Three Health Updates

You notice when senior tennis players get together, the primary topic is not politics or entertainment, but health and injuries?  Here are health updates on three current stories …

Larry Turville: Throat Cancer

Some know and some don’t that the subject of a previous story about a “well known senior tournament player” who has been diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer is our friend Larry Turville.

Larry writes, “I am in Houston now awaiting final decision on my treatment.  Looks like I will do several weeks of Chemo followed by radiation.   Not going to be fun, but hoping it will knock it out and not leave me too banged up.

Paul Veltman: Heart

This Monday at Spike’s Wilderness club, I was playing doubles vs. Paul Veltman and after the first game of the second set, he asked, “Does anyone have an aspirin?”  When we asked Why?, he said that he was feeling a tightness in his chest and, given his history of a triple bypass in 2014, he wanted to be cautious.

My partner, Dr. Michael Fenster said, “We are stopping play!  And you should be checked out!”  Paul was convinced to allow us to call 911 and he went to the hospital to be checked out.

They kept him overnight and he did have a heart attack! They had to use a balloon procedure to open up the blockage between one of the by-passes. They have to do the same procedure again in 4-6 weeks depending on how he heals.

He came home yesterday and says he “is feeling fine!” And he will be back on the courts shortly.

Me: Hip

I am overwhelmed by the volume of thoughtful and helpful responses to my, by comparison, minor health problem.  Here are some of my major take-aways from the good advice …

  • If surgery is in the future, do it sooner than later.  Do not waste time walking around suffering in pain.
  • If doing a full hip replacement, consider the anterior method of going in from the front for a quicker recovery.
  • If a candidate for it, consider instead doing a hip resurfacing.
  • And most of all … what a great senior tennis “community” we have developed that can help us all move through the hurdles we face moving up the age brackets!

Thanks to all.  Other comments, observations, suggestions?

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11 thoughts on “Three Health Updates

  1. Bravo to Dr Michael Fenster! All of us at Pelican Landing want Paul Veltman on our team for a long time in the future. It was great to see Paul at our Red A match yesterday cheering us on.

  2. The major takeaway from this is “listen to your body”. Chest pain, or tightness, is never to be ignored. Although there may be a benign explanation for it, it is always wise to have it checked out as soon as possible.
    I have two friends who had heart attacks on the court, one of whom died because he refused to stop playing. I was not on the court with them at the time of these occurrences. I have had to perform CPR on a few other people while on the courts and it is never fun.

    Doc, i want you on the court ALL the time! thanks, george

  3. Some how I missed the story on Larry Turville.I will say a prayer. We need to be more cognizant at this age of listening to our body,no time for bravado.
    I had a heart attack on court in 04 and I stopped and went to the ER.
    I am pretty stupid most of the time but my friend made me leave as well and I am alive
    to talk about the event.
    I need a new knee and shoulder and your advice may have convinced me to move
    forward. Old guys need to be smart guys.

    Ron, yes, i will be posting a piece shortly on “Macho, Macho Man”. thanks and i hope all goes well with your joints! george

  4. Hi George, Thank you for your always interesting column and all the best with your hip.
    One takeaway–at least for me–is that possibly moderation and old adage “less is more” are worth considering. When you’re in 75th year (as I believe you and I are) playing 5-6 days a week is courting (no pun intended) trouble.
    Just a thought and again all the best. Phil

    Phil, join the chorus of those who are telling me the same thing! thanks, george

  5. Great advice for the hip, if you’re in need of a replacement! Thanks for the updates on Larry and on Paul.

    Joann, and thanks for all you do to keep us on the court! george

  6. A player on our court in Columbus, Ohio wanted to stop playing because he felt dizzy and was ashen-faced. He repeatedly refused our offer to drive him to a nearby hospital. He took aspirin and water and said he was fine and drove home. I called his wife and she was convinced to take him to the hospital where they confirmed he had a heart attack and performed a quad bypass on him the next morning. Moral: Don’t Wait.

    Bob, how many stories like that do we need to hear before changing our behavior?! thanks, george

  7. Hey Guys,
    Many thanks to all of you who have sent words of support and George for helping me in my search for treatment. My wife, Kelli and I have been at MDAnderson for a week now and starting Chemo today for three weeks. This is primarily to stop the progress of the cancer until the Proton radiation machine is available. Then I will start six weeks of daily radiation. The Dr. said that they will use a machine that can curve a beam so it doesn’t touch as many areas. Cancer is at base of tongue and node in neck. He also said it is probably cause by the HPV virus. They are seeing a dramatic increase in this type of cancer. Anyway hope to be back on the courts this summer and just a little worse for wear.

    Larry, we all know you will beat this opponent as quickly you beat all the others! George

  8. Just read about Larry in this current article….He is one of the legends of the Atlanta tennis scene. Our prayers are certainly with him. Scoot Dimon (Atlanta/Naples).

  9. I’m currently age 64. I had a hip- resurfacing April 2012. It is the best thing I ever did to regain my ability to play tennis at a competitive level.
    For primarily male candidates ( ladies, no discrimination involved; has to do with orientation of the acetabulum), it has the latest and best hope for return to active play, with the longest prognosis for stability.

    PJ, thanks for the hope. George

  10. I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia
    After getting out of breath on tennis court
    Constant chronic cough is getting better
    Do any other players have experience with this setback?

    Clive, sorry to hear that. I thought you were not your normal self. You may want to post this on the current topic – even though it is not on “health”. George

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