy. Is your husband Adenocarcinoma or Squamous Cell? does he have a treatable mutations ?


  • Squamous cell. I wish you the very best also. I know that no one is truly alone and wonderful people like you make all things tolerable. There is a new chemotherapy drug that the FDA approved six months ago. If the two drugs they will start with do not have desired result-this new drug can be used. With all funding that is put into research, I am sure that one day this cancer will not be a death sentence. We look upward for additional inspiration. Barbara S.

  • Hello my quest, I really feel for you and your husband. At least you appear to be fighters and not giving in to this nasty disease. I myself have been fighting various ailments and now on with another cancer. All you can do is stay as positive as possible.

    Lots of love to you both. xxxx

  • Thank you so much for your good wishes. No one should give up! My friend who passed away last year always told me that no one ever knows what tomorrow brings and if you are at all positive in thought you are sure it will be something good. Only God knows what tomorrow holds and his purpose for us is unknown and we must trust that HE knows what he is doing. I am not very religious but I do believe in a higher power out of myself. I am sorry for your life set backs but you have a consolation that we are here to help you, my dear. Barbara S.

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