Hello, I am a retired health care professional, radio personality, blogger and volunteer at the Caring Place. I have been a patient of Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada since April 2012, and I am forever grateful for the care I have received and for their continued support.
In March 2012, I was having issues with my hip. My wife had similar symptoms before she had a hip replacement, so I thought I was going to need one as well. However, after talking with my doctor, he suggested that I get an MRI, CT scan, full bone scan and biopsy. After all of my tests were completed, I learned that I had lung cancer that metastasized into my hip.
At that moment, I was very confused. I recently had my blood work done and a full chest X-ray with normal results, so I didn’t know how I could have lung cancer, especially when I had never smoked. I immediately called my friends in the medical field, one of whom was Comprehensive Cancer Centers Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Ronald Kline. He recommended that I make an appointment to see his colleague, Medical Oncologist Dr. James Sanchez.
Before making my appointment with Dr. Sanchez, I went to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Arizona and met with a lung cancer specialist, who tested me for a mutation, EGFR. After my exam, the doctor told me that I should go back to Nevada to start my treatment since Comprehensive Cancer Centers can do anything and everything that the MD Anderson facility could do. I immediately called Dr. Sanchez and scheduled an appointment.
After learning that I had a lung cancer mutation, Dr. Sanchez told me I didn’t need to have chemotherapy. Instead he suggested that I see a radiation oncologist within the same group, Dr. Dan Curtis, and receive 12 sessions of radiation for my hip. When my treatment concluded, I went back to see Dr. Sanchez for a follow up. He said the only area of my body they hadn’t looked for cancer in is my brain, and he recommended an MRI, which uncovered that I had brain cancer as well. I underwent treatment for my brain cancer using CyberKnife Radiosurgery in April 2012.
CyberKnife is an alternative to surgery that attacks the tumor but minimizes the damage to surrounding healthy tissue. At first, I was very scared because I didn’t want radiation attacking my brain, and the name of the technology itself was concerning. However, Dr. Curtis was very informative and talked me through the process. After my first treatment with CyberKnife, I was shocked because I had no pain at all. I wasn’t uncomfortable during the treatment process and when I was finished, I actually wanted to go out for lunch with my wife to celebrate. There are only 200 of these machines in the world, and we have one in Southern Nevada. That’s something I’m very grateful for.
After my successful treatment, Dr. Sanchez referred me to the Caring Place to help me with my stress for mind and body healing. There, I learned how to relax my mind through meditation, journal writing and Reiki. I had such a wonderful experience that I started volunteering to help others. I also started to write my own blog about the journey I was going through and now have more than 12,000 followers. My blog is: www.caringbridge.org/paulbodner.
Writing has become very therapeutic for me, so I am teaching journal writing at The Caring Place for other people who have been touched by cancer.
This past April, I was experiencing some back pain and had another MRI. Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Curtis both determined that I had a tumor in the lower posterior of my pelvic bone. The two doctors once again conferred over my case and recommended CyberKnife Radiosurgery again. I had three sessions of CyberKnife, and the results have been great. The tumor is gone. I am back on my feet, working out and back to volunteering.
Even through such a difficult time in my life, I feel truly blessed to have been treated by the oncologists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. It was truly great to be treated all within one group and have the ease of them communicating back and forth with one another. I can honestly say that they saved me and extended my life. I no longer feel like I have a time limit on my life because with the support from my doctors, I have kicked this thing!
The treatment, education, patient communication and support from Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada and their oncologists has changed my life. They are my best example of hope to make lemonade from lemons – the theme of my life!