64°F
weather icon Clear

Cancer delays final goodbye

In April of last year, I wrote a column in which I announced that my wife, Amy Garcia, and I would be moving to Austin, Texas, to live near our two daughters. We also announced this life-changing news to Romeo, Bold Boulder, Beta Sigma Phi Preceptor Chapter, the Boulder City Stamp Club, Meals on Wheels, my weekly poker game, my numerous doctors and 45-50 of Amy’s closest friends, not to mention our families in Texas, Iowa and California.

The house that we had built in a new part of Georgetown has long been waiting for us to move in. We have had it fully landscaped, hooked up all the utilities, installed custom cabinetry, bought some new furnishings and light fixtures, and the doggie door is being installed at this moment. What Amy calls her “dream house” is probably thinking we were just faking the whole thing.

The delay, as many of you know, was that shortly thereafter, Amy was diagnosed with what turned out to be colon cancer. She has, with a single exception, always been as healthy as anyone could ever hope to be. No frailties of any sort in my robust sweetheart. We were stunned, of course, and had to shelve the moving plans in order to take care of this.

What followed was a gauntlet of new doctors and clinics, first to confirm it was cancer and what sort, and then what type of treatment to prescribe. She would see one doctor and then it took three weeks to get in to see the next one, on and on. She dealt with this in some iterations by patiently hanging on the phone day after day to the next doctor’s office and politely asking if they had any cancellations. That worked several times.

Part of the blame for this tag-team saga was due to the health insurance I had purchased years ago. I thought I had been doing some clever shopping when I got Sierra Health and Life for a mere $635 a month for one healthy woman. When we told the new providers that she had Sierra, more than one of them wrinkled up their noses in apprehension.

At the point where they decided what was the best new kind of chemotherapy/radiation for her rather advanced cancer, Sierra rejected it. They refused to pay because we had not shown proof that she deserved this higher-cost treatment. The clinicians said not to worry, “they do this all the time.” Sure enough, the insurer backed down and we could proceed, but meanwhile we had wasted more precious days while the evil cells continued to grow.

In the third week of February she finished the six-week regimen of treatments. As she had been told, the radiation was well tolerated for some weeks, but then the cumulative effects started hitting her pretty hard. All her life Amy has been the stoic, uncomplaining kind of gal, so she would not forgive me for detailing the effects any further.

The treatment plan called for the chemotherapy/radiation treatments first thing; they used to have the surgery first, then the radiation, but they now prefer to shrink the tumor first. This is a rapidly advancing science and if you’ve been told the horror stories of others who had chemo and radiation more that a couple of years ago, it is better now. Amy didn’t even lose any hair.

The next stage is a 10-week recovery period during which nothing is done. That is the window we are in now and when we will complete the physical move to our new home. The moving van pulls out of here March 15. The surgery will then be done in Texas so that follow up will be local.

We both will miss you all, a lot. It was never our ambition to leave this amazing town. We even did some cemetery shopping a couple of years ago. But, with both of our daughters owning homes around Austin, and no family here, it just made sense to move closer to them. My 6-year-old grandson is asking every day when I am getting there so I can take him fishing.

Dave Nelson retired to Boulder City in 2003 after a career with the FICO score company. He is vice president for the local Sons of Norway.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Give thanks for holidays

Happy Thanksgiving.

Fight to protect freedoms

I appreciated the recent commentary by Daniel Benyshek regarding vaccine and mask mandates. He points out the “dutiful responsibility” that freedom-loving Americans should embrace, and I agree wholeheartedly.

Annexation is not development

I wanted to take this opportunity to share more information with our Boulder City neighbors about the city of Henderson’s proposed annexation of portions of Eldorado Valley, located along the southeast boundary of Henderson and south of Railroad Pass.

Life is like box of chocolates

In the movie “Forrest Gump,” the titular character says, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”

We must balance freedom, civic responsibility

Despite the overwhelming consensus of the American professional medical community (including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health) that advocate for COVID-19 vaccination and basic disease prevention behaviors such as mask wearing in public in order to lessen the savage toll of the coronavirus pandemic, some Americans remain skeptical of the necessity, safety and efficacy of these public health measures. Indeed, it is likely that no amount of expert medical advice or corroborative scientific data will convince these skeptics and conspiracy theorists otherwise.

Let’s get educated

Following events in Boulder City can sometimes feel like riding the wave machine at a water park. Lots of highs and lows. Some of us are just along for the ride. Some are determined to get to the front, pushing and shoving as we go. Then, some of us like standing on the edge and blowing a whistle.

It’s an honor to serve

Today is Veterans Day. It’s a day we set aside to recognize and thank those who served our country in any branch of the military.

Action needed to halt Henderson’s sprawl

Mayor (Kiernan) McManus’ Sept. 1 column touted his future plans to conserve wastewater. At the tail end, he offhandedly mentioned Henderson’s intent to annex county land below Railroad Pass to promote its own expansive growth plans. You and I might have missed those three sentences if we weren’t paying close attention. But somehow Henderson’s mayor, Debra March, was well aware.

You have to know how to say no

It’s just two letters. One syllable. But “no” is one of the hardest words in the English language to say.

Plans for city reflect residents’ desires

We all make plans. Some are good and make life better for us. Some plans just don’t pan out. Other plans are bad plans but we don’t always know that until some time passes. And then there are plans presented that were never intended to be a plan because there was another plan being put in place that would never have (been) accepted if it had been presented honestly and openly.