Smith returns home after cancer surgery

Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith returned home Tuesday as he continues to recover from surgery last week that removed two cancerous lumps from the cartilage in his right shoulder.

"They got it all except for one area near the rib cage," Smith said.

He had surgery at Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland. He had a similar rare soft-tissue sarcoma removed from his right shoulder in September 2007, which required a foot-long incision to remove a golf-ball sized mass.

Within the next two weeks, he expects to receive radiation therapy to treat any areas where other cancer may be suspected.

Smith said his doctors think the cancer has been contained in his shoulder. He hopes to have the follow-up treatments in Jackson County rather than make another trip to Portland.

Prior to the surgery, Smith said he was concerned that the procedure might damage a nerve that could have immobilized his right arm. He said his arm appears to be working properly.

Smith said he has limited movement in his right arm now and he is taking medication for pain, but he expects a full recovery.

Over the weekend, he said he was able to shake hands and get out a little with his wife, who drove him home from Portland.

Smith said his experience has made him want to get more involved with organizations that deal with cancer treatment and post-treatment rehabilitation.

"I know a lot of folks in this community that are cancer survivors and have gone through the treatment and rehabilitation," he said.

As Smith begins his recovery, fellow Commissioner Jack Walker, who received a liver transplant in November, has assumed his normal duties.

Smith said he anticipates that he will return to work within the next week or two.

"I'm feeling pretty good right now," he said. "We're on our way home."

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