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Dick Poremba

I was suspected of cancer in May 2020 and later diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2020.

Since I can remember, I’ve been active in sports including football, basketball, baseball and golf. In the late 1970’s, I entered the long-distance running sport. I “pounded the pavement” participating in running events in many areas of the country and completing 50 marathons. Although I cycled some before moving from Corpus Christi, Texas to Greenville in 2014, I made the complete transition from running to cycling in 2015. Getting older and running just didn’t seem to work for me, as I continued to incur much more frequent running injuries. But then again, my cycling has not been totally “injury free” either! I’ve had a couple of fairly serious mishaps here in Greenville. On separate occasions, I have fractured my pelvis in three places and managed to fracture five ribs on another.

After a typical cycle ride in August 2015, I experienced some cramping in my chest. Over the next couple days, my cramping continued to get worse. Soon I developed breathing problems and my wife, Laurie, insisted that we make haste to a GHS emergency facility. I was later diagnosed with multiple pulmonary emboli in both my lungs. I spent the next four days in the hospital as they continued to monitor and attempt to determine what caused the emboli. One of the prime suspect causes was cancer. However, after my hematologist ordered batteries of tests, they concluded that cancer was not the cause. Ultimately, without any causation, I was later put on a daily blood thinner indefinitely. I was also scheduled for regular CT scans to monitor both the emboli nodules and a ground glass opacity that was found in my right lung. In May 2020, my scheduled CT scan indicated that the ground glass opacity had not only increased somewhat in size but also had developed a solid component. My pulmonologist advised me of the strong possibility of cancer and referred me a thoracic surgeon at the Cancer Institute. The thoracic surgeon felt confident that it was cancer and recommended surgery. Since we did not have a biopsy to confirm the cancer, my wife, Laurie, and I decided that we would get a 2nd opinion.

In August 2020, we traveled to MD Anderson (MDA) in Houston. MDA performed a surgical biopsy and determined that I had lung cancer. We later returned to MDA in September for a bronchoscopy surgery of my lymph nodes in both my lungs and a couple brain scans. Based on the results of my investigative surgeries, Pet-Scans, CT’s and other tests, doctors at MD Anderson recommended Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) as the best approach to deal with my lung cancer. I completed the SBRT in September and October 2020. MDA has continued to monitor the status of the treatment and the lung cancer in my follow-up visits to Houston in January and April 2021. It is still too early to draw any finite conclusions and what, if anything comes next. I am scheduled to return to MDA in August 2021.

I’ve continued to cycle and walk as well as remaining upbeat and positive of the future. My faith remains strong in Jesus Christ. I have been blessed that my family and friends have been extremely supportive in their thoughts and prayers for me. Since my diagnosis, I started a cancer prayer list for the many others that I have met with cancer.

I have a wonderful family. My wife Laurie is a retired PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) nurse. Our son, Will, lives in Austin Texas and works for Dell computer. He is also an avid cyclist and motorcyclist. We also have two furry children, who we adore. They are both long hair dachshunds…wiener children! Lulu is 2 and The Little Bear is 12 and they are both bed hogs!!

Dick Poremba
Dick Poremba
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