Erich Reutin | CaringBridge

Erich Reutin

First post: 4/28/2017 Latest post: 5/9/2017
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This journey started in early December, after training for a couple months in the gym virtually every day, combined with quitting alcoholic beverages, I was able to lose about 30 pounds.  On December 4th 2016, while flying to my new job's basic sales training in New Jersey, I had been sitting for 7 hours straight in virtually the same position due to several weather delays and the cross-country flight.  I stood up and simultaneously grabbed my 25 pound carry on while twisting my left leg, and felt a couple 'pops'!  Well the delays forced us to use a gate quite a distance from the main terminal, and I had 20 minutes to catch my connecting flight.  So after disembarking the United 737, and having to walk over half a mile to my next gate, I noticed a sharp pain in my left knee.  This pain got progressively WORSE as I hustled to my distant gate.   I ended up making my flight, but the pain got to really throbbing after I found my seat.  By the time I got to the hotel that night, it was midnight, and I fortunately had some Naprosyn, and took  a large dose and went to sleep.

The next morning for my first day of class, I could barely walk, and had to get a coworker to help me get my bag onto the shuttle so we could make it to class on time.  This was the story for the whole week!  I did pass the training with 'flying colors', but had to get a courtesy wheelchair assist to get back to my direct flight back to Portland (Thank Goodness no connecting flight!)  I worked with this pain in varying degrees of severity for the next month after I got back from training, and really knocked my sales out of the park.  I even made #1 rep in the country (also a couple of top 5's)despite having this injury.

Finally, after my Manager insisted I go see a Doctor, I went in on January 6th, 2017, and the PA who saw me ordered up some XRays.  Both she and the radiologist saw something in my knee area that was of concern, and ordered MRI's--STAT!

That weekend, I found out I had broken both my tibia AND my fibula, and my Doctor suspected I had possibly some kind of cancer in my lower femur and where the pathological breaks occurred, and she immediately referred me to an Orthopedic Oncologist at OHSU who could possibly save my leg from amputation.  My femur had a large area that was very brittle, and the Doctor told me to be very careful, as my femur could break with all the freezing rain and snow we were having that week.

Well wouldn't you know it, that Sunday, January 15th, while I was hurrying down the steps on my crutches to catch the Green Bay playoff game, I caught the crutch on a step, which vaulted me headfirst down the remaining 7 steps--where I bounced off the window on my way to slamming into the door, and my knee dropped the remaining 4 feet to the linoleum floor--right onto my knee cap.  (*graphic description alert*)  I felt/heard a crack that felt like stepping onto a rotten branch in the forest, and I knew I had broken my femur.  So there I was,  leg high in the air, but the lower half of it was completely dangling like limp celery, with the most tremendous pain I had ever felt.  And that pain got worse!  And worse! 

I was yelling at my wife Barbara (who had witnessed this fall and was in complete shock) to call 911, this feat was compounded by the fact that we couldn't find any of our cell phones, so the screaming went on for another 5 minutes till we found HER phone and called an EMT.

He finally arrived and I was transported through the freezing rain and moguls that had developed from the 2 days of record breaking snowfall to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in the Salmon Creek area.  Many Xrays CT scans were performed, and on Monday January 16, I was transported to OHSU, and met my Orthopedic Oncologist, who put me in the queue for Surgery.  He was able to squeeze me in after a cancellation reschedule, and the 4 hour surgery was performed on Tuesday, the 17th.  I remained in the hospital for 7 more days and was released on Monday the 24th to go home!  The Diagnosis:  Multiple Myeloma Cancer.  A Cancer of the bone marrow (plasma).

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