Although the snowy weather may beg to differ… Spring is here! It’s time to unpack the golf clubs and hit the links (almost). The sun begins to shine longer in the day (hooray for vitamin D!), and the birds return from their winter-long hiatus. Spring is the season of rebirth, of life triumphing over the adversity of months of frozen weather. I can think of no other time more applicable to share this story.
As many of you already know, my oldest brother, Dr. Benjamin Myerowitz, has just joined the facility and is now accepting new patients. In an ode to spring, to the full expressions of life, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with everyone his amazing story, which so perfectly illustrates the amazing perseverance and innate ability of the human body.
Dr. Ben was diagnosed with non-seminomatous testicular cancer in April of 2006. His cancer developed directly after a traumatic testicular injury. We were playing basketball at a local men’s league when another player attempted to save a ball going out of bounds and it struck Ben directly in the groin. Although the situation was comedic gold at the time, a few months later it was no laughing matter. The impact caused his testicle to swell to about the size of a baseball, where it stayed for the better part of a year. This development is very important as we all have cancer cells in our body, but our immune system is designed to recognize abnormal cells and destroy them before they can cause further harm. In his specific case, it is possible that the extreme swelling blocked lymphatic and blood flow to the point that his immune system was fighting a losing battle. After several visits with urologists (who recommended it be removed although the pathology report was inconclusive), he was no closer to an answer. He performed a strict daily regimen of herbs and herbal compresses that succeeded in reducing the swelling, but only minimally. After he completed his first year of Chiropractic College he again sought an urologists’ opinion. This time the testing was conclusive: it was cancer. He was immediately scheduled for surgery to have it removed. In a testament to how incredible the human body truly is, upon removal the surgical team found the tumor to be completely encapsulated. His body, knowing how damaged the tissue was, attempted to wall it off from the rest of his body. The inguinal lymph nodes that had been biopsied all came back clear.
The surgery to remove the tumor was in May of 2006. That fall, after taking a semester off to recover, he had back pain and noticed a lump in his abdomen that had previously not been there. He suspected it could be an intestinal obstruction, but his symptoms did not fit the bill. Blood work to check tumor markers came back severely elevated, and a CAT scan confirmed that the tumor had spread. This tumor did not grow along any lymphatic channels or venous drainage from the groin, so it likely grew as a result of pulling the original tumor through the inguinal canal, resulting in a flaking off of some cancer cells. This secondary tumor (pathology revealed it to be a teratoma, which is a very rare tumor in males) eventually grew to 18 pounds. He was told he had a very low chance to survive. After 4 courses of chemotherapy coupled with Chinese herbs to keep his blood counts high (they never dropped), he underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Initially, he was told it may take as many as 10 surgeries to completely remove it. He went into surgery in early February 8th, 2007 at just a shade over 120 pounds to have an 18 pound tumor removed. It was later revealed to not only have been completely compressing his left ureter (tube from his kidney to bladder), but had also wrapped around his abdominal aorta. The surgeons in Boston were able to not only completely remove the tumor, but to also cut out the diseased section of his left ureter and save his kidney. I never had the chance, but I would have loved to shake that surgeon’s hand.
In the fall of that year, he enrolled in Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis to start his Chiropractic training from the beginning. It’s been a long road, but it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. We’re thrilled to be having him join us in practice.
If you, or a friend or loved one, is battling a chronic disease or illness, then please give the office a call. Our door is always open.
Daniel J. Myerowitz, D.C., Dipl. Ac. (A.A.C.A)
Myerowitz Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic
291 Main Road
Holden ME 04429