When Faced with Adversity, Bob Chose Positivity
At 87-years young, Bob Straup considers himself a down-to-earth, regular guy. He rode motorcycles; cruises in his convertible, Lola; adores his dog, Paxton; and appreciates each sunrise and sunset. Driven by positivity, this regular guy may live a simple life, but he has experienced his share of hardships.
“My attitude toward life and its challenges is don’t ruminate. I am a realist. There is no point in thinking about death because it’s going to come so you may as well be upbeat all the time. It helps.”
After serving in the Navy and travelling the world, Bob married Carol and started a family. Fast forward to 2011. It was then when he suffered a heart attack and lost his wife to cancer. Seven years later, he was in a motorcycle accident on his way to get a hamburger in his hometown.
When he arrived at UPMC Harrisburg, he underwent several tests. Although he appeared to be OK from the accident, a CT scan revealed a mass in his chest. A biopsy later confirmed he was positive for Adenocarcinoma.
“I didn’t have a clue that I had lung cancer.”
That’s when he was referred to Troy Moritz, DO, FACOS, chief of thoracic surgery at UPMC Central Pa. Bob was facing a robotic lobectomy in the left upper lobe, along with lymph node dissection. The less-invasive procedure enables the surgeon to use robotic arms to perform the operation. Patients experience less bleeding, a lower infection rate, and quicker recovery.
“Dr. Moritz was wonderful, and our communication was excellent. They told me everything that was going to happen. He knows what he’s doing.”
Bob’s surgery was performed at UPMC West Shore. The mass removed was found to be malignant, but fortunately had not metastasized or spread into other areas of his body. Chip Reninger, MD, medical director, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center-Central PA, was Bob’s oncologist and the next stop in his recovery process.
“Dr. Reninger is a fellow ex-Navy man, and he was excellent. He explained the whole situation with my cancer, giving me the pros and cons to follow up surgery and treatment options. Since my cancer was non-aggressive, he left it up to me. Although I had a portion of my lung removed, I decided not to do chemo. We worked as a team.”
Today, Bob is cancer-free and living life to the fullest. He attends follow up visits once a month and is quick to applaud the “super” nurses who made him laugh every day and put him at ease, treating him as he describes, like a baby boy.
“UPMC is excellent, and I would recommend them to anyone. They treat you like family, but they don’t pity you. They do their job well and make you feel positive. That’s what health care should be about.”