Bob and I consider you to be our friends. We thought you would like a full report of what has been happening at 633 Cedar Street. I am in a bit of a battle right now.
I have had prostate cancer since 2001, which has been under amazing control since 2014. In mid-November, I thought I had a sciatica attack. The symptom seemed to last, so I went to bed. Instead of leaving, the pain became more pronounced and I went to the doctor. “Well, we could do an MRI or wait a bit,” was his reply. I thought we would wait, as I consider myself a pretty good self-healer.
The pain got no better. The middle of January, I talked to another doctor. “Well, we could do an MRI or wait a little,” was her reply. A hard-headed patient said, “Oh, let’s wait a bit.” I regretted that decision within a few days. That pain became excruciating, and walking became so difficult, I purchased a cane
On March 4, I intervened on Bob's appoint with his doctor to discuss my terrible state. She took a couple of X-rays and an MRI. Within a short time, we looked at the films. She said, “With a quick view, the radiologist thinks there is some new metastasis. Let’s schedule some more MRIs to check this out.” A couple of weeks later, we confirmed that there was more metastasis. My legs and buttocks were having constant muscle spasms, causing me to shout loudly with each hit. This was day and night. You can imagine how this scared the birds, especially at night, and Bob.
I ended up getting a low dosage Oxycodone. This helped, but I was given a stronger dosage. Then, as a weekend neared, I counted pills and saw that I would not have enough through the weekend. I called in another prescription. Disappointingly, my primary G.P. got involved, not knowing what was going on lowered the dosage and added that I could not take any pills for about 15 days. Many times the pain was so unbearable, I almost fainted.
At this point, I called my pharmacist and she said would straighten things out with Carbone Cancer Center. Within a half-hour, I received calls from her, then Carbone with the statement, “Give Clarence Cameron all the pain killers he needs."
Finally, that trip to the doctor led to four-day visit to U.W. Hospital and about fifty scans, mostly MRIs and two lasting 3 hours in the machine. We have the pain under control but my prostate team was appalled to find I had some metastasis in four places....three lumbar vertebrae and near one hip socket. It turned out that a stealth lung cancer is causing this. There are no lesions or scars on the lungs but this invisible stealth does damage.
I am having surgery on May 15 and expecting great results with a super team of doctors in neurosurgery, radiation, and lung cancer. My surgery will last about five hours. The neurosurgeon will scrape lung cancer cells from a badly damaged lumbar #4 and insert three titanium rods and connect those to lumbar 5 and 6. This will provide extra strength for this very vital vertebra. It is where the spinal column splits into the many smaller nerves serving the lower extremities. Lumbar 2 and 3 will also be scraped, as well as some growth near my right hip socket. Then all of this will receive radiation.
I will have 2 to 5 days recovery in the hospital followed by up to three months’ physical therapy. After basic healing, my top-rated lung cancer specialist will treat me with chemo and/or radiation to (hopefully) wipe out this stealth lung cancer. Prospects look good and we will hope for the best.
The absolutely wonderful thing is that I have an amazing support group of friends. Tim Enright, an artist friend, and Laurel, our recently retired pharmacist-next door neighbor have already been elevated to sainthood. Julie S-B is close. And other angels become involved every day, offering help and support.
Bob and I have never asked for much help, but some friends are coordinating small meals, rides, patient sitting, and other volunteer efforts through this CaringBridge site and other means (noted as links on this site). You may be contacted but, please, do not feel obligated. Many of you are friends for many reasons.
So this is a new adventure for us. We hope we will survive it all in good fashion and ask for your thoughts of healing. Anyway, que sera, sera!
Clarence and Bob (A word of note, Bob is turning 90 on May 27, and getting forgetful, and could use some support as well)