Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Begining

Fact: I found out last Monday, five days ago, that I have a preliminary diagnosis of lung cancer. It’s been a very busy week. I guess that I should give you a little background.

On February 13th I awoke about 3:30 AM with a small pain on the left side of my chest. Over the course of the next two hours it grew to a point where ignoring it seemed not to be an option so I woke Joan and said I thought that we should call 911. Living in a small New England town with a volunteer fire department, which handles ambulance calls, a young policeman arrived first. He tried to rouse a local EMT response with no results so he finally called the neighboring Exeter Fire Department that employs full time EMTs and they arrived. I got an initial survey, EKG, blood pressure, glucose level, etc and was loaded onto a gurney and out into a very cold evening. I was transported to the Exeter Hospital Emergency Room and a round of testing for a heart problem began.

After about an hour and a half the attending ER doctor came to tell me that the good news was that I was not having a heart attack. He said we should check to see if it was a blood clot and sent me to x-ray for a picture. About an hour later he came to tell me that the good news was that I didn’t have a blood clot and perhaps the bad news was I didn’t have a blood clot because there was a suspicious shadow on my left lung in the area were the pain hard occurred. He ordered a CAT Scan to take a further look and came back to tell me that I should see my primary care physician, John Reidel, and schedule an appointment for a biopsy.

On Friday February 23rd I had a biopsy done and the following Tuesday I left for Houston to attend a long scheduled conference, returning home late Friday evening. On Monday morning I called John who said the biopsy had been positive for cancer and that I should see an oncologist as soon as possible. John asked if I wanted him to set it up and I said yes. He called back in about ten minutes and told me that I had an appointment with a doctor Sims at 2:15 PM on Wednesday March 14th.


Walt said...

I've always known you were a remarkable man, Nels. The spirit and attitude of your phone call yesterday, and your blog post, clearly show it. May God bless you.

Walt Boyes

Rick Audette said...

Good Marines never die, they just slowly fade away, please notice I said "Good" not old.Please keep up the positive attitude and spirit,during these trying times in the world around us its a pleasure to know you as a freind.God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nels,
I want you to know that you have been in my thoughts everyday since I heard the news. I think this blog is a wonderful way of explaining and talking about what you are going through. Hopefully this will help get the message out that it is okay/helpful to talk about cancer. I will be thinking of you and your family on Thursday and saying my prayers. I love you all.

Anonymous said...

Reading your story took me back a couple of years. My husband was a Navy man and he went through the same tests and surgery as you. He never once said why me. He left us all know he loved us and that his life was good. He said after looking back the most important thing in his life was his family and how he raised them all to be independent and able to care for themselves. He was in pain but would not let the doctors over do it with the medication. He wanted to be aware of everything around him and remember everything that was said.