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Today is August 26, 2023 and I’m sitting at home instead of with my Inverse Paradox team at WordCamp US in National Harbor this week. I had every intention of being there, but there’s more to this story, I have cancer (non clear renal cell carcinoma). About 11 weeks ago I started feeling somewhat unwell. I thought not much of it at first because I just thought I caught a little something. Though as 1 week turned to 2 and 2 turned to 3, I chose to see my primary care provider. The doctors said I was just really run down with something viral and they gave me some medicine. The medicine kind of worked but I never really felt better overall. I still felt run down and generally not up to the activity level that I normally would have.

The start

At this point I insisted on having a blood panel test done at this point and found out I was anemic. Was this all anemia I thought? I hoped it was because anemia is fairly treatable over the counter if it’s not to severe. I started on an iron regiment to help combat my anemia. There was still something not right after about 2 weeks of trying to get more iron into my body. I kept trying and went on my honeymoon to Alaska with my wife and some of her family. While on the cruise I found out I contracted COVID. With this result I was quarantined and medicated 90% of the trip and didn’t really see any of Alaska. This made me pretty sad because this was supposed to be a happy trip.

Once we were back I went back to my primary care provider and they said I had long term COVID, but that still wasn’t it as I was medicated for 3-4 weeks afterwards and wasn’t turning any sort of corner and was actually getting worse. I went back to see my main doctor at the office and he sent me to the Emergency Department.

The diagnosis

They gave me a blood transfusion and fluids, but while I was there they also ran a CAT scan. This is where the story changes, they found two masses next to my kidneys and lesions on my rib, spin and hip and determined I had developed some sort of cancer. I received the scariest news ever from any doctor, and I’ve never had any reason to be in the hospital.. Never a broken bone or any sort of extended sickness, I had always been relatively healthy recovering from almost anything within a few days.

This news was devastating to me as I lost my father to his battle with cancer back in November of 2022. Wow did this hit really close to home for me. Sending me into a bit of a tail spin thinking that I was essentially pronounced dead. This is not the case, though during the initial finding and today I have been in an out of the hospital in some way 3 times. During my first stay was to try and figure things out but I felt like less was done. My second trip was for another blood transfusion. Finally my third stay was for figuring out what type of cancer (non clear renal cell carcinoma) I have and the treatment plan.

Moving forward

This has been a long couple of months at this point. I am happy to have a plan moving forward. Ready to attack my cancer and get back to a fairly normal life moving forward. My diagnose is that I may always have this cancer. I will be fighting it so I can be with my family, love my wife and son and help provide for them as well. I will march forward like the bison INTO THE STORM attacking this head on. The hardest part is going to be the mental battle moving forward.

7 comments on “A New Journey, Cancer

  1. Dustin,
    Thanks for sharing some of your story and diagnosis. We will continue to be praying for you, your health and family.

  2. John 16:33
    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    Your strength is showing!

  3. Dustin, I came across your IG strory. I am dreaming of a master weightlifting winner.
    You already proved to be strong mentally and physically.
    I guess the battle and journey would very hard for you. However, as a neighbor living in this world, I want to tell you to fight strong with your heart. I will pray for you. Never lose. Stay strong.

    Lucy Park (@lift_lucy)

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