I struggled with a name for my blog. I wanted it to be Danny’s Journey but the more I thought about it I realized I am not on this journey by myself. So I called it “Our Journey” May be a little hokey but sometimes when in these situations you get hokey.
In April I went to the doctor with chest pain. My concern at the time was making sure I didn't have anything going on with my heart. I have a family history of heart problems and being somewhat over weight it is always in the back of my mind. The pain at that time was not unbearable. Some of the lab work the doctor did showed that my alkaline was high which led him to do an ultrasound on my abdomen looking for a problem with my gall bladder. It came back showing some sludge but nothing that the doctor was overly concerned about. After examining me on a 2nd visit the doctor decided that I had costochondritis which is a swelling of the cartilage between the breast bone and the ribs. He said that it was not serious and should go away over time. I was relieved and decided I could handle the pain until it went away.
Over the next month or so the pain became increasingly worse. I was having trouble sleeping at night because I was in the most pain when lying down. I can remember at that time being able to get into a comfortable position and going to sleep but as soon as I moved I would wake up from the pain. I set up another appointment with the doctor and this time Regina went with me. He was still confident in his diagnosis but was willing to have a chest x-ray taken to set our mind at ease. The chest x-ray showed nothing. I was supposed to take two aleve twice per day and come back to see him in 3 weeks if I was not better. The costochondritis he said could last 3 weeks or 3 months. He didn't want to do a CT scan because of the expense. Hind-sight is 20/20 but at the time I actually thought that it was nice the doctor was being so responsible with the insurance company's money.
It was more than 3 weeks before I tried to get back with the doctor. Tragically to my surprise he was dealing with a condition that took his life before I could see him again. I did call his office and they referred me to Dr. Wortman. In fairness to my 1st doctor by the time I got to see Dr Wortman I was in much more pain than I had previously been in. When he tried to examine me I could not lay down on the table without a lot of working and maneuvering. He immediately ordered a CT scan. It took about a week to get approval from the insurance company but the scan was done last Tuesday 7/21/09. I went back to doctor Wortman’s office on the following Thursday the 23rd and he knew that it was cancer. He set up an appointment that same day with Dr. Bebb to talk about doing a biopsy. The first doctor came in and shared what they found from the CT scan. I have a mass in my chest and an area in my abdomen. Then they decided they would do the biopsy there in the office to see if any lymph nodes were affected. They found some that showed the cancer and they decided to biopsy now instead of waiting. This is when things started to spin but also become real. I have cancer.
Now I told everyone last week that it was lymphoma. This is because everyone who was willing to say anything was saying lymphoma. Dr Bebb called me back over the weekend and told me that the biopsy actually showed that it was seminoma. Seminoma is actually a testicular cancer. It is the same cancer that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with and beat. 98% of the time it starts in the testicles but they have not made that determination with me yet. The good news is that it is extremely sensitive to chemotherapy.
Monday was a full day. Regina and I 1st went to GE and saw Lynn Nubil. She gave me the paperwork necessary for me to get back to work once the doctors release me and got me set up on short term disability. We then went to the oncologist office Dr Anagnost. He gave me an idea of what to expect but did not give a lot of details because he still wants to run some test. I left there and went to the surgeon’s office. He installed the port a cath which is the port they will administer the chemo through.
Wednesday I go 1st to have an MRI done on my brain. Then that evening I have a testicular ultrasound. (fun, fun)
Thursday I have a PET scan. This is new to me. I have never heard of it. What they do is inject me with some radioactive sugar. This sugar is then drawn to the organs and defects in the body. One example given was a broken or fractured bone. It is also drawn to the cancer. This gives them an image of where the cancer is located and how big it is. They can then use this as a baseline to figure out later how effective the Chemo is being. I also have Chemo school Thursday at 2:30.
Friday I am meeting with Dr. Anagnost again and preparing to start chemo on Monday. I will have chemo 5 days a week then have it once a week for two weeks then start the 5 day cycle again.
My doctors so far have been great. Dr. Bebb the surgeon is the type of person that you just want to put your confidence in and at the same time is so pleasant you would love to hang out with him. Both Dr. Bebb and Dr. Anagnost called me the weekend to keep things going and assure me that everything would be ok. I am sure they are always this kind but it feels like I am getting the royal treatment!! I cannot over state how appreciative I am for the urgency that has been shown by every office and their staff. Dr Wortman ordered the test that found the problem 1st visit and then made calls to fill in the next steps. All within less than a week.
I am also very appreciative of my friends and family. Everyone I have spoken with has expressed the desire to help. I know this is not a put-on. I sense that you are all genuine in your concern and your willingness to do for me. I want you all to know that it is up-lifting to see that so many people care!!
Finally, I am thankful to God. I was a little anxious when they were about to do the biopsy on Thursday. The radiologist was playing K-Love on her radio and as I was laying on the table the song playing was "Your Grace Is Enough". We talked in Sunday school the other week about the apostle Paul who was given a "thorn in the flesh". After pleading with the Lord 3 times to remove it the Lord said to him "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness". I am thankful that in my weakness He is strong. I am thankful that His grace is enough!!