My Cousin Officer Scott Stoltz
God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. With your support Scott Stoltz can win the battle against CNS Lymphoma. As you go through life, you will learn that your world can change in the blink of an eye. Our family learned how true this was on Nov 8th, 2013….our lives changed forever. My husband, Scott (41 years old) has always been a hard worker as a full-time police officer with Ebensburg Boro Police Department, Ebensburg, PA. He is well known in the community and respected for his dedication and compassion for his job. On Nov. 7th my sister noticed Scott had a right side facial droop and that evening I noticed that Scott seemed extremely confused but he was adamant he was tired.
The next day the symptoms seemed to have gotten worse. Scott forgot to go to work, which is very unusual for him. He got ready for work, kissed me, and shot me a half a smile. My heart sank. Something was wrong. Along with the facial droop and confusion, Scott was sleeping a lot more than usual, and he was experiencing extreme fatigue and dizziness. Thoughts were stroke so I immediately to him to the ER where we would soon find out something was seriously wrong, but it wasn’t a stroke.
Scott had a CT scan of his head, which revealed an abnormality, a lesion. Therefore, an MRI was ordered. As we awaited the results we were in a state of confusion…what could that abnormality be?? We prayed. Finally the doctors came in and told us that the MRI indicated that he had a tumor on the left thalamus, deep within his brain.
I felt my eyes fill up with tears…a what? How could this be? Not my husband, not my family. It was like someone just punched me in the gut. I couldn’t breathe. What do we do? We made a decision to seek out treatment in Pittsburgh (68 miles away). That night we stayed in the local hospital and left for Pittsburgh the next day. On Nov 10th, while at UPMC Presbyterian, Scott underwent a more sophisticated MRI where he had guide markers placed on his head for a brain biopsy that was scheduled for the next day.
The biopsy was successful and the surgeon debriefed us; he secured a good tissue sample and it was malignant. What?? Cancer? We had to wait for the official pathology report to confirm the type of brain tumor he had. With an outpouring of support and inspiration I chose to think positively and be strong, not only for my husband, but also for our 3 children. I couldn’t even wrap my head around what my husband must be feeling. Being the tough guy that he is, he comforted his family and hid his feelings but I knew deep down that it was scary for him too. Scott was discharged 2 days later.
However, as the week progressed he regressed. He had extreme headaches, forgetfulness, right-sided weakness, and increased lethargy. On Nov. 15th we headed back to Pittsburgh and he had another surgery for a shunt placement; 27 staples later Scott was sent home again. On Nov. 22 we went to the Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh to learn the official results and treatment options.
The doctor was confident that it was Lymphoma, specifically Primary CNS Lymphoma (PCNSL). He explained that this is a very rare type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, it is highly aggressive, and has a high recurrence rate. It is treatable and curable but there is not a confirmed treatment regimen that has proven to be successful because not very many chemotherapy agents will penetrate the blood brain barrier (the protective coating of the brain).
After a host of other tests, his diagnosis was confirmed. He was offered a clinical trial specifically for PCNSL and was chosen as a candidate for an autologous stem cell transplant part of the trial. An implantable port was placed in his chest and he began inpatient Chemotherapy on Dec 5th. Scott’s Chemotherapy consists of 5 days of inpatient (2 times per month) at Shadyside Hospital.
During the off weeks, he receives an outpatient treatment (2 times per month). At home he takes an oral Chemotherapy for 5 days (1 time per month) along with other medications to counteract the chemo effects. Scott had an MRI last week to determine how the tumor is responding to treatment and the results reveal that the tumor is shrinking!! Scott needs to continue to focus on getting healthy but the financial hardship is beginning to consume him with unnecessary stress and anxiety. Currently Scott is unable to work
and I continue to try to work full-time and take care of our family between lengthy trips to Pittsburgh. Scott is completing his 4th inpatient treatment and has 6 more to go all of which have to occur in Pittsburgh due to the clinical trial. Currently his medical bills have been calculated at $485,834 prior to starting his 4th round of treatment, some of which are not covered by his health insurance. Scott will also have the stem cell transplant projected for June 2014. This procedure will require Scott to be in isolation for 4 weeks.
Scott is extremely honored that he has the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial that may help to guide the future treatment of others affected with PCNSL. Our family would be blessed and appreciate any support that you can provide to Scott to off set the cost of his treatment so he can focus on beating cancer and worry less about the financial burden that we have incurred. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and with the support and encouragement of others he can win the battle. Feel free to share our page! To contribute to Scott’s fight please click on the link Thank you and may God bless you!