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Navy Chief Vows To Continue Sailing With Alimta/Cisplatin


Earl "Skip" Haupt is a 66-year-old retired Navy Chief who spends his days tending his land in beautiful Breeding, Kentucky. Before the sun can peek over the horizon, Skip is up out of bed, finishing his coffee and ready to take on the day.

Before becoming a Chief in the Navy, Skip was a Machinist's Mate. He spent 20 years sailing the world and was a self-proclaimed "expert" when it came to repairing or maintaining any machinery aboard the ships he served. His expertise became so well known, his superiors ordered him to shore duty to serve as an instructor at the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Akron, Ohio, sharing his wisdom with new recruits. According to Skip, those were the worst days of his Navy time. He preferred sea-legs to shore-legs.

"I got to be so lonely to be back aboard ship they let me go 'cuz I wouldn't stop bothering them about it! I'm a sailor, through and through and belong on the water."

Skip finally got his wish and was shipped back to sea. In 1979, he retired from the Navy and returned home to his native Pennsylvania. He retired for good in 1995 and he and his wife Kay moved to Kentucky. They settled in Breeding for two reasons. First of all, it was a beautiful place, 80 acres of rolling grass, trees and several creeks. Secondly, it was a good mid-point for their families who lived in Pennsylvania and Florida.

Chief Skip Haupt 1971
Skip and Kay were high school sweethearts that drifted apart after Skip joined the Navy in 1959. Skip loves to tell the tale of how they rekindled their love.

"In 1980, after several bad relationships, I swore off women for good. On Christmas Day of 1980, I was home at my parent's house in Pittsburgh when Kay called from Florida where she was living. She had always kept in touch with my parents after I took to the sea. My mom handed me the phone and, well, as soon as I got off the phone I walked into the living room and told my parents to ignore any previous talk about swearing off woman. We were married on August 10, 1981."

Skip and Kay have several horses, cattle and four chickens to care for, in addition to "too many cats," according to Skip. Also, Skip and Kay are raising two of their grandchildren, an eight year-old and four year-old. The kids call Skip "Poppy" and are always asking him for a ride on the family tractor.

Skips idyllic retirement took a drastic turn in February of this year when he began experiencing a shortness of breath and a small pain in his chest. He met with his family physician who took several tests, including a chest film. The films revealed a pleural effusion in his right lung. Skip underwent his first thoracentesis in February at the Bowling Green Medical Clinic in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The cytology was non-diagnostic. After the procedure, Skip felt "100% better." After a few weeks, the shortness of breath returned. Another set of chest films were taken in addition to a CT scan. This time, the films revealed a pleural-based mass.

Skip at his home. October 30, 2006.
October 30, 2006
In April, Skip underwent a bronchoscopy and a second thoracentesis. Once again, the pathology was non-diagnostic. Skip went home feeling better. But on June 6, Skip traveled back to the Medical Center. He felt the fluid had returned and CT scans showed that he was right.

He underwent a third thoracentesis and nearly 2.8 liters of blood-tinged fluid was removed and again tests performed on the fluid was non-diagnostic for any malignancy. A few days later, after a severe coughing spell, Skip's doctors informed him he had a pneumothorax, which required a chest tube.

His doctors recommended Skip undergo a video assisted (VATS) pleural biopsy to help determine what was causing the fluid buildup as well as a talc pleurodesis to keep the fluid from returning.

On June 13, Skip underwent the VATS and talc pleurodesis. This time, the test results returned a diagnosis of epithelial mesothelioma. The specimens were sent to and reviewed by pathologists at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona who confirmed the diagnosis.

Skip consulted with an oncologist at the Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green and it was recommended to him that he undergo several rounds of chemotherapy using Alimta with Cisplatin. Skip's first treatment was on June 10. The doctors discontinued the treatments after his fourth session, feeling the chemotherapy was not controlling the tumor. Skip is now resting at home. He can no longer walk his property and tend to the animals, but Kay admits he is "real good at pointing out what needs to be done and making sure it gets done!" Instead of riding the tractor, he putters around in his motorized wheelchair tethered to his oxygen bottle.

Skip enjoying his retirement. July 19, 2006Skip enjoying his retirement.Skip with some of his children and grandchildren. Thanksgiving, 2006

*** POSTED DECEMBER 14, 2006 ***

Mr. Skip Haupt passed away on December 18, 2006