MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Shoreview couple is battling life-threatening illnesses at the same time, all while trying to be parents to their two boys.
In March, Rachel Gutierrez was entered into a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic.
“I’m coded as radiologically isolated syndrome, which means I have MS on paper and scans but can’t treat it,” Rachel said.
A short time later, her husband Alex suffered a seizure. And after further testing, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
For Alex and Rachel Gutierrez, it seems like only yesterday that life was normal. But in the span of three months, baseball games and family time have been replaced by endless doctor visits and treatments.
“We were out with the kids and I went to talk to them and I just couldn’t. My mouth just didn’t work,” Alex said.
Right after Rachel’s diagnosis, Alex suffered a seizure that led to tests and eventually the discovery of tumors on his brain.
“We came back six weeks later and they had grown. And they did a biopsy and turned out I had gioblastoma, which is a pretty aggressive kind of brain cancer,” Alex said.
Alex is a captain with the Department of Natural Resources and Rachel works for Mounds View schools. But last month they left their jobs and home behind and temporarily moved to Rochester to keep up with almost daily treatments. Alex has been receiving proton radiation, which causes side effects.
“I’m having severe seizures in my left side and I have kind of lost dexterity in my hand and foot,” Alex said.
They’re dealing with a life-threatening situation all while trying to make a life for their 7- and 10-year-old sons.
“Our boys have pretty big dreams from themselves. We just want him to be around to see all that,” Rachel said. “People who see us and come pray with us, it’s been a lot.”
“It’s been very emotional but it’s been an incredible journey in the sense of the support we’ve received,” Alex said.
The Gutierrez family said they also want to thank members of his law enforcement family and complete strangers who’ve reached out to them from across the country. Alex will undergo six months of chemotherapy beginning in August.