If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Red Lake Falls, Minn., is a small town, with about 1,500 residents. “Do you know what tubing is, where you float down the river?” asks Kevin Larson. “Then you know about Red Lake Falls.”

Even with its small size, Red Lake Falls is able to provide health care to its residents at the Altru Clinic there. That is something for which Kevin is grateful.

Kevin was losing weight, and he didn’t know why. He saw the physician on call and was then referred to Dr. Theodore Olson at the Altru Clinic in Crookston.

“I thought it was some type of illness,” said Kevin. “I didn’t think it would be cancer.”

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2011.

“I guess I wasn’t too surprised,” he said. “I’d been a long-term smoker. I didn’t like the diagnosis, but it didn’t shock me.”

…Try and Try Again
Kevin began working with Dr. Daniel Walsh at Altru Cancer Center in Grand Forks.

“Dr. Walsh is to the point, and I like that,” said Kevin. “We fit well together. We understand each other.”

Kevin began chemotherapy, but had an adverse reaction to the treatment. That’s when Dr. Walsh sought advice from Mayo Clinic in the form of an eConsult, one of the benefits of membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

“I’d always heard good things about Mayo,” said Kevin. “I like that they’re connected.”

After the eConsult, a different course of treatment was devised. Kevin was treated with chemotherapy and radiation throughout the fall. In the spring of 2012, scans showed a small spot on Kevin’s spine. The cancer had spread.

Chemotherapy began, and again, Kevin reacted. Dr. Walsh did another eConsult, with Kevin reacting well to the chemotherapy plan suggested.

“I don’t get sick, but I’m tired,” said Kevin. “There’s a little tingling in my feet and fingers, but not too bad.” The treatment plan is working, reducing the size of the spinal tumor.

“Cancer, overall, is a bad experience,” he said, “but the people I’ve dealt with at Altru have been excellent. I can’t ask for better care.”

Have you ever encountered a medical situation where the first treatment didn’t go as planned? How did you work with your provider to overcome this obstacle? Drop us a note.

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