Sarcoma Story: Richard Berqual

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Type of Sarcoma: Leiomyosarcoma
Date of Diagnosis: 2004
Location: arm

In the early 2000’s Richard Berqual found a small lump about the size of a pea in his arm that was initially diagnosed as a blood clot. He was put on blood thinners, but the lump stayed. Eventually, the lump increased in size. He returned to the doctor and had surgery to remove it. The tissue was tested and on April 16, 2004 he was diagnosed with cancer. Four days later the cancer got a name. It was Leiomyosarcoma.

Later on a PET scan revealed the cancer had spread to his back. He was told to get his affairs in order right away. Six months was the estimated time he had left.  Chemotherapy did shrink the tumors and at one point tests showed he was cancer free. Unfortunately, a few short months later the cancer returned having moved to his liver and his lungs.

Richard endured over thirty rounds of chemotherapy, more than four months of daily radiation treatments, lung biopsy’s, liver biopsy’s, countless blood tests, blood transfusions, CT scans, PET scans, home IV’s, antibiotics, port flushes, MRI’s, hundreds of trips to the doctor’s office and hospital, multiple surgeries and countless other procedures too many to mention. Through all of this whenever you would ask him how he was doing his response was always the same. He would simply say “I’m Fine”

On July 10, 2011 cancer took his life. He passed away at home surrounded by those he loved, talking about the fun times we all shared. It was over seven years after that horrible day we first heard the word cancer enter our lives that we had to say our final good-byes.

Richard Berqual was my father. He was the strongest person I have ever known and ever will. He fought so long and hard to beat this horrible disease. He will never be forgotten and always be my hero.

By Cindy Berqual, Richard’s daughter

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