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Dealing with Leg Surgeries and Breast Cancer

Updated on March 2, 2018


When the Dr. called, Rodger was in Recovery. It was 2:00 in the morning on May 6th. I will never forget the date. The Dr. listed his injuries for us. He had a compound fracture in his left calf. He had broken both bones in his left thigh. He had ripped three of the four tendons in his right knee. He had a concussion, a black eye and numerous smaller cuts and bruises. After the surgery, he had two titanium rods in his left leg. He had a brace on his right leg. He was going to be very sore for quite a while.The Dr. joked about him not having a leg to stand on. Not even crutches for a couple of weeks.

The Dr. said to go ahead and wait until morning to come back to Nashville, he was going to be out of it for the rest of the night and not able to have even us visit him. We went to bed and tried to sleep. We were exhausted. The next morning, we packed a couple of weekend bags, figuring that we would spend a couple of days and find out what we needed to do. At least, for once, we did not need to worry about money. We had over $40,000 in our accounts. Wow, how did that happen? Dennis had been approved for his VA Service Connected Disability, getting back pay and I had gotten a 5 thousand dollar check from the IRS. We had deposited it all in the bank the morning before.

I called my boss and told her what had happened and she already knew. Small town, Rescue Squad member worked with me and was already there. She was the one who had cut him out of the truck and identified him. I was told to call back on Monday and they would mark me down as being at the hospital. Go take care of my son.

We went to Nashville and got a motel room fairly close to the hospital. We went in to see our son. I walked in and he was lying there on the bed with his leg cranked up in the air. Dennis had let me out at the door and went to find a parking spot. He would be up with the other two in a few minutes. He took one look at who was there and started crying, "Mommy, mommy, I'm so sorry!" I went into comforting mode. He did not need to be chewed out right now, he needed love. The chewing out would come later. I wrapped my arms around my 6'4" son and held him tight. I was so thankful that he had lived through this.Thank you God!!

We spent the next month in Nashville, going back to the house to get things we needed, and seeing my bosses about Family Medical Leave. Dennis bought a 4 cylinder Jeep Cherokee on one of these trips. We needed something to replace the pick-up. Rodger had seven more surgeries before he was done, he kept getting infections where the compound fracture was. They would open it up and flush it out. Then they did a skin graft from his thigh, moving a muscle around from the calf to help cover it. It had been open to the bone and that was a problem. His bone had gone through his skin.

They would keep him for a week and then release him for a day, maybe two, then back in for another surgery. He had 6 surgeries in a month. The Dr. finally said he could go home. He wanted him back every week for a while, office visits. They also set up physical therapy for him. Someone donated it. We did not have insurance at this time. They had signed him up for TNcare but it had not been approved yet. His bills were already topping $100 thousand. It wouldn't be retroactive either. Just to the day of application. That meant that the initial surgery, the first hospital, and the helicopter to Nashville would still have to be paid.

Dennis' disability came with insurance for his family. It paid 75 percent of the bills. We got signed up for that and it was retroactive to the day that Dennis was approved for his disability. A month before the accident. It paid first and then went to TNCare. We had no bill left. The 25 percent of the first day was written off. Thank God again.

Rodger had to have one more surgery before the end. The repair job that the Dr. did on his right knee tendons did not hold well. It would give out on him. The Dr. did it again and it has lasted well. They did not know if he would ever be able to run but he pushed himself and exercised his legs the way he was supposed to. He rode a bike uphill and down to build strength. It works well, he can run and he doesn't even limp. Dr. Obremski, we love you.

The big downer, or maybe not, when I called the sweat shop to tell them that we had Rodger home and I was ready to go back to work, they told me that I had quit. I did not know that. I could have sued them, I should have. I did not because I was afraid they would give me my job back. I really hated that job. They treated us worse than animals. I took the unemployment that I did get. The company tried to keep me from getting unemployment, but the Unemployment office thought I had a good reason for not being at work. The nasty company lost out.

A month after our return from the hospital, we received the news that a young man, recently graduated from high school, crashed on that very curve where Rodger crashed. He died. His mother and father both worked as supervisor's at the same sweat shop. The sweat shop did not see fit to send a single representative to the boys funeral. They are cursed. One year later, they closed down and sent the jobs to Mexico. They killed a town when they did that. It was the only employer in town other than support. They couldn't get people to work cheap enough or for enough hours in the United States. Twelve a day was not enough.


Breast Cancer

In May of 2009, I went in to get checked, so the Dr. could renew my medication. I was taking nine pills a day for various things. Blood pressure, thyroid, water pills, allergy pills, and one for depression and panic attacks. I have panic attacks occasionally and they are not fun. I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. It hurt, I could not breathe and I was scared. It was a panic attack. The Dr. wanted me to get a mammogram. I went to get one.

A week later, the radiology lab called and wanted me to come back in for another one. They said there was something that they wanted to look closer at. They did an ultrasound this time. They saw a little spot in my left breast. All of 7 mm, it was not big. About an inch below the skin and with a jagged edge. The radiologist was there to make sure he could read this because he was concerned about it. He called me into his office and showed me the mammogram and the ultrasound. He told me that he could not guarantee it to be cancer but he had never seen one that shape that was not.

He told me that my Dr. would be contacting me with a referral to a specialist. They sent me to the Nashville Breast Center. This Dr. specializes in breast problems. We could only find this little spot if we knew where it was. Just feeling, you could not. It was that tiny. They did a biopsy and the tumor was about an inch below the skin. It came back as cancer and a week later, my son took me to the hospital to have this cut out. My husband wanted to but he could not drive me and I needed a driver. We also needed someone to stay with our nervous Katy. At 12, she was scared that she was going to lose her mother.

Things move very fast when you get a cancer diagnoses. It seems like you don't even get a chance to come out of shock before they have you in surgery. They are telling you what they have to do. They don't much give you an option. I think this is probably because if they give you a chance to think, you will panic. That is how it was for me. They did the surgery and took a couple of lymph nodes.

They test the nodes for cancer immediately and wait for the results. They want to know if the cancer has spread to the nodes. If it did, the whole breast comes off. Mine came back clean. They got a clear margin all around the tumor. Not much chance of it still being there. They sent the tumor off to California to a lab, to check to see what caused it.

Mine came back estrogen positive. Remember that little one year of Estrogen therapy that I had 10 years ago. That is what caused my cancer. If you have a friend or loved one that they want to take estrogen, tell them not to take it. My cancer Dr. told me that is what caused my cancer. I now take an estrogen blocker every day for five years. It is to block any estrogen from feeding a cancer cell that may have lived through the surgery and the radiation therapy.

Our life is a little calmer now. We don't have it quite as rough. Every time the Government doesn't pass the budget, it gets real tense in our house. Is our income going to be dragged away again? So far, no, but....

We don't deal well with calamities any more either. Not much fight left in us. We would love to find a little place out in the country, to just live out the rest of our quiet, little life. It doesn't seem to be happening. If any of you know of a place where the rent isn't too high and it is nice and quiet, let us know.

Please remember to vote. I really appreciate the comments that I get on my hubs. They help me see if I am writing useful, interesting, informative hubs. If you would like to use information on these, please ask and please attribute. This is copyrighted work.


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    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      BigEd, Wow, you read all three? You are one of just a few. It can be a bit depressing sometimes but if you can hang in until the end, it gets better.So nice of you to come and visit and share your beautiful comment with me. I am so glad you came to see what I do. I keep planning on checking your's out but life interferes and I do try to keep up with those I already know. I will check yours out soon though and hope I see more of you soon.

    • BigEd5857 profile image

      BigEd5857 5 years ago


      This is the first writings of yours that I have had the pleasure of reading, well, except for your comments on Fred's , and others hubs, for more than 6 months at least. I have always found your comments interesting. Your writing here is simply wonderful. I enjoyed this 3 part series so much. There are time frames from my life that parallel yours and I can relate. You are an awesome, Christ centered family which is what allowed you to overcome all the hardships. I truly pray that you get to spend your remaining years enjoying life, your family, grandchildren, and each other. Thanks for sharing your life so openly. I voted you up and across on all 3 segments but reserved my comments for part 3. I am very certain I will be reading a lot more of your writing from now on.

      Thanks again,


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Yes snakeslane, it has been a struggle but what doesn't break us makes us stronger. And if we have the Lord, he gives us the strength to carry on. Thank you for coming by to visit. Hugs

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      Oh Becky, it was one struggle after another to reach the happy ending in this story. I've said it before, but I will say it again. You have so much strength, you are an inspiration. Regards, snakeslane

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Hi Maria, It was easier to be more positive as it progressed. Things improved a lot from the beginning. I was very depressed when I started and might just go through and rewrite some of it. Sometimes, there is no place to go besides up and I believe there were times that was the case with us.

      I appreciate your good words and thoughts for us. You have helped me a lot at times with your caring and love. It shows in your comments. Thanks for coming by to visit.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Becky,

      For the life of me, I thought I had seen this and commented. I am grateful to have seen your link on the Cafe and agree that you seem to be much more positive in spirit as the series progressed.

      You are a beautiful woman, inside and out, with much strength, determination and faith. I only wish the best for you and your family, sending all my positive thoughts in your direction.

      Voted UP & UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Hugs, Peg. And prayers are going.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks Becky. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and totally agree about having our support system in place. He always does take care of our necessities.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Peg, that was the point of writing this. I keep telling people, especially women, that we are stronger than we think, especially if we have the Lord. He lifts us and keeps us going and always takes care of necessities. Keep him close and he gives us support when we need it. He never gives us more than we can handle.

      I am praying for good test results for your husband and that he responds well to treatment. Getting your support team (the Lord) in place always helps. Love and blessings to you.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Becky, You've certainly had your share of trials and difficulties, with Rodger's accident, the totalled car, the loss of your job, your savings and the diagnosis of breast cancer. Sometimes it's hard to understand why, and even harder to find the strength to get through it all.

      You are an amazing woman with strength to spare and sharing it here in such a personal and touching story is a lesson to others that we can and will make it through.

      I'm grateful that the removal of the tumor was successful and I completely understand the terror that comes with that situation. My sister is a breast cancer survivor since 1999 when she was diagnosed with stage IV with no clear margins. They gave her an estimate of "6 months to live." When someone in your family gets this kind of news it changes everything in the way of how we feel about what's really important in the scheme of things. Thanks for a great read.

      I'll continue to hope and pray for your sake that you find a way out of where you live and into the home of your dreams. Sounds like it's time to get out of Dodge.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      It is okay if we get behind. Things will wait for us to catch up. I really appreciate your faith in my strength. I do not know what else people do. Either just keep on going or what? What happens to us if we do not have the strength to get through? This is really bringing questions to my mind. If we do not just keep trying, what happens? Someone takes care of us? We have to take care of ourselves because no one else will. It is not their job to take care of us. It is our job. We have the job to do, we just have to keep doing it. It wears us down terribly sometimes. Thank you for coming by to visit.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Hi Becky,

      So far behind in reading this. I know I cannot say anymore than so many wonderful supporters have said. Your faith and strength are amazing and I know will get you through. I pray for a car, a home, and peace to cover your life, and most of all health and continued love.

      Love you lots,


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      b, I am so happy you came by today. I am afraid I could not do that. I have severe problem with people that whine and those who think "I can't do that" usually whine a lot. Most people, when problems happen, just dig in and work through them. They do not worry about not being able to do it. Then they find out that they can do it. It makes them stronger. Thank you for coming by to visit and to vote.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Becky, you are Truly a Strong, and Remarkable Woman. You could stand up at a Function and tell your story to give Strength to others who only see the darkness of a situation. Thanks for sharing your Hubs on such an Emotional subject. I too give you my Vote of UP!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Martie, we never know what we can do, until we try. I am always telling people that we are stronger than we think and to keep praying. God never gives us more to bear than we can handle. That is what got us through all of this. Now that we are through this, it is harder to look back at it and see what we went through. And the next problems are not as easy to get through.

      I really appreciate you coming, reading this, and visiting.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      All the things in life I fear had happened to you. Your emotional strength is noticeable and gives hope to those who think they will not be able to handle such trauma. I know panic attacks and they certainly feel like heart attacks or something just as fatal. Voted up!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Hi Mike, I think my faith is what is putting these things in my life. God is testing me and I do learn so much while I am being tested. I would not be able to sell that, my ancestors would roll over in their graves.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky. You sure have been put through a ringer a time or two. Your faith will bring you to a safe haven. may be interested in the Mark Twain title you mentioned. In the right edition/condition it could be your answer.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I am glad I am not the only one. I worry that I am getting paranoid. Now it is just figuring out how to get the heck out of here. No vehicle and not enough money for a u-haul. We may have waited too long. I guess they do not see how a family can live without a job. They never think of alternate sources of income. We just try to live quietly. David had one of his bi-polar meltdowns last week. I had to call the police to come calm him down and as the cop is taking him to jail for domestic violence(he threw things, but not at me), he heard the cop telling the dispatcher to "dig" for anything on me. They found something, and I got served that afternoon. What kind of cop digs for something, on what he is seeing as a victim? A jerk! Now I have to go to court for David and me. The cop also told the magistrate I told him David was throwing things at me.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Becky, your Hub speaks for itself, but your last comment--now you're on the Harrass List? Definitely the pressure is building.

      Pam and I've been there, done that, too. One little group of local officers in South Dakota became certain I needed to be in jail for SOMETHING. They were obviously positive in their little pea brains that (as you say about your situation) we were criminals. They started attempting to set us up--especially me, but they weren't really happy with Pam by the end of it, either. The morning we finally left the state, Pam was out of completely "out of it" mentally (stress), but the U-Haul I was piloting passed a whole cop convoy going the other way. We believed they'd "missed" us by minutes. Since by that time we'd made it to I-90 and they weren't specifically looking for a westbound U-Haul, we were invisible to them.

      But I fear-sweated all the way to the Wyoming state line.

      In our case, we at least knew what had "set them off" against us in the beginning. These were Sturgis cops, and I rode a motorcycle...NOT just during Rally time. And our income came from my multilevel marketing business, so there was (to them) no "visible" source of income.

      Bank records, sure, but they never got that far.

      Bottom line, what I'm getting at is: Yes, you're reading it right; it's time to get out of soon as you can.

      Voted Up and More.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Right now, we are walking everywhere we go, our van has been broken for about two months and they can't find the problem. Without it to trade in, we do not have a chance to get another. We want to get out of this part of the country too. We are having increasing problems with the police here. They have decided that we are criminals even though we are not. They harass us all the time. I have court twice in the next month over stuff that I did not do. That is why the pressure is building.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      If you find a house out in the country side away from the city it may be cheaper. If you can take a ride do it because sometimes these house owners only put a sign for rent in the garden.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      writer20, I am ready. Our rent where we are is ridiculous and we can't seem to find someplace less expensive. Dennis hates apartments but he renewed the lease this last week. They are so noisy, especially when you are on the bottom floor. We have to be for handicapped access. I am so glad you came by to visit. Thanks for the votes.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Hyphen, I definitely feel lighter at the moment. It will take a little bit to build back up again. It has taken a couple of years this time. It is very cathartic and I was much less depressed when I wrote the third part. Could you tell? I so appreciate you coming by to visit.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I also hope you can find a house with a low rent. My, you and your family have been through hell and back. I happy you and family are doing some what better now, Joyce. Voted up and interesting.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I do hope you can find that forever home soon. It is so important for one's mental state. After going through so much trauma, it is understandable that you all need a quiet, peaceful place. Thankfully, your son survived and recovered. You are all together and that is another blessing. Also I hope you feel lighter, having written about all this. It must be cathartic.


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