The Failed Physical
For 26 years Ellery Queen was a truck driver. During that time he was required to perform a DOT physical every two years. In August of 2007 Ellery failed a physical because of large amounts of protein found in his urine. Forced to leave his job, he ended up in the hands of a kidney specialist. The doctor performed 24 hours of testing, which uncovered a protein dumping level 65 times higher than normal. A kidney biopsy showed damage from a disease called Amyloidosis.
Ellery was sent to see an oncologist at the University of Iowa Hospital for a bone marrow biopsy. The biopsy revealed Multiple Myeloma (leukemia). The doctors told Ellery his life expectation was 3 years but for any chance to make that possible, he would have to undergo a stem cell transplant.
The Fight, Round 1
On a Friday in early November of 2007, strapped to a table for 5 hours with needles in both arms, they harvested Ellery’s stem cells. The following Monday, he was given high doses of chemotherapy to kill all of his living cells. After a day of rest, Ellery was given his own cleaned stem cells back. He was monitored very closely in isolation. Ellery’s immune system was expected to show signs of growth after 48 hours, but after 74 hours and no signs of growth, his body was slowly going into a coma. Ellery’s immune system finally reached a stable level and he was released to go home after 8 long weeks in isolation.
After 6 months off, Ellery tried to go back to work, only to get a viral infection leading to a 105 degree fever, which put him back in the hospital for another 2 weeks of treatment.
The Fight, Round 2
In February of 2009 Ellery and his wife, Barb, decided to leave the cold of Illinois for the warmth of Arizona. That July he began feeling easily fatigued. They thought it best that they should see an oncologist here in Phoenix. Sure enough, Ellery’s cancer was back and very aggressive. Though it is extremely rare, his doctors decided to administer a second stem cell transplant. Ellery spent the next 6 weeks recovering in the ICU.
Giving is Receiving
Ellery has been on some sort of chemotherapy ever since, ranging from every two weeks to once a month. He has beat pneumonia and other threatening illnesses multiple times. Like many loved ones with cancer, Ellery struggles with the ups and downs that come with the pain caused by the disease and the side effects from his treatments. The way he deals with these waves is by devoting his life to helping others. Since I’ve known Ellery, he has fostered children in need of temporary housing, volunteered at local schools transporting kids to after school programs, enrolled in massage school to help others that suffer from chronic pain, participated in charity walks to support cancer research, and does everything he can to bring a smile to the face of friends and family that are having difficulties in their own lives.
The Fight Is Not Over
Ellery’s struggle to fight these two dreadful diseases forced him to retire early, at 51. So now the copays and deductibles for the medical treatments and prescriptions that have kept him alive are piling up on he and his wife Barb. And to top it off, his wife will be losing her job of 5 years at the end of February, do to downsizing.
This man that has beat the odds and statistics given to him by all the specialists continues to fight. His faith and determination help him to stay positive and keep pushing forward. With the loss of his wife’s job he will no longer have insurance to help him continue the treatments necessary to keep his cancer stable. I would like to ask everyone that reads this story to please consider donating just a few dollars to Ellery’s fight against cancer, in order to assist this man that has been there for others in need on so many occasions. Just a few dollars could help him and his wife bridge the gap necessary for him to keep receiving treatment. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Ellery’s fight against cancer and helping with any donations that you can.
- Jona Perrin
- Tamara Emrick
- Greg & Michelle Owens
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