You may have seen Jeff Nelson recently as he shared a small piece of his story in a Tri-Cities Cancer Center commercial featuring our new technology called the Edge. In that commercial, Jeff mentioned he was treated in Spokane, Seattle and Portland. Jeff’s career has caused him to travel, which lead to cancer treatment in the three metropolitan areas he mentioned in the commercial.
Recently, Jeff loaded up their RV and moved to Northeastern Oregon, with his wife Anita, to start a new job. Shortly after arriving he had a recurrence of cancer and was unable to take the new position. With no employment or family ties to our community, Jeff was seriously considering making a move to a city where he had already established cancer care. In our conversation with Jeff, he mentioned receiving great care in Spokane and Portland. Additionally, he felt his care at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance was exceptional, not to mention they have kids and grandkids living on the west side of the state.
Jeff went on to say that the Tri-Cities Cancer Center was actually his fourth choice for treatment and care. Now, this wasn’t because of our quality care. Rather, it was because Jeff was unfamiliar with the Cancer Center.
On a weekend and on a whim, while knowing the Cancer Center wasn’t open, Jeff and his wife Anita decided to drive up to Kennewick and check out the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Campus. While here, they saw that the Cancer Center is a Network Member of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Jeff said this gave him peace when considering getting treatment locally as he knew we had to provide exceptional care due to our affiliation.
Jeff scheduled a consult with Dr. Juno Choe, a radiation oncologist employed by the Cancer Center. There were things Jeff wanted
to hear, Dr. Choe told Jeff the things he needed to hear. Jeff mentioned he really appreciated Dr. Choe’s transparency.
While the Tri-Cities Cancer Center wasn’t Jeff’s first choice for cancer care, he would tell you we were his best choice for care.
Jeff’s message to our readers, “Don’t give up. The second you give up, it’s over. If you feel anything weird on you, go get it checked. Early detection is the key.”
Jeff Nelson knows the importance of these words all too well as he was diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma – a cancer so rare that one in 1,000 cancers are sarcomas and of those, one in 10,000 are epithelioid. This cancer is almost always found in people ages 18-25. Jeff was diagnosed at the age of 44.
Similar advice was echoed by Jeff’s wife, Anita. She added, “Remember the little things are important. Find support where you can and hold onto it.”
Throughout his life, Jeff has taken the bull by the horns both literally and figuratively. His brother-in-law got him into bull riding at the age of 10. At the age of 13, he was flipped over the top of a bull and landed on his neck, forcing him to stop the practice. Fortunately the damage has been limited to seeing a chiropractor since the incident. As fearless as he was in that arena, he was just as fearless when fighting cancer. “It is what it is,” he says, “You can’t control it. But you keep going on and see what the next step is.”
Despite the obstacles he faced along the way, Jeff keeps on going. He attributes this largely to the tremendous support he has received from his wife, family and friends – including his friend John who shaved his head in solidarity. He is also quite thankful for having discovered the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, a decision he said was easy to make because we are a part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and because it allowed him to stay local to obtain the same quality of care.
“I would recommend the Tri-Cities Cancer Center to anyone,” says Jeff. “It was very easy working with Dr. Choe and I really appreciated his straight-forward approach. Plus, I found out on my first treatment day I was to be treated on the brand new Edge Radiosurgery System, the most accurate treatment currently available.”
Jeff shared with us his bucket list, which consists of visiting The Rollercoaster Capital of the World in Cedar Point, Ohio. He would also like to visit his friend John who moved to New Zealand recently. He threw in some sibling rivalry for good measure, he wants to go skydiving on his 50th birthday, just like his sister did. However, he doesn’t plan to scream all the way down like she did.
Jeff and Anita currently live a very simple life out of necessity and because it is the way they like it. He laughs when he is reminded by Anita that he promised her at least 40 more years of marriage. She jokingly added, “And 20 of those years had better be good ones!”