The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 27, 2012

Cancer stories: A difficult journey

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 long journey with cancer began in 1979 when I was only 47 years old. My dad had passed away in April, and my mom came to live with me and two of my children on a farm in Davis County. My other three children were married and gone from home. I had been recently been divorced and was employed as a bookkeeper at an automobile dealership in Bloomfield. I began to feel that something was caught in my throat and went to the doctor. The doctor diagnosed me as having a cyst on my right tonsil, gave me antibiotics and told me to come back in a week to have it checked.

On my return visit he sent me to the Davis County Hospital to have my tonsils taken out. I was given anesthesia, but when I awoke I still had my tonsils and a biopsy had been taken and sent to be analyzed. When the results came back, it was diagnosed as Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the right tonsil. My whole mind and body had been numb since finding out I had cancer and not likely to recover. I just prayed I could live until my kids were out on their own.

I was sent to Mayo Clinic immediately, and the doctors corresponded back and forth with doctors from the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics. It was decided to have my treatments in Iowa City since it was closer to home. A group of doctors had a discussion with me about pulling my teeth, since they are always in danger during radiation. At first they considered pulling all my teeth, but because I was only 47, they decided to leave six above and six below and pulled my other 16 teeth. I had dental surgery and it took me two weeks to recover from that before they began radiation. I had 39 radiation treatments over a three-month period. I was able to stay in the hospital five days and come home on weekends. I got along pretty well for a few treatments and then started getting a sore throat and losing saliva. I had no appetite at all, and it was so hard to swallow and I didn’t even want to try. I lost 50 pounds during my treatments and also had to go to the dentist and have all the fillings taken out of my teeth replaced with new fillings. I was given a two-week break near the end of my treatments because I got so weak.

When I returned home, my cancer was gone, but the radiation had caused so much damage to other areas. I had lots of problems swallowing food and choking. I could only eat foods that could be swallowed easily. About two months after my radiation I got cellulitis, and I had to go back to the hospital in Iowa City and put on IV’s for two weeks. The dentist said I could probably never have partials, but after two years I was able to get them, however, I always had trouble with them. In 1990 I had crowns put on all my teeth and 10 years later I had all new crowns put on again. I have spent a fortune on dental care because of radiation. I’ve had so many problems with sore throats, sore mouth, dry mouth, sinus and cough and I still do

There were some difficult times during the next several years that I won’t go into. I’ve made many trips to Iowa City for check-ups with doctors and dentists. I started getting lots of lung infections and I had a swallow test and found that 65 percent of my food was aspirating into my lungs, so I had to be put on a feeding tube in 2006 and have been on it over five years and cannot eat or drink anything. I am having trouble with my vocal cords and it is a problem for me to speak much of the time.

Then in 2010 I was found to have a mass in my chest which was diagnosed as an aggressive lymphoma. At first I was not going to take any more treatments, but was told there was fairly good success with chemo, so I went to the McCreery Cancer Clinic in Ottumwa during the summer of 2010. I had six rounds of chemo and am cancer free as of this time, although I was told there is a chance of it returning and am still having check-ups. I’ve had PT scans every six months since.

My life has been rather difficult, but I am so thankful to have been given the chance to see so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All of my five children are so good to me and very supportive. My thanks to my church, the many people who have kept me in their prayers, and to God for giving me these extra years to enjoy with my family.

Betty Adamson

Ottumwa

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Sports EBF softball cover photo EBF advances to State Finals FORT DODGE — Fifth-ranked Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont had a very tough task in front of itself in a Class 2A semifinal Thursday at the state softball tournament at Rogers Park. All the Rockets had had to do was beat top-ranked Highland to reach thei

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victim advocates: Helping families cope

    DAVENPORT — Family members of a slain Wapello County woman have someone to lean on — literally and figuratively — while they sit through a murder trial for the third time. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges of fi

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Five Things logo -L -T Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's a wide variety of activities to choose from this weekend in southeast Iowa. Get out and explore the countryside, find some new books to curl up with or help raise money for some great causes. The choice is yours — pick one or attend

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook