He found that hope in the most unusual way: his car salesman, Jim Turner, at Castrucci Ford.
“My wife didn’t like climbing into my pickup truck, so we had gone to see Jim to trade it in for a vehicle that was more to her liking,” recalls Coombs, 69, of Colerain Township. “Jim knew about my pancreatic cancer diagnosis and that I was sort of struggling with my options. That’s when he told me about Steve Holt.”
Holt, 58, of Mason, had also recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was experiencing some success in treatment at UC Health.
Through a phone call facilitated by their mutual car salesman, Holt and Coombs shared their experiences with what Holt calls “a time stamp on your life.” After that conversation, Coombs felt rejuvenated and decided to get a second opinion with Holt’s oncologist, Olugbenga Olowokure, MD, of UC Health.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the way I was treated or the options I was given in the community,” recalls Coombs. “Dr. Olowokure and Steve helped me see that even when there seems like there is no hope left, some still exists. It’s amazing how a positive person can help you think about things differently.”
Coombs decided to enjoy the time he had to its fullest potential. Between aggressive chemotherapy treatments, he took up golf again and in June 2011 he and his wife, Mariann, took their children and grandchildren on a trip to Disney World.
Adds Holt: “I truly believe UC has a fantastic group of people who aren’t out for fame and glory—they have a genuine concern for people with cancer and want to eradicate this disease through research. I have so much faith, hope and trust in the team.”
“Hope is such a major part of your well being. You have to believe that you can beat the disease,” adds Steve. “Sure, I have slow days and bad days—but I’m still here and I have maintained my quality of life, despite the cancer.”
Adds Olowokure: “Steve and Jerry are amazing patients whom despite their circumstances have chosen to approach life with big hearts. On their individual chemotherapy days they can be seen trying to encourage other patients.”
››To learn more about pancreatic cancer clinical trials at the UC Cancer Institute, call (513) 584-0436.
››To find an oncologist, visit ucphysicians.com.