The Ottumwa Courier

October 13, 2012

Never give up the fight


OTTUMWA — Editor’s Note: The Courier asked cancer survivors and/or family members to share their stories during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A few people have written to tell of their experiences.

We thank all the people who participated. As many of you said, you want others to know about the experience and to always have hope.

Their stories will run often this month.

My name is Larry McKim. I am 66 years old. I have been battling cancer since 1994.

We took our kids and foster kids to Montezuma to ski. The rule was I told them they could not try any of the small ski jumps. I tried on about 4-foot high and rolled up in a ball. I cracked my sternum and had to go to the hospital, where I found I had a tumor on the middle lobe of the right lung. They drilled two holes in front and a hole in back. They stuck in a plastic bag and cut the tumor out and part of the middle lobe.

In 2000 I started to get treated for some lesions on my liver. I was being treated for it in Iowa City. I had a liver biopsy done in 2004. I had to lay still four hours with a compression on my biopsy spot. I had to stay in a motel for 24 hours to make sure I didn’t start bleeding.

When walking back from McDonald’s, a car about hit me. I tripped and fell and ended up in the emergency room. While there, they discovered I had cancer of the throat. After several tests to determine how bad it was, they operated on me and took out my thyroid gland and some other spots. After several treatments I am happy to say I have had no other problems with this.

In 2007, while having my camera scope done, it was discovered I had colon cancer. They had to operate right away, and I had a pretty good chunk of my colon taken off. It has been over five years and I have had no problems with this. Dr. Ortell has  done me a wonderful service.

In the last couple of years, I have had liver problems and have been treated at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. I have been told I have tumors in the pancreas, liver and kidney. We have these under control.

One of the things that keeps me going is my volunteer work, which amounts to 30 hours a week. My wife and I have spent a lifetime doing volunteer work, starting in 1965 with the Special Olympics. I volunteer for three special people: Brenda at Tenco, Brandon at the Red Cross and Yvonne at Ottumwa Outreach. They know that all they have to do is ask and I will help. But if I say I don’t feel like it, they know I am not sloughing off.

I have nothing but praise for the McCreery Cancer Center here in Ottumwa. All the personnel treat you very special.

Larry McKim