Baseball and Cancer Do Mix

I have been following baseball since 1954 when I was 10 years old. One of my biggest thrills was to watch Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Roberto Clemente, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Dale Murphy and Nolan Ryan play baseball in person in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Houston and Dallas.

Last summer I suddenly got very sick and vomited as many as 10 times in one day and lost 45 pounds in three months. Doctors at first thought it was H Pylori, acid reflux and duodenal ulcers, but found out in Houston VA Hospital that I had duodenal cancer with a blockage in my small intestines, which was causing the vomiting.

Surgeon removed the blockage on October 16 of last year.  It was discovered that I have Stage III duodenal cancer after the surgery. We went back to Houston in November to talk to surgeon and he told us that duodenal cancer has a history of returning. I was feeling good before that meeting, since they had removed the cancer. I started a chemo program in December of 2012 at the VA Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. The chemotherapy program was changed from one kind of chemo IV to another, when there were too many bad side effects from the first kind of IV. Then I was switched to another kind of chemo IV and it had even worse side effects.

The oncologist gave me the option of discontinuing the chemotherapy program last month and I agreed to stop the chemotherapy. The oncologist said there is not really a chemotherapy program, that was expressly designed for duodenal cancer patients. He also said the chemotherapy program was causing more harm than good, so it would be better to discontinue it, so I would have a better quality of life.

There is only a 30 percent chance of duodenal cancer patients to live more than five years. We return to Houston on May 21 for a Catscan, which will show whether the cancer has returned, so right now I  am in a state of limbo and am wondering what the scan will show. Should know the results by May 30, when I have an appointment in Pineville with oncologist.

I am feeling very well right now, so am excited about the start of the 2013 major league baseball season. I have watched three or four baseball games in one day, since I don’t know if I will be around for the 2014 season. The games help take my mind off of the cancer and what may lie ahead in the coming months and years.

Stan Musial was one of my favorite players, since I grew up listening to KMOX radio, out of St. Louis when Harry Caray and Buddy Blattner did the games. The station would fade in and out, but I would listen through the static to hear what Stan Musial and the St. Louis Cardinals were doing that night. I am presently reading a book about Stan Musial and it reminds me of the all the nights listening to KMOX.

We later were able to hear Chicago White Sox games on KSYL radio in Alexandria, Louisiana. I remember Bob Elson and Milo Hamilton broadcasting the games in 1961 and they would give reports on Roger Maris as he was trying to break Babe Ruth’s single season record of 60 home runs in 1927.

Then the Houston Astros games were heard on KALB radio and the telecasts were shown on KALB-TV on Sunday afternoons.

Now many years later it is possible to see baseball games on satellite on MLB Network, the television network baseball fans love. In addition we get to see most of the Texas Rangers games. We can also see the ESPN games on Sunday and Wednesday nights and the Fox games on Saturdays, plus the TBS games on Sundays. WGN out of Chicago telecasts both White Sox and Cubs games during the season, but don’t broadcast them daily.

So now I watch baseball for hours at a time. Baseball may be boring to some sports fans, but each pitch of a baseball game can lead to an exciting outcome. There is still nothing like watching a baseball fly out of the stadium. A case in point is when my Atlanta Braves came from behind to defeat the Cubs on Saturday night. B.J. Upton and his brother Justin both homered to give the Braves the win in the last inning walk off win. It was the first time two brothers both got Gatorade baths at the same time.

My main concern is that I get to see my grandson Matthew play baseball, as many time as possible and see my grandson Mark play soccer often. Matthew hopes to play in the major leagues someday. I was fortunate to be there, to see him hit a home run in a Texas Little League All Star game a couple of years ago. Matthew is playing his eleventh year of baseball this season and will be playing Babe Ruth League baseball again in 2013, then hopes to play high school baseball in 2014.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but am determined to enjoy as many baseball games as possible this season. I am hoping for good news in May about the cancer, but am having too much fun watching baseball games, to worry about it too much.

So I have found that I can have cancer and still enjoy my favorite sport of baseball, which I have been following for the last 60 years.



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