I too was diagnosed with cancer – Oct ’08 – upon my return from Afghanistan. It was chondrosarcoma – bone cancer in my pelvis and hip – the Air Force recommended an amputation of my left leg and figured the cancer would kill me. I am lucky, I live in Salt Lake City and through my Delta Air Lines insurance (United Healthcare) had access to one of our nation’s best cancer hospitals – Huntsman Cancer Institute. They operated, cut out parts of my pelvis, removed and replaced my hip and upper femur and took out two muscle groups in my thigh. Good news – I kept my leg and the cancer will probably not kill me anytime soon. Even relearned how to walk and ride a bike – and will ride in a one day 140 mile fund raiser in June.
Through the trials and tribulations of this last year and a half I have learned a tremendous amount about cancer, the VA and the Air Force med/disability regs. Along the way I found that most AF doctors did not know their own governing regs which totally screwed me a couple of times. I have shared that hard earned knowledge with a current Special Ops guy who dealt with his own cancer scare and would love to be a resource for those afflicted with this damn disease. Naturally, as a former Pave guy I feel a deep connection to our brothers in arms in the Spec Ops and Pave communities.
Please give my information to Will Eaton and tell him to contact me – I would very much like to assist him in anyway possible.
Vince, please keep my information on hand in case other fellow Pave guys need help too – I hope they don’t – but if they did I would want them to have the information that I learned instead of them getting screwed like I did by the Air Force.
Former 31st SOS and 20th SOS Pave pilot (1992-1997)