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March 19, 2014

Back injuries reveal Chazy man's cancer -- twice

CHAZY — Sara Munson says her father, Richard "Rick" Munson, is too stubborn to give up his fight against cancer.

"I have no doubt he'll go into remission," she said. 

The Chazy man, 63, was originally diagnosed with cancer about five years ago after he visited his doctor for a back injury. 

Tests revealed cancerous cells, and he eventually had a kidney removed.

Rick had routine screenings, and it seemed he was in remission. 

But last October, after seeking treatment for yet another back injury, he had a full-body PET scan that located cancerous cells in his neck. He was diagnosed with stage-3 metastatic renal-cell carcinoma.

It was deemed inoperable. 

Since then, Rick, a retired truck driver, has endured 30 days of radiation at FitzPatrick Cancer Center at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh.

"It sucked," he said. "You don't want to eat, and you don't want to drink." 

Rick lost 40 pounds in one month. 

"Most people don't realize what it takes out of you," he said. 

 

TOUGH JOURNEY

Sara explained that while the radiation focused on the tumor in his neck, chemotherapy will also target smaller cancerous cells that were found elsewhere. 

"They're (the doctors) are focused on the tumor that's spreading rapidly," she said. 

Despite the tough journey, though, she said, her father has kept his sense of humor.

Rick and his wife, Audrey, have five children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

"Every little girl always looks up to her father," Sara said. "It's been really hard watching him struggle." 

She said there's only so much the family can do to make him comfortable. 

And Audrey is still recovering from a stroke she suffered two years ago. 

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