For those of you who know Jacob as the silly and charming boy who is full of life and active in many sports, his sudden health problems undoubtedly came as quite a shock.
On March 23, 2011 Jacob was flown from Marquette General to a large children’s hospital downstate because he suffered from back pain and numbness in his legs. That night he had an MRI that revealed a tumor on his spine. The following morning, Jacob spent several hours undergoing surgery to remove the tumor which was cancerous. He was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare cancer that is found in the bones as well as soft tissue.
Jacob underwent a month of physical therapy at Mary Free Bed and started chemotherapy in the meantime. Chemo was very hard on Jacob. Ken and Erin were not impressed with the care Jacob was getting. So after three months of him being horribly sick, extremely depressed and losing 14 pounds, Jacob’s parents pulled him out of treatment. With a clean PET Scan and MRI, it was all about getting Jacob healthy again – mentally and physically.
Soon after, the hospital reported Jacob’s parents to Child Protective Services for medical neglect. That was the beginning of 15 months of fighting the State of Michigan in court. Two judges were dismissed and the third Judge closed the case – Twice! Still, the State of Michigan pushed on due to the encouragement of the hospital. The State then filed with the Court of Appeals.
In the meantime of waiting for a response, on September 25, 2012 another tumor was found on Jacob’s spine. This time, not knowing what to do and afraid of a hospital mistreating their son again, Ken and Erin just wanted to make sure that Jacob had a great surgeon. They were sent to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin located in Milwaukee, WI. The next day Jacob had surgery to remove most of the tumor and recovered quickly. His parents were unsure of putting Jacob through chemotherapy again, but the oncologists assured them that this time would be different – that the first time the other hospital had him on some type of clinical trial that Ken and Erin didn’t know of nor approve.
In October, Jacob started chemotherapy once more and is doing wonderful! He has not been sick, has gained weight and best of all, he is in good spirits! Praise the Lord! Jacob’s oncologists have recommended that they do the rest of the chemo and radiation in Green Bay as it will be closer to home. Not only is Ken and Erin so thankful and pleased with the treatment Jacob is now getting and with the Doctors, but Jacob is so very thankful also!
During this time, and in the long road ahead, the Stieler’s need your love and support to make sure that their brave and beautiful son is able to return home, as healthy and happy as ever.