Allison Perry

From Stage IV to Cancer-Free: One Survivor's Story of Hope

Published: Nov 9, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2011) — One Thursday afternoon, Art Hellebusch received a prediction that no one wants to hear. After receiving a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer that had metastasized to the brain, the 51-year-old Lexingtonian was told he probably wouldn't live through the night and definitely wouldn't last another week.

 

That was Feb. 19, 2009.

 

Today, Hellebusch is proud to say that he's cancer-free, thanks to the help of physicians at Lexington Clinic, St. Joseph Hospital, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

 

Hellebusch's problems began in the summer of 2008. He noticed trouble with his balance and spotty vision, and he started having migraines every day. When his symptoms became too troublesome to ignore, he went to the doctor. His internist scheduled an MRI, and when the results came back, he was sent to a local oncologist.

 

The diagnosis was shocking. He was younger than the average patient. A cyclist, Hellebusch got plenty of exercise, regularly riding 150 miles a week on his bike. He led a healthy lifestyle.

 

"I've never smoked a day in my life," he said. "But I had lung cancer."

 

Despite the bleak prognosis, Hellebusch did not give up his fight. After receiving 15 days of maximum radiation to his brain to shrink the tumor and a few rounds of chemotherapy, he had surgery at St. Joseph Hospital to remove the tumors from his brain.

 

His first oncologist recommended palliative care to assist with pain management and end-of-life issues. As the owner of a health care company and the son of a former UK physician and nursing professor, he knew he had other options and wanted the most aggressive treatment possible.

 

"When he told me we were going to start palliative and maintenance care, I thought, 'That doesn't sound like the direction I'm going!'" Hellebusch said.

 

He switched oncologists and insisted on a PET scan to determine if his cancer was still active and growing. The PET scan found that his lung cancer was still "hot." After making an appointment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, he took the results of his PET scan in to  Dr. Susanne Arnold, a medical oncologist at the Markey Cancer Center. For Hellebusch, Arnold's calm and compassion made all the difference.

 

"The first thing she did was give me a hug," Hellebusch said. "You've got to have hope during treatment, you have to have people who provide hope to you."

 

At Markey, he received systemic chemotherapy for a year, in conjunction with the lung surgeries and radiation treatment he underwent at MD Anderson. Arnold, in collaboration with the physicians at MD Anderson, also treated Hellebusch with the drug bevacizumab for four cycles to treat his brain necrosis.  

 

Today, after radiation, chemotherapy, and four surgeries, Hellebusch is slowly recovering his strength and happy to be alive. He will continue to visit both his physicians for followup appointments, but right now, he's considered cancer-free. And he's cycling again, though his 150-mile per week mileage has been cut to roughly 25-30 miles a week. He's even ridden his bicycle to a few of his follow-up appointments at Markey.

 

Hellebusch will be active again this Sunday, when he joins the state's first-ever Free to Breathe walk, held on UK's campus. Free to Breathe is a national event that raises awareness and research funding to defeat lung cancer. Lung cancer kills nearly twice as many women as breast cancer, and it is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the United States.  Despite this, lung cancer receives less government funding per death than other types of cancer.

 

All proceeds from Free to Breathe events benefit the National Lung Cancer Partnership’s research, education and awareness programs. Since the event series began in 2006, it has raised more than $3.6 million with 100 percent of the net proceeds dedicated to making a difference for people affected by lung cancer and to directly funding programs of change.

Hellebusch says he has already raised roughly $5,000 for the event. He also attends lung cancer support groups at UK, says he hopes that by sharing his story with other patients, he'll give them that same spark of hope that he himself was given. On Sunday, he hopes that the walk will give participants a reason to celebrate.

 

"I hope it will be a big, festive day," Hellebusch said. "I tell people, you don't even have to walk — just come out and have a look around."

 

The Free to Breathe walk will begin at the new pavilion of the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital on Nov. 13. The walk officially begins at 9:15 a.m., with registration at 8 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow.  For more information on how to register, donate, sponsor or volunteer for this event, visit Lexington's Free to Breathe site, or contact the co-chairs at lisa.maggio@gmail.com or ginakinsella@yahoo.com.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu.

img_0452.jpghat_edit.jpgimg_0450.jpg
February
 
1
Graduate Student Congress Meeting (February)
Mon
2
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Tue
3
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
4
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Thu
5
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #1
Panel Discussion: Historic Homes
Fri
6
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
7
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
8
K Crew Recruitment
Sex and Chocolate
Law School Prep Workshop
Mon
9
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Healthy Relationships Workshop
How to Package Communication and Technical Skills on your Resume
2016 Distinguished Industry Lecture Series
Tue
10
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Pinterest Party #1
Get Yourself Tested!
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Showcase your Talents: Building a Strong Portfolio
An Evening with Tatyana Ali and Amir Windom: Progression Towards Success
How to Survive a Plague
Wed
11
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Coffee & Canvases
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Study Abroad in Berlin!
Horticulture Club Valentine's Day Sale
Thu
12
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Horticulture Club Valentine's Day Sale
Ash and the Market: Ceramic Exchange, Political Economy, and the Late to Terminal Classic Transformation of the Kiuic Polity
Fri
13
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Learn to Play Bridge
Workshop: The Artist Statement
Sat
14
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
15
K Crew Recruitment
See ICT
Patterson School Guest Speaker Series
Mon
16
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
See ICT
UK Women's Forum February Board Meeting
Tue
17
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Food For Thought
Wed
18
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Soup & Substance: Real Talk, Real Issues, & Real People Series
Thu
19
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #2
SAB Underground Formal
Fri
20
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
21
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
22
Undergraduate Research Information Session
University Health Service- Let It Go
Mon
23
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
University Health Service- Know Your Numbers
University Health Service- Mindful Eating
Tue
24
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Don't Blame It On Aging
Ravi Zacharias at Memorial Coliseum
Wed
25
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
26
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Eday Talk by Georgetown Toyota President Wil James
Do What You Are: Connecting Personalities w/ Profession
Off- Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #3
Traditions and Transformations in Tz’utujil Territory, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, 500 BC – 1524 AD
Concert in the Museum: Central Music Academy
Fri
27
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK E-Day
Pre-Opera Dinner
Sat
28
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
DanceBlue Rave Hour
Sun
29
Monday through Friday - Midterm Grading window is open. The mid-term grading window will close at midnight on March 11.
Monday through Wednesday - Students are prohibited from changing academic major
Bodies Of Evidence: Provocations: A Transnational Feminist History Project
Mon
 
 
 
 
 
Feb 12
Bill Adams: Blue Madness 02/12/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Sun Apr 03 2016 .
Sat, 02/13/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Mon Apr 04 2016 .
Sat, 02/13/2016

Sat, 02/13/2016

Reset Page