Young mother diagnosed with bone cancer

Sept. 22, 2008

Benefit has been set for Friday at Dassel Covenant Church

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

At the age of 26, Robin Pettit was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer most commonly found in children and young adults.

As a result of the birth of her second son, Cash (who is now 2 years old), Pettit’s sacrum had moved in her spine. This is what the doctor continued to assume was the problem and didn’t look into it any further.

After having a lot of pain in her hip, a late-term miscarriage, and a doctor who refused to give her an X-ray, Pettit decided to go elsewhere for a second opinion.

In March 2007, just a month after she and her husband, Ryan, moved into their new home north of Kingston, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma.

The X-ray that was given after switching doctors showed half of her hip bone was gone, and an MRI showed a tumor the size of a football, according to Pettit.

“That was frightening to see,” Pettit said about the disappearance of her hip bone.

Following the MRI at the St. Cloud hospital, Pettit was told only the University of Minnesota or the Mayo Clinic in Rochester could handle this type of cancer.

At the university, Pettit completed four rounds of treatment, had the tumor removed, and had a total hip and pelvis replacement in July 2007.

Due to complications with chemotherapy, Pettit was cut short from the treatment regimen.

The university told her that was all they could do as far as treatment. She was referred to the Mayo Clinic.

There, doctors found another small growth, which they refused to biopsy unless it got bigger because of Pettit’s previous complications with treatment.

Now, Pettit continues to recover from chemotherapy, which the doctors say could take up to five years.

Pettit says she still has “chemo brain,” which is what cancer patients call it when they can’t remember things they once knew.

She misses riding horses and barrel racing, but is “happy to see another day.”

Robin continues therapy and exercises to gain strength.

“Walking is still a challenge,” she said.

Ryan’s life has also changed. The 1993 Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted graduate was an avid hunter, hunting pheasant and deer. He recently sold his favorite hunting dog to pay bills.

He spends much of his time doing home care for Robin, and provides plumbing services when he can.

Prior to getting sick, Pettit worked at her husband’s parent’s bowling alley in Maple Lake.

What the Pettits are most appreciative of the generosity of they’ve received from the community.

For example, so he doesn’t have to give up his hobby entirely, a generous neighbor offered Ryan land to hunt near-by so he can be close to home.

Even being so new to the area, the Pettits have felt very welcome.

“We couldn’t be in a better place,” she said.

Robin is the daughter of Vicky and Butch Anderson of Monticello, and Ryan is the son of Jerry and Lynette Pettit of Howard Lake.

Pettit benefit this Friday

Because bills are high and income is low, the Kingston Lions are sponsoring a benefit supper and silent auction Friday, Sept. 26 at Dassel Covenant Church from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.

The benefit will feature live entertainment including Larry and Junice Anderson, Roger and Maribel Gilmer, and the Fiddlin’ Around group.

There will also be door prizes throughout the evening and a silent auction will begin at 4:30 p.m. and close at 6:30 p.m., with more than 100 items.

Some of the items include a signed baseball, bat, and photo of Jason Kubel of the Minnesota Twins, an autographed photo of Alan Page, the former Vikings player; four Timberwolves tickets, a hand-made quilt, a lot of beauty care packages, and Chanhassen Dinner Theatre tickets.

The menu includes homemade soups, breads, jams, and desserts.

There will be a minimum of $5 for the meal. Supplemental funds will be received through Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

“We will appreciate all who can come, but if you can’t, pray for us,” Robin said.

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