The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 27, 2013

Jail officer marks two-year anniversary of kidney cancer diagnosis



And after his phone rang and he got the grave news, he understood why the doctor wanted to be able to get in touch with him immediately.

That drive was a somber one.

“(You’re thinking about) all the things you probably should have done, and all the things you wanted to do before you tip over,” he said.

Through the magic of telephones, they were expecting his arrival. And through the magic of technology a lot more sophisticated than telephones, the doctors in Rochester already had in front of them the results of his CT scan.

His doctor had told him during that roadside phone call that he’d probably undergo surgery in Rochester. And she was right.

But before that, he was plunged into more testing. This is when they found another problem: a blood clot running from his kidney to his heart. Blood clots are usually a bad thing. In this case, however, it probably saved his life.

While it was the clot that was causing the swelling in his legs, it was also preventing the cancer in his kidney from spreading to the rest of his body.

On Jan. 28, 2011, doctors removed the cancer-ridden kidney, stripped out the blood clot and replaced his inner vena cava with veins in his legs.

A few days later, he was up and walking around. And by the following Feb. 7, he left the hospital and returned to his Minnesota Lake home.

The experience changed him, he said. A lot.

He says he used to be the kind of worker who would bank a lot of vacation days, saving them up for something that might come up down the road. Not anymore.

“Don’t put off things until tomorrow,”  he says by way of advice.

By the way, he is cancer free and as healthy as he’s ever been.

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