In His Own Words

’Making a Fist Never Felt So Good’

Jim Wenger

Jim Wenger has grappled with hand pain and stiffness for decades. When he found out he could try low-dose radiation treatments for osteoarthritis close to home at the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center at FHN Memorial Hospital, he said, “Sign me up.”

Talking with Bobby Koneru, MD, at a routine prostate cancer follow-up, Jim felt confident this approach would be worth pursuing. First, there was no charge to him – Medicare paid for everything. Second, he was impressed with the strong results seen in Europe for over 40 years, and decided the very low dose of radiation, combined with the low risk, was well worth the hope of improvement.

Eager for relief from the pain and stiffness caused by his arthritis, he went to his first appointment, where techs made a plastic form to protect the rest of his body and ensure proper positioning at all future appointments.

It worked. “I already have less cramping, pain, and stiffness,” he shares. “I can make a better fist and notice improvement when using silverware, since the ends of my fingers are less numb.”

Jim says the actual procedure takes less than five minutes, and he is usually in and out of the building in 20 minutes. “It goes really fast,” he shares.

Low-dose radiation therapy has been shown to improve pain in about 70 percent of patients. To find out more about this promising new approach, contact the Cancer Center at 815-599-7000.