Doug Hoder passed away on February 3rd, 2017 after a 10 month battle with the osteosarcoma. Prior to that, he had been a healthy, active, 62 year old man until the disease revealed itself.
Doug was a person of extreme, passionate curiosity. His interests included electrical engineering; math; cooking; woodworking; gardening; music; drumming; and photography. He had a BS and an MA in Electrical Engineering, and an MA in Math. He had been the Union Steward for the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers at NASA where he worked. He loved to attend the local ethnic festivals to experience different cultures. He also loved to travel to foreign countries and immerse himself in the cultures fully. He even went as far as studying the language of whatever country he visited. Doug had a love for the Joshua Tree dessert and anyplace with mountains and lakes.
This is his story, as written by his wife, Donna, so that others may remember Doug, and learn from his experience:
My husband began having pains in his right leg around Sept. 2016 at age 62. The pains became progressively worse by Dec. 2016 to the point he had to use a cane to walk. He was prescribed PT, which he began doing regularly.
Then on April 3, 2016 he felt something snap in his left leg in the evening. April 4th woke up in excruciating pain and was taken by EMS to the hospital. Was then diagnosed with a broken femur bone on his left leg. It was broken by a tumor that had busted through the bone. The broken bone scattered pieces of the tumor throughout his tissue. Ironically, once the left bone broke, the pain in his right leg subsided permanently. Scans also revealed that there were lesions in one of the lungs.
His first operation was on April 11th, the tumor debris cleared, the bone set with metal plates. The plan was to operate again after an intensive, in-house chemo treatment. After healing from the initial surgery, he was given a 3 day, 24 hour round of doxirubicin and cisplaton in the hospital - (May 10-12). Still in the hospital on May 13th, he leg had tremor in his left leg so violent that it shattered the metal plates.
Too soon after chemo to operate, his leg was put into a toe-to-groin cast for 3 weeks. Another surgery followed on his leg, at which time the damaged bone was replaced by a prosthetic titanium rod.
The surgery was successful. He had lesions successfully removed from his left lung in July. By the end of August he was having leg difficulties again. The tumor had grown aggressively. The surgeon successfully removed as much tumor as possible, which was about 99% of the mass. After surgery, the goal was to allow the tissue to heal, and then proceed with radiation treatments.
As prep for the radiation treatments, scans were performed. Scans revealed that in a very short time the leg tumor had aggressively grown. My husband underwent 35 radiation treatments in a row. Not only did the tumor not shrink, but it had grown even more. My husband's leg grew to a giant size to the point where he couldn't even couldn't lift it, and eventually not move it to walk or get out of bed. It got so large that not even the largest size underwear could be pulled over his leg.
On 1/5/17 scans revealed that tumors had also aggressively grown in both lungs. His left lung was so completely filled with tumors that he was getting no airflow. He was then put into hospice care.
The tumor which initially metastasized to his lung made leg amputation questionable. However, even if there had been nothing in the lungs, my husband resisted amputation. I just wanted to make it clear that amputation was not an option overlooked by the Surgeon and Medical Team.
We thank Donna for having the courage to share her story, and the interest to help others fighting sarcoma. Doug's story is a scary one - we have much to learn about these rare cancers that needlessly destroy lives. With your help, we can invest in research to end sarcoma as we know it.