Health Hero: Dan Doty

Dan Doty, 61, husband, and a father of two sons, noticed a lump in a place he wouldn't have ever expected. But that was only the beginning. Read on to learn how Dan overcame his health conditions and how his outlook on life has helped him move forward.

We lived in Houston, TX for 33 years. I was a salesman for Borden Dairy and had a great career. I had been in good health and actively played golf while raising a family. But in 2006, I noticed a lump on my chest. I mentioned it to my primary care physician and he checked it out. I had been in the Marine Corps in the late 60's and early 70's and was a Drill Instructor in San Diego. The last thing I expected to hear was that I had breast cancer. But that's what I had.

After a biopsy and confirmation, I underwent more exams and tests. I found out I also had a tumor on my kidney. The tumor was about the size of a baseball. I checked into MD Anderson Center in Houston and went through a double surgery to remove my kidney and to get treated for breast cancer. After the surgery, I had to go through chemotherapy. Even though I underwent procedures to improve and revive my health, my condition became worse.

The chemotherapy had damaged my heart and I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I was transferred to Methodist Hospital in Houston and doctors recommended that I have an LVAD (left ventricular assist pump) installed to keep my heart working. This worked well for about 1 year and then I received the newer model from Thoratec called the Heartmate ll. This is the same device that former Vice President Dick Cheney has for his heart condition. Because of the new technology from Tho ratec and the wonderful care from the hospital, I was able to get back to somewhat of a normal life. I did some volunteer work with the hospital, I was able to travel with my wife, and I got back to playing golf.

All in all, God has been good to me, and I feel as though I'm leading a blessed life. I am looking forward to going on the heart transplant list in May of 2011. Life is different, but I have seen my youngest son graduate from college, get married to a wonderful girl, and enjoy many of the blessings that life provides for us. A lot of people have asked how I can have a good outlook on life. I learned a long time ago that all you have to do is take a walk around the block and you will see a lot of people hurting a lot more than you are. Yes, I have to carry this LVAD bag with batteries and controller, but go out to a VA Hospital some time and you will see exactly how blessed you really are in life.

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