This Saved My Life, It Really Did
Jerry Addington, Knoxville resident, works at Vermeer Manufacturing as a Master Scheduler. The company has a robust Wellness Program and one of the nurses in the Health Services Center suggested that it was time for a colonoscopy. As many people do, Jerry put off the appointment for quite a while until his family physician, Dr. Spencer Carlstone, performed the procedure in November of 2010.
During the colonoscopy several polyps were removed. A polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue. A small, cancerous tumor was also found. Dr. Matt Morgan, general surgeon at Pella Regional, wanted to remove the tumor by doing a resection as soon as possible.
“It took a while for it all to sink in,” said Jerry. “It was hard to picture the fact that I had cancer. My family was scared for me when I was delaying the surgery. We all talked and I started to think about what could happen if I kept waiting. I’m very fortunate that it all worked out the way it did. I waited longer than I should have. It could have spread to my liver, my lungs.”
With his wife’s encouragement, and after a few more visits with Dr. Morgan going over the seriousness of the situation, Jerry agreed to the resection in February.
He was in the hospital recovering for 2 weeks. It all went very well according to Jerry. During the surgery they also found cancer in Jerry’s lymph nodes, for which he is undergoing chemotherapy treatment every other week for 12 weeks under the supervision of Dr. Mark Westberg, oncologist at Pella Regional.
“The care here in Pella was exceptional. I don’t really remember the surgery, but everything else went better than I’d imagined. There were really no troubles beyond the discomfort of the incision. I even started to like the food,” said Jerry as he smiles.
“My biggest issue was the embarrassment. I didn’t want to go through with the colonoscopy. Then, I was putting off the surgery,” said Jerry. “I would encourage everyone to get their regular check-ups. It gives the doctors a chance to find any problem right away. Things didn’t have to go this way for me. If I’d done things right away when I was supposed to I probably wouldn’t be going through chemo now.”
Pella Regional was able to take care of Jerry through the whole process; regular visits with his doctor, colonoscopy, surgery, inpatient recovery and now chemotherapy, all without leaving the familiarity of his home for medical care.
Chemotherapy is the worst part according to Jerry, mainly due to all of the side effects. “I keep thinking this part could have been avoided if I would have come in earlier for my colonoscopy,” said Jerry, shaking his head. “I now encourage people to go in right away. The colonoscopy saved my life, it really did.”
Learn more about colonoscopy at Pella Regional.