Friday, May 2, 2008

Well, It's Back

Early in January I began to feel some pain in my lower back. This pain radiated down into my right hip and my right leg. Since my usual cure for that problem was a visit to my old and dear friend Dr. Harold Edelstein who may very well be the worlds best Chiropractor my first thought was to consult him. Harold looked me over, reminded me that I was a lung cancer survivor and suggested that I go to Exeter Hospital for a series of x-rays before we began treatment. I did, and soon had an extensive series of pictures examined by the hospital staff radiologist who was aware of my history and was pronounced clean of any detectable sign of cancer in the area. With that assurance Harold began treatment on me. After two weeks we agreed that we were making little or no progress and stopped treatment. I had a routine check up appointment with my oncologist Dr. Danny Sims very close to that date so we decided to see what he had to say.

I met with Danny Sims on Monday January 31st and on examining me and hearing my complaints he immediately ordered a CT scan. The scan showed some signs of positive results so a PET scan was ordered and that scan lit up cancerous areas in my lower spine and perhaps a small spot on my liver. Danny ordered a needle biopsy of my liver to verify the spot which turned out to be positive. Joan, my daughters Linda, Erica, Kristen and I met with Danny and he told me that my lung cancer had spread to my spine and liver, not a particularly encouraging diagnosis.

I wasn’t terribly surprised because the reading I had done on lung cancer survival had indicated that it was among the most deadly of cancers and subject to spreading throughout the body. I also didn’t feel any particular pain or depression in the news. It’s still, as it was last time, a lesson in the series of lessons that have made up my life, and if this one is followed by the final exam that’s all right and in the proper order of things.

Danny believed that the pain in my right hip and leg was the result of pressure being put on nerves by the tumor in my lower spine, so he recommended ten radiation treatments to shrink the tumor to reduce this pressure. The treatment was set up and I was remanded to the radio oncologist to perform the work. This consisted of ten sessions one each day of the week with weekends off. For my first visit I walked into the office with some small discomfort. By the third I was using a cane, by the seventh I needed crutches, and for my last two I arrived from my car in a wheel chair with some pain and a lot of effort. This was apparently due to the fast pace of the tumor’s growth. The radiation didn’t seem to help much but I was told that the radiation continued to work for about two weeks and I should see improvement soon.

My radiation treatment ended on Wednesday March 26th and I continued to have an increasing amount of pain at home. On Saturday evening Joan and I went to bed after dinner to watch “No Country for Old Men”. At the end of the movie I moved my right foot about six inches across the bed and felt, perhaps, the worst of pain I had ever experienced in my hip and groin. Something was very wrong. Having experienced emergency rooms on Saturday nights I took a handful of pain meds and decided to wait until early morning before calling the EMTs.

About 5:00 AM on Sunday morning Joan called the 911 and the Stratham EMTs responded. I was very afraid of being moved at all because any movement of my right leg brought agony. The EMTs were great they handled me with the greatest of care and delivered me into the hands of the Exeter Hospital ER.

I am going to stop at this point before I go on forever. Stay tuned and we’ll get to the next part of this adventure.


bananaslug. said...

My seat belt is buckled, and I'm along for the ride, Nels. Everybody at the CSIA conference is sending you prayers and good wishes, along with Paul Barnard's cheerful insults.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Hi Nels

This comes to you from the airport. I am just on my way to Vancouver, and saw your email, and link to your blog. There is much to say, but in short, my thoughts are with you, and this message comes with a huge hug and all of my best wishes for you to be well again, and soon.
Chris Carr

Eric and Andrea Schaefer said...

Andrea and I missed you and Linda at the CSIA conference last week. We needed some New Hampshire dialog and humor to offset the "y'all"s and "ma'am"s. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Eric and Andrea Schaefer

Barney and Sally Wallace said...

Hi Nels,

Very sorry to hear the latest.Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Barney and Sally Wallace

Rick P said...

I heard at the CSIA conference the sad news about why you weren't there. Please recover quickly - I don't want to do that Houston presentation this October without you.
Seriously, my prayers and best wishes are with you and your family.
Rick Pierro