Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Feeling Fine

              It has been six years now since I began my medical journey. After a life of nearly sixty years in which I experienced very few health problems, I found myself faced with two life-threatening health problems.

The first was detected in December of 2007. Over a period of several years I was experiencing an increasing lack of energy with accompanying tiredness. I figured I was just getting out of shape. But when I would make an attempt to go for a run I’d be out of breath within a quarter of a mile. I remember slowing to a walk and thinking, “I’m in worse shape than I thought!”

What brought this problem to a head was the afternoon I went out to play a round of golf. I would carry my bag while walking the course. On this day in December I was dragging around the course, not enjoying my outing. After finishing nine holes I simply wanted to lie down on the grass and take a long nap. Even though I still had enough daylight to play a few more holes, I opted to stop. I was exhausted! When I got to my car I called the office of Dr. Rutgers, my personal physician. Since it was after hours I left a voice message. I received a call the next day asking me to come in and see him. Once I was there they ran an EKG on me. It revealed nothing definitive. While discussing my symptoms, Dr. Rutgers informed me that he wanted me to see a cardiologist to see if there might be any heart problems. He called and made the appointment for me.

The next day I was in seeing the cardiologist. They administered another EKG coming up with the same results that Dr. Rutgers office had determined. Again I found myself in consultation with another doctor. Dr. Hussain didn’t believe I had heart disease, but he wanted to run me through more advanced tests to eliminate this as a possibility. So I was scheduled for an echo cardiogram, to be followed by a nuclear stress test. Bingo! The nuclear stress test revealed that I had several blockages in the arteries of my heart. The doctor called me and wanted me in right away to perform an angiogram (sometimes called, Coronary Angiography). Two days later I was at the hospital signing a consent form for bypass surgery if my heart needed such a procedure. My wife, daughters and other family members were joined by many people in my congregation who were gathered in prayer in the waiting room. It turns out I had six blockages. Stents were inserted and I did fine for a number of months. However, during a check-up a year later, it was determined that one of the stents had been rejected by my body. So back in I went for two more stents to open the closing artery. I’ve felt fine since.

The second health issue had to do with an incorrigible prostate. The symptoms were standard: frequent need to vacate my bladder, and an irregular stream. I mentioned this to Dr. Rutgers during my annual check-up, so he referred me to a urologist. My PSA was 7.5, so he scheduled me for a biopsy. Wow! Was that ever painful! The result was that eight of the twelve needles that penetrated my segmented prostate revealed cancer. This came as no surprise for two reasons: First, my brother, John, had already had prostate cancer with follow-on surgery. And, second, the number of Vietnam Vets exhibiting the symptoms of prostate cancer far exceeds all other male groupings. It is supposed that we were all exposed to various levels of Agent Orange.

I’ve written about the cancer problem previously, but here’s a synopsis of what my wife and I decided. Initially I scheduled a date to have my prostate surgically removed. After discussing this with Isaura, we decided to look into alternatives. Bottom line: we did not care for any of the medical options – surgery, chemo, or radiation, or a combination of those three. Instead we opted to try a holistic approach. We did an enormous amount of research because we knew that if we went this route it would be a significant life-style change for us.

We connected with a holistic doctor, Lisa Hunt, in Modesto. Dr. Lisa is a D.O. – a doctor of osteopathy – or in English: a holistic (whole body) doctor. Osteopathy is a form of drug-free non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.”

My symptoms associated with prostate problems, and in my case, prostate cancer, are gradually clearing up. Plus my entire body is functioning much better.

Many of you have asked me how I have been doing, so perhaps this report will answer this for you. I so appreciate the concern expressed that I felt it was time to let you know where things stand with me concerning my health.

To put it concisely – I’m feeling fine!

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