Steve Wilson Adventures with Cancer

A Precautionary Tale of the Blindness of Expectations
  and of the Medical Insurance Industry

July 20, 2009  - Steve - an active, happy 65 year old - running everyday at the beach.

On Sabbatical - New book at publisher- Invited to give speeches in Athens, Istanbul,  Copenhagen,  Amsterdam

- No signs of foul weather
July, 2009- Hip begins to hurt.  Steve pushes on through for a few days - its probably just  a pulled muscle.  Stops running. Sees a physical therapist. problem still gettig worse. Goes to primary care physician. After some time, gets referral to orthopedist.
September 2 - Hip still hurting, other pains in lower back and other places.  Diffuclty walking. Can't concentrate on work.  Orthopedist takes x-ray.  Says it is arthritic hip. Suggests hip replacement.  He says other pains are just referred pain.  Steve is doubtful.  Pains get worse and spread to other parts of the body.
Steve goes to his primary care physician.  He says the strange ways the pains are spreading suggests some kind systemic problem.  Suggests half jokingly -Cancer.  She says it is referred pain.

~August 27 - Finally get appointment with star orthopedist - he says hip doestn't look good but  the other pains are strange.  He thinks maybe it is neural problem.  Gets referral to neurologist.

- Orthopedist orders a steroid hip injection into the hip joint.  Should tell if he problem is indeed hip.  Doesn't make much difference - suggests something else going on.

~ Neurologist tests the nerves - everything seems ok.  All the strange pains are a challenging case - orders more sophisticated tests

- Pains getting more severe and widespread, can't walk.  Steve goes to primary care physician - complains about extreme strange pains. Steve usually never complains about pains.  He suggests cancer again.  She says referred pain - orders more powerful pain killers.

- Oct 5. Physical therapist suggests there might be both back problem and a hip problem.  After a few weeks, Steve gets appointment with Spine/back specialist.  He takes x-ray of the whole spine.  Yes, he says the spine is the problem - fractured vertebrae (strange to have that without trauma like football injury) and collapsed spine.  Orders MRI


Signs of Foul Weather
Oct 15 - MRI taken

Oct 20 - MRI shows strange white spots in spine. Orders full CAT scan

Oct 20 - Steve goes to scanner expecting one hour session.  Cat scan shows cancer in lung and many places in bone- Stage 4 cancer. (This syndrome  is somewhat common - starting in the lung and then moving to the skeletal system.  Steve has tumors in his hip, rib, spine  etc.)

The cat scan also shows deep thrombosis clots - one in lung, two in the legs.  Dangerous because can cause stroke, heart problems as they circulate around the system. They send him to emergency room.  Steve admitted to hospital. 

... some one hour scanning session.
Oct 22 - Oncologist starts chemotherapy - start with 3 cycles of chemo.  Some nausea, fatigue etc.    If it works the chemo poisons go everywhere there are dividing cells and stop the cancer.  Then with luck, the body begins to build back damaged tissue.

For now difficutly moving -fragile bones everywhere.    No guarantees about prognosis.........

Notice the bunny at the bottom-  bet on him

One piece of good news
There don't seem to be any tumors in the brain

Notice the one scan looks much like a clown

head1 clown

Lessons to be learned:

how approach

Any good vibes either for working with cancer
or blowing it to smithereens will be much appreciated.

I've always been a problem solver,
a proponent of looking beyond the common
and a child of light

If there is a way out of here, I may find it.....

Thanks and love to my family and friends for all the support

Stephen Wilson, 2009.  Art Department, SFSU

Update 1 - original page   (this page)

Update 4- steve cancer saga

Update 3 - steve cancer saga

Update 2 - steve cancer saga

Steve home page  (art works, books, teaching)