Close to Home

All around us we have met so many amazing people. Many have gone out of their way to help us, to “go an extra mile” on our behalf. Brooke has identified many of these folks in her posts about MDA. Yet even before our journey to Houston there were a handful of medical professionals here in Boulder who also made a huge difference.

Starting right from day 1 with a Radiologist at BCH Urgent Care, a Dr. Bloomquist. He could have just “checked the box” when he looked at my chest X-ray and saw that I did not have any fractures of the ribs on my right side following my mountain bike accident. After all it was late on a Sunday evening, 30 minutes before closing, and he had been looking at films all day. Ribs are clear, good to go. Instead he followed procedure to the book and examined every inch of the X-ray. And in the upper left apex of my left lung he saw a small and suspicious nodule and notified the doctor who had stitched my forehead. An incidental finding that could have easily been missed. Yet because he was diligent and focused he most likely saved my life. In fact the nodule is so small that it would have been 4-5 years before I exhibited any symptoms, and by then my prognosis would have been much worse.

After that our good fortune continued. I contacted a friend and accomplished doctor of Internal Medicine Dr. Eric Zacharias and asked him for his advice. Although we were friends I was not a patient of Eric’s. No matter, he immediately took my case on as his top priority. He went the extra mile and then some. Eric contacted his colleagues in pulmonology, radiology, oncology and pulled my films and CT scan and reviewed the results. He was concerned and took immediate action scheduling a biopsy within the day, and returning the pathology reports, stage 1 lung cancer, 2 days later. In less than a week I had a definitive diagnosis and was already working on seeking treatment. To provide some perspective my primary doctor has told me the scans were “probably nothing” and had set up an appointment for the following week with a pulmonologist. She advised me that, “most likely we will wait 4-6 weeks to do another scan to see if anything has changed”. Thanks to Eric’s intervention, and willingness to make a difference, I will have had the surgery to remove the tumor all before I would have had my first follow up scan!

And then there is Brooke, my loving and incredible wife. Talk about someone who continues to go the extra mile each and every day on my behalf. Brooke has been outrageously supportive and loving as we have been blindsided by this unexpected diagnosis. She has, and continues to, pour her incredible energies and focus into every aspect of this endeavor. As soon as Eric gave us the biopsy results he advised us to seek treatment from one of the top cancer centers in the country. Brooke wasted no time in contacting everyone in our families and collective networks, near and far, to determine who could help us secure an appointment. MDA in Houston kept coming to the forefront of the process and Brooke followed up on every lead. Because of her tireless efforts we secured an appointment unbelievably quickly and with one of the top thoracic doctors in the country no less. She did not stop, she continued to move swiftly to secure lodging, flights, speak with the admitting staff, etc. In less than a week from diagnosis we had a plan and an appointment with the head of thoracic surgery at MDA. Every step of the way Brooke continues to work on my behalf, on the big and the little issues, making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible. Her focus continues to be to have the least amount of impact on me and the kids while also insuring the best possible outcomes. Words cannot begin to express my gratitude and love for Brooke. Her actions are a constant reminder of the positive benefits and gifts you can bestow on others by not just getting the job done, and instead going an extra mile on behalf of those you love.

And then there is the incredible love and support of so many family members and friends. But I will save that for another post…

2 thoughts on “Close to Home

  1. Thanks for sharing. It’s rare that folks are so open about what’s going on, especially something so private. But then, again, AD, I should have expected nothing less. Finding out that you were sick (let alone cancer) was a shock. I have been very fortunate to have a life where the vast majority of my friends and family were healthy and happy. Sure I had grandparents and other “elder” relatives who get sick and passed on, but that’s expected. What’s not expected is someone who is close to my age and someone who takes care of himself. I guess this is part of what it means to turn 40.

    To be honest, I’m still processing. I guess I’ll go through it with you. I have no doubt I will learn a lot. Just like you have shown me a lot these last few years.

    Thanks, again.

    JZ

  2. Brooke & Andrew:

    My heart is stuck in my throat and is hung heavy over a bottomless feeling in my stomach. I am gasping for air and waiting for the tears to come streaming out – the news is devastating. Your optimism, courage and openness inspirational as is your love for all things in your life…go the extra mile!

    Over the past few years your friendship has given me and my family great strength and your love and support has been extremely comforting – It has helped to heal a very difficult and challenging time. I hope that we can return the same at this time in your life.

    Betsy,Billy, Sam & Jack and I are cheering you on “the ride of your life”! We will peddle as hard and as far as necessary to support you – sending our deepest love and affection. We pray for a successful and steadfast recovery!

    WGCV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s