My husband in my hero! I am blessed to have him in my life! My husband is a survivor and I wanted to make a special dedication page in his honor to share his story with others. Nathan is a very humble person who is more concerned about others and worries that he’s being an inconvenience or burden when he is ill. Nathan has so touched my life and I am going to help him touch yours by sharing his story!
He was experiencing pain in his testical so the Dr. thought he might have an infection and gave him a very strong antibiotic. The pain was still there so they referred him to a urologist. He had an ultrasound and it was determined that his testical needed to be removed. They also gave him a CAT scan. They found testicular cancer in his lymph nodes in his stomach. He was officially diagnosed on October 31st, 2001.
Nathan’s urologist referred him to Cancer Dr, (Dr. Craig Nichols, who is the same Dr. that treated Lance Armstrong). When he recuperated from the testicular surgery he had to start chemo-therapy. He endured three (3 week) course treatments. The first week consisted of chemo for 8 to 12 hours on Monday through Friday. The following Monday he would get a short treatment, and the following Monday another short treatment. The next week after that he would receive his second round of chemo for 8 to 12 hours Monday through Friday. This went on for 9 weeks.
Some of his side effects included loose teeth, hair loss everywhere, lines in his fingernails, loss of appetite. Nathan’s mom took him to his treatments. He nearly died from his last treatment. He was off from work for 4 to 5 months. A co-worker and friend, Sunny showed her love an support by selling LIvestrong bracelets in Nathan’s honor. Another co-worker and friend Clint shaved his head in honor of Nathan, and Greg contributed $700 in the donation pot for Nathan. That’s just to name a few of the caring people who showed Nathan compassion during his time of need.
Nathan joined a gym to get fit and into shape – while doing so he was experiencing numbness in his feet and feeling fatigue when riding the bike. He went to his cancer Dr. (Dr. Craig Nichols) and was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia in 2003. Hairy Cell Leukemia is a rare, slow-growing cancer of the blood in which your bone marrow makes too many B cell called (lymphocytes), a type of white blood cell that fights infection. These excess cells are abnormal and look hairy. As the number of leukemia cells increases, fewer healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are produced.
He went through chemo-therapy for this and he took himself to his treatments. Each time he came back to work he had to rebuild endurance to get back into the swing of things. The chemo eradicates the bone marrow. The bone marrow is what makes the blood. He received one week of treatment at 5 days of 8 hours a day chemo. The effects hit him hard, he had neutropenic fever basically it is a fever of the blood where there is no white cells to fight infection and can be life threatening. He was hospitalized for 3 weeks. He pretty much dealt with things all by himself. His son was so young at the time and too scared to go see his dad at the hospital.
In 2001 Nathan’s uncle was also diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia. The doctors say it isn’t supposed to be inherited or genetic but it is sure interesting that two men in the same family end up with the same disease.
In 2005 Nathan had to have his left him replaced as his bones were destroyed from the chemo treatments. Nathan and I were room mates at the time so I was able to help him through his recovery process. Nathan’s mom, his son and Nathan’s sister and I waited in the waiting room during his surgery.
In 2008 Nathan’s Hairy Cell Leukemia came back out of remission. He saw Dr. Bernstein at Providence Hospital as Dr. Nichols was away at the time. This was my first experience being with someone who has cancer. With the type of treatment he had he ended up having to stay in the hospital for a month. I was working and spending my off time at the hospital and trying to provide some kind of meals for Jeremy (his son) at hom. I was a basket case because I was worried sick about Nathan and didn’t really know what to expect and understand yet how his cancer worked and affected him. I was sitting in his hospital room balling my eyes out when he was sleeping.
When he was in the hospital, he would have grand mal like symptoms as his whole body would shake violently, they would have to give him a drug called deloted ( not sure of spelling) but I was crying because I could do nothing to help him. You feel totally helpless because of your inability to do anything. The nurses were wonderful and supportive and gave Nathan wonderful care and helped me be stronger and explained everything and what to be expecting.
In 2009 Nathan and I got married on July 18th. I married my best friend and the love of my life! He helped me plan the perfect wedding. We got married on the Crystal Dolphin (part of the Spirit of Portland) line and we honeymooned in Seattle and Mt. Ranier.
In early 2010 Nathan’s Leukemia relapsed again. He was referred to a Hairy Cell Leukemia Specialist (Dr. Stacy Lewis) at St. Vincent’s Hospital. He had treatment every 2 weeks for three months. He’d get chemo and then antibodies. He had a bad reaction and ended up staying overnight in the hospital. They started treatment and he was getting another reaction so they stopped treatment and sent him home and continued the next day. They had to go slow so his body would adapt.
I was a much stronger person this time as I am beginning to understand what he is going through and I am willing to step up to the plate and be strong for him and help him in any way I can possibly be there for him! I inwardly cry quietly when I am by myself as I don’t want him to see me sad – I don’t bottle it up inside but I try to shield him from it as he needs my strength!
It is so very amazing to me that when he is ill he is more concerned about me or others around him, he apologizes to nurses or doctors if he thinks he is being a burden! That man has so much courage!
He deserves to be high on a pedistal! He won’t put himself there so I am here to do just that! This story is to honor him!! From watching him I have learned to not be afraid to take charge of what goes on with your health care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to refuse something if you don’t want it or can’t handle it. They wanted to put him in the tube for and MRI and he is extremely claustrophobic and refused it. Be courageious!
I love Nathan dearly and will continue to fight the cancer right by his side. Unfortunately he will have to endure it the rest of his life as there is no cure.
He has bad days of pain, depression, bad days of wondering why. He keeps doing the very best he can to fight all of that and he will never, ever have to go through it alone!