Roshar never suspected his vaguely nagging back and abdominal pain was
cancer. Instead, he ordered a more ergonomic chair for his office and
took Prilosec as prescribed by his internist. Then in January 2013,
Roshar discovered a blood clot in his right calf. The clot, which
often signals tumor activity, triggered a series of tests that
eventually resulted in the diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer that
had metastasized to his liver.
cancer is an insidious thing," says Roshar. "Itís
asymptomatic until itís almost too late."
Laura Cross, affiliate chair with the Milwaukee chapter of the
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, pancreatic cancer is the
fourth-deadliest cancer in the U.S. Currently, 74 percent of people
die within the first year of diagnosis.
Roshar is part of a growing group of people living with cancer long
term. When he was first diagnosed, doctors told him his life
expectancy was six to nine months. Now, nearly two years later, Roshar
maintains an active lifestyle despite "living with cancer."
Upon retiring from his law practice at Quarles & Brady last
October, he joined his church council and condominium board. He also
continues to exercise five days a week, golfs and travels frequently
with his wife.
attitude is very important," says Roshar. "I believe in the
power of prayer and miracles."
living well and pursuing his passions, Roshar has become dedicated to
raising awareness about pancreatic cancer and how devastating the
disease is for people affected. He is actively involved with Pan Can,
speaking at advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., and participating in
fundraising events like the PurpleStride walk at Miller Park.
is an inspiration," says Cross. "Heís creating hope for
Along with his
involvement in Pan Can, Roshar and his wife personally reach out to
other patients suffering from pancreatic cancer and their caregivers
around the country, offering encouragement and compassion.
that contact to help allay their fears and uncertainty," says
Not too long
ago, incurable cancers like stage 4 pancreatic cancer were referred to
as terminal. But with new and innovative developments in cancer
treatment, many incurable cancers are quite treatable, and patients
like Roshar are living a long time with cancer.
is to improve quality of life," says Dr. Paul Ritch, an
oncologist with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.
he has pancreatic cancer, Roshar has focused on controlling the
disease. Within days of his diagnosis, he had a port surgically
implanted and began undergoing chemotherapy. In the past 20 months,
Roshar has gone through nearly 40 rounds of chemotherapy at Moorland
Reserve Health Center near his home in New Berlin. He reports for
treatment every other Tuesday, then returns home with a pump that
infuses chemo for another 46 hours. On Thursdays, he returns to the
health center to have the pump removed and is on the golf course by
the afternoon. Ritch says though Rosharís treatment involves a
fairly aggressive regimen of drugs with a high level of toxicity, he
has tolerated it well.
been fortunate that I havenít really had any adverse
reactions," says Roshar.
In fact, Roshar
has responded better to treatment than anyone could have expected.
Although his cancer isnít curable, the tumors on his pancreas are no
longer visible in scans.
has always remained upbeat despite being handed such a grave
prognosis," says Ritch.
attitude is evident when he talks about the bright spots of his cancer
is closer," he says. "I appreciate life more. Itís a grim
diagnosis, but itís not a hopeless fight."