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Jon and Veda Foster
Jon has been a patient of Dr. Hoffman since 1998. He had surgery and radiation in 98 and 99. Then we were married in November of 99 and in February of 2000 Jon again had cancer this time in the larynx and Dr. Hoffman removed his voice box. When Jon found out they were going to do this he was so upset he wasn't going to have it. He didn't think he could live without a voice. I told him he need to find God. He replied he felt he already had, I told him I wasn't too sure about that. With encouragement from myself and Dr. Hoffman he decided that was his only option. He wanted me to divorce him when he found out he had cancer again. My first husband had died of cancer in 1988, and he didn't want me to have to go through it again. Of course I told him that was not an option.
He got through the surgery without any problems and was able to talk with the electro larynx within about 5 minutes once they gave it to him. The first time I visited him after he received it he told me, "I love you." I was able to understand everything he said. He did so well and had such a positive attitude he was an inspiration to the doctor and all the people he met. He was able to return to his job as a supervisor which thrilled him. He worked at that position until the plant he worked at closed and moved out of the state. He was unable to attain another job because of the 3 cancers he had and with only an artificial voice he could not find work. He was so disappointed because he felt he still had a lot to offer. He lamented many times about not being able to retire. He said he didn't feel like he had a handicap, and wanted to contribute.
He again had cancer in February of 2005 but again came through the surgery with flying colors and bounced back to his healthy self. When he told Dr. Funk he was going to go home in 7 days Dr. Funk told him he had never let one of his patients go home in less then 10 days (with that kind of surgery), and Jon would be no exception. Well, on the 6th day Dr. Funk came in the room and told him he was going to let him go home the next day. He said he had never seen anyone heal so fast. He was an exercise buff and worked out on a regular schedule. He absolutely loved being outside and the yard. We spent all our time together. We played a lot of golf, and rode bikes and walked almost everyday, but must say Jon was good to help with the stuff inside also. He always did the vacuuming and most of the dusting, maybe just so we could get done and head to the golf course.
When he made it 5 years without a reoccurrence we thought we were in the clear. We had spent our time doing the things we had dreamed of doing and had taken a couple of great trips seeing the battlefields of Gettysburg and a classmate in Texas. We tried to give back by supporting Dr. Hoffman's endeavors and by doing for others. Jon never once said why me. He was never bitter about all the times he had cancer and even in January when they diagnosed his spine cancer he was so sure he could beat it again. He didn't want anyone to tell him he wasn't going to make it. He told me he wanted to write a book,that he felt God wanted him to do it. When I asked him what it was going to be about he told me about a positive attitude and not giving up. He never got to put it on paper but I feel he lived the book. He was the most positive person I had ever met and I felt so bad because he wanted so much to live. He never gave up. Three days before he died he told me "I am not going to die. I am going to live." He will live in the hearts of all that knew him. He encouraged so many with his positive attitude and upbeat personality and tried so hard to be there for anyone who was going through a rough time. He always said, "When people hear the word CANCER they get so scared and most of them just give up, they need to know that your attitude can get you through almost anything if you keep it positive."
Dr. Hoffman did all he could with all he had at his disposal to help him do just that but God had another plan for him. He is so missed by all his family and friend and of course myself. I have to say the University Hospital and Clinics was a God send. We had the best doctors and finest nurses and were so very grateful to each and every one of them. If the day ever comes when they find a cure for all this cancer, I know Jon will be up there smiling. It was his dream, and a mission he took very serious. He often said if he had a billion dollars he would give it all for a cure to cancer.
I really can't put in words the gratitude I feel for Dr. Hoffman, Dr. Funk, Dr. Found, and the total staff at U of I Hospital and Clinics.
Jon and I both felt the Protocol was such a great thing when Dr. Hoffman showed us and what it did, we thought it would be good for people to be able to go there and find out about procedures and surgeries. Jon absolutely loved Dr. Hoffman and shared that with everyone he met. He always told him that he had to thank him for saving his life and he honestly felt that way. Dr. Hoffman was always there for us, whether it was a email, or a visit, we always were able to find out the answers to our questions. Never once did we feel like we were short changed. A more dedicated doctor you would be hard pressed to find.