Charleston Police Officer Battles Rare Form Of Cancer

CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS)-  Charleston Senior Patrolman Larry Holstein and his family are thankful he has come this far after months of medical mysteries.

“Cancer is a word no one wants to hear,” Holstein said. “I immediately asked, ‘What are my chances?'”


Holstein and his wife were told to go to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown as soon as possible to seek further treatment. Doctors diagnosed Holstein with medullary thyroid carcinoma, a form of cancer so rare no doctors in West Virginia had seen a case. Holstein was told no doctor in West Virginia had ever performed the surgery he needed to save his life.


“It totally changes your outlook on life. Every day I wake up now, and I thank God,” he said.


Holstein and his wife, Jessica, relied on their strong faith to get them through one hospital visit after another. They decided to go through with the nine- hour surgery to remove the cancer from his neck. The surgery was a first for the surgeon, who had only studied this form of cancer in medical school.


“We try to keep a positive attitude,” Jessica Holstein said. “We just try to keep reminding ourselves, ‘God’s got it.’ When the doctors don’t know, God does.”


After a successful surgery, doctors in Morgantown told the Holsteins they believed the cancer was fully removed, but a second opinion was important. The couple traveled to Baltimore to see a doctor who had seen about 500 cases of the specific type of cancer. After several tests, doctors praised the surgeon, telling the Holsteins it was extremely well-done and all cancer seemed to be removed from the neck. Doctors there found a few spots, however, where the cancer had spread to his bones. Holstein was told he needed radiation treatment.


“We just kept praying we would get good results,” Larry Holstein said. “My church was praying for me. I have so much support from my law enforcement family.”


Holstein received positive news that no cancer had spread to his organs. He is waiting on a few follow-up appointments, but told Eyewitness News the battle is not one he is fighting alone.


“I don’t know where I would be without God and my church. When I went into the hospital, I gave my wife my phone. I couldn’t count how many texts and calls I received from people checking on me,” he said.


The Holstein family thanks members of Keystone Apostolic Church, the Charleston Police Department and many members of the community for stepping up to help. Holstein is still working for the Charleston Police Department on light duty, and hopes for positive reports from doctors to continue.

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