[Fcs-faculty] Rest of the message

Robert Nathan Mayer Robert.Mayer at fcs.utah.edu
Mon Sep 16 14:32:31 MDT 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

As you know, I received the news recently that despite active treatment, the cancer in my liver is growing. We have had to change treatment plans (which I have outlined below if you're interested), and the new treatments will require me to take some time to rest and recover. I have been thinking for several months about applying for disability leave from work, and have decided that this is the time. As much as I love my job, it's time for me to direct the energy I have fully to spending time with Jack and fighting this stupid disease. My last day at work is scheduled for October 3, although it could be pushed earlier once the dates for the initial procedures have been scheduled. This leave is expected to be permanent. I am so lucky to have such amazing support from Pat (at CTLE) and Rob and Lori and my other colleagues at FCS, who are helping me figure out how to make the transition a smooth one for my staff and students (and ultimately, for me). 

I came to the University of Utah as a graduate student in 2001, began work at CTLE in 2007, and became a member of the faculty in FCS in 2008. I am very sad to be leaving, but also feel very honored that I had the chance to work with and learn from so many amazing people. At every step along the way, I have felt supported and inspired by the people around me, including the faculty, administration, staff, and students. I am very lucky to be able to say that I love what I do, and that I will miss both the work and especially the people. 

Although being a stay-at-home mommy is likely to prove more exhausting than a full time job at the University, I know I have lots of people around me who are willing to help out to make sure I have the time I need to rest and go to appointments. So although this is a decision that was very difficult to make, I feel like it is absolutely the right one, and I am looking forward to having more time with my bug.

The new treatment plan:  I will be receiving some liver-directed treatments, likely the radioembolization procedure I received last October (to which we got great response), and potentially chemoembolization, where they inject the same microscopic beads, but this time full of chemo drugs (one that I've responded well to in the past). These embolization procedures are promising because they deliver a lot of treatment directly to the tumors, without a lot of side effects. I will simultaneously be starting on a weekly chemo regimen to fight the smaller tumors that won't be targeted as part of the embolization procedures, as well as whatever the embolization procedures leave behind. This chemo will make me lose my hair again, but because it is a lower dose spread out over time, I should have fewer side effects in terms of nausea or tiredness. Still, as there is no recovery period in between, I will likely have low energy most of the time. If the chemo proves to be effective, I will continue this regimen for as long as possible.


Beverly A. Brehl, PhD
Associate Director, Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence (CTLE) Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Department of Family and Consumer Studies University of Utah


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