My Personal Cancer Journey — Discovery

About a month before Christmas, 2012, I was getting pain in my right arm, from the elbow into the shoulder and then slightly down my upper back. My first thoughts were — muscular pain. Perhaps I pulled something. However, Advil didn’t seem to work (and it always works for me). There was no swelling and there was no loss of strength or mobility.

As is typical for me, I basically ignored the pain, figuring that it would eventually go away. It didn’t. Not only didn’t the pain subside; it became more of a problem since it woke me up during the night. The loss of sleep finally prompted me to tell Lee. She of course demanded that I call my doctor. I finally called on December 31st. The doctor was not in but his secretary set up an appointment for me on Jan 2nd.

At the office, I described my pain and symptoms, and my doctor checked strength and mobility. He felt that the pain might be originating in my neck, especially since I use 3 pillows at night (to reduce snoring). So he ordered a neck X-ray. He also ordered a chest X-ray (later I found out that he suspected a type of cancer with symptoms like mine).  I had the chest X-ray on Thursday (Jan 3).

When my doctor called that evening, he gave me the results this way: “Well, the good news is that you have tons of arthritis in your neck.” My reply was — “That’s the GOOD news?” He said, “yes, the bad news is that there are dark spots on your lungs which we have to investigate further.”

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