ALGONQUIN – In 2009, Dick Rehwaldt was diagnosed with bad news that was a double whammy. He had colon and esophageal cancer.
The cancer spread to his liver, and in November 2011, Rehwaldt had part of his liver removed, which led to complications from the surgery and a 21/2-month hospital stay.
While dealing with all of the emotional and medical hardships of cancer, Rehwaldt and his wife, Maureen, started going to the Wellness Place, where they could receive cancer education and support.
They have been so thankful for the support that the Algonquin residents will be participating in the Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run on Sunday.
The event is a fundraiser for the facility.
“We want to support this place,” Maureen Rehwaldt said. “We know money is tight everywhere. If we didn’t have this place to go to, we would be without a lot of services. It’s our way to give back to them for the services they provide.”
Maureen Rehwaldt is in a caregiver support group, while Dick Rehwaldt is in a men’s cancer group.
“It’s a place where guys can go, who have cancer, and talk to other guys who have cancer,” the 69-year-old Dick Rehwaldt said. “We understand each others problems, and ... we’re interested in each others situations. When we find something that’s new, in the medical field, we share it with everybody.”
Dick Rehwaldt is still going through chemotherapy every two weeks. During five-hour sessions, he receives infusions through a port in his body. He then has another bag of treatment that has to be pumped into his body at home.
He’s had three sessions of the chemo. He isn’t sure how long he’ll have to go through it, but the growth rate of the tumor has been decreasing, Dick said.
The treatment leaves him so fatigued that naps don’t leave him refreshed.
“I can take a nap, and wake up just as tired as when I went to sleep,” Dick Rehwaldt said.
Maureen Rehwaldt, 64, works as a nurse at the Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center. She started going to the support groups at the Wellness Place in Palatine two years ago.
Among the programs the Wellness Place offers are tai chi massage therapy, acupuncture and sessions on stress management.
She goes to her support group twice a month, where they talk about what everyone is going through.
“There’s sharing of mutual problems,” Maureen Rehwaldt said.
Sometimes the caregivers even give each other advice on various things, such as what to buy at a store.
“It’s a good place to have someone really listen to you and share your concerns and give support,” Maureen Rehwaldt said. “Friends can do that, but they don’t know what this journey is like. Other caregivers do.”
For more information about the Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk/Run at the Arboretum of South Barrington, go to http://www.wellnessplace.org/home/events/wellness-walk.
Registration and check-in is at 8 a.m. Sunday, with the event starting at 9 a.m.