They say that trouble comes in threes, and if so, Jeremy Alber has already had more than his share, and then some.
Last October, Alber, then 40, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and abdominal cancer, after dealing with stomach issues that caused him a lot of pain. On Oct. 10, 2017, he underwent surgery to remove a foot of his colon and 13 cancerous lymph nodes.
The cancer has metastasized to his bladder, liver and lungs, according to his sister, Jodi Heethuis, R.N.
The diagnosis was a shock, as there are no signs of any cancer of this type on either side of Alber’s family, and he didn’t have any of the risk factors typically associated with colon cancer, including tobacco use.
In the past year, Alber has endured 10 months of chemotherapy, two surgeries and a possible third surgery, following suspicious new areas shown on his last PET scan, as he awaits for his results. Doctors have also found emphysema in his lungs, although he’s not a smoker, and a hernia in his abdomen.
Recently, Alber cracked a wisdom tooth and needs all four extracted, but he must be chemo-free for six weeks prior to the extractions, due to infection risk.
Meanwhile, Alber has kept his job at Precision Stamping in Howell, thanks to his very understanding and compassionate employers. However, he’s not going to be able to do this indefinitely, said his sister. “He applied for disability as working has become very difficult,” Heethuis said. “He was denied benefits because he actually works too much. His doctor recommends he quit his job and reapply for disability in a couple of months, but he needs his dental insurance for the wisdom teeth extraction.”
The trouble hasn’t stopped there.
The house where he and his wife, Christina and their three children, ages 11, 7 and 4, reside in the Linden school district, has had several expensive home repair issues, most recently, their furnace.