To the editor:
My husband, Craig, was diagnosed with retroperitoneal liposarcoma, a very rare cancer, at Mass General Hospital the third week of February 2013. He had been having problems with an enlarging waistline and other seemingly nonrelated health issues for some time. His primary care physician sent him for a CAT scan; they discovered a 17-pound malignant tumor involving multiple organs. Prognoses for this type of cancer have historically been grim. Life expectancy was no more than five years until the sarcoma team at MGH began handling these tumors differently. Each treatment is designed specifically for the individual patient. In Craig’s case, he faced six weeks of proton radiation, followed by radical resection surgery involving intra-operative radiation. The tumor would be removed along with his kidney, spleen, 10 feet of colon and part of his pancreas. Recovery would be a long and daunting process at best.
Craig is a die-hard Red Sox fan who always looks forward to spring training. This year was no different for him, even after last year’s debacle. He was rooting for them when everyone was still stunned by the previous season. At the start of spring training, we received the cancer news. We were overwhelmed by the diagnosis and proposed treatment recommended by the sarcoma team. Our world was pushed off its axis with the future now so unsure. Red Sox Nation also had no way to know where its future would lie.
Craig’s first day of proton radiation at MGH was the morning of the Boston Marathon bombings. With his heart heavy, Craig went back to therapy the very next day. Security was incredible with SWAT teams canvassing the MGH grounds and jets and helicopters overhead. The hospital itself was in a state of shock. Employees walked around disbelieving what they were experiencing. The atmosphere was surreal. As Boston began slowly absorbing the terror that had unfolded, Craig began slowly absorbing the radiation to control his cancer.