"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not To Get Too Personal, But Cancer Sucks

Less then two weeks ago my son-in-law Terrell was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.  Thinking that he had a tear of some sort in his right knee, he went to see an orthopedic surgeon.  The surgeon took an x-ray and didn't like what he saw so, he scheduled Terrell for a MRI.  The radiologist's interpretation of the MRI shocked everyone to the point that the follow up specialist didn't think that it was possible to have that diagnosis in a healthy 32 year old.  He predicted a giant cell tumor (non malignant), but scheduled Terrell for a needle biopsy and a chest x-ray just to be sure.  The chest x-ray eventually came back clear (osteosarcoma metastasizes in the lungs pretty quickly), but the needle biopsy was inconclusive.  It was definitely not a giant cell tumor.  Next was a surgical biopsy.  It was shortly after the surgical biopsy that we all got the news and the radiologist's interpretation of a high-grade osteosarcoma was confirmed.  The treatment was pretty cut and dry: ten weeks of chemotherapy with a two day hospitalization for each treatment, then reconstructive surgery to include the knee and part of the femur and then ten more weeks of chemo.  Terrell's chemo starts this Thursday, but the "adventure" began with that initial x-ray of his knee.  

Lots of speculation, lots of ups and downs leading up to and since the diagnosis.  So why am I blogging about a cancer diagnosis in a loved one?  Because I am amazed at a couple of things: how consuming it all is on Terrell,  Jessica, his mother, his step father, his sister and her family as well as our immediate family.  This kind of stuff happens to other people, not us.  Well, that's no longer the case.  It's here and we are all dealing with it as best as we possibly can.  Next, it is wonderful to see the immediate reaction from family and friends toward both of them.  The outpouring of thoughts, prayers, support and genuine kindness has been overwhelming.  My only hope is that they both allow the rest of us to carry some of the burden that they are facing.  This will be one hell of an ordeal and the hard part only gets worse for some time to come.  So I ask, keep Terrell and Jessica in your thoughts and prayers.  Even if you don't know them, they can still use your thoughts, your prayers; hell we'll even take those positive vibes and good mojo.  

Every cancer is different as is every person who gets it.  The staff at WMHS remind me that they see miracles every day in our Cancer Center, our ICU, our heart institute and the list goes on.  I am hopeful that those same kinds of miracles make their way to Charleston, SC.  God speed, Terrell.

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