Friday, February 27, 2009

It all started...

Cancer first affected my life in high school when my friend, Andy, was diagnosed with the disease and later died from the treatment. Being young and even ignorant of the disease it was somewhat dismissed as a freak thing but very real in life -death issues. But when my grandfather, Jack, was diagnosed with cancer 1998/1999 that hit a lot closer to home,being older helped. He was a smoker, so lung cancer was no stretch at all to grasp, it was painful to watch and the search for treatment and the lack of understanding that we really have about cancer was eye opening. Thankfully we had moved back to Cincinnati in 1997, so spending those last years was truly priceless. I remember the day like it was yesterday- a snowy Saturday in January 2000. I had been having blurred vision in my right eye and headaches, but hadn't told anyone. My friend, Ron Warnick, came into the dealership and immediately noticed a problem with that right eye. Ron is Dr. Warnick, one of the top neurosurgeons in the country. He did a quick exam, called a eye doctor friend and off we went to his office. Upon further evaluation, it was determined that I had a tumor IN my eye, between the eye wall and retina. It was a long weekend and that Monday Dr. Warnick got me into see another friend of his, Dr. James Augsburger, another tops in his field Dr. His specialty was eye cancer and he was also in Cincinnati! Favor of God for sure! His exam confirmed the tumor and the large size, a plan was set: Radiation Plaque surgery. They literally sewed radioactive gold plated "seeds" onto my eyeball and placed me in a special lead lined room for 5 days, from where I watched the Superbowl. The procedure was to kill the tumor and it would shrink to an insignificant size and die. The surgery was fairly successful, the tumor did shrink, but I lost complete vision in my right eye. Follow-up exams for the next 2 years showed shrinkage, the greatest fear is that the cancer returns in the first year. So I was out of the clear, right?

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