The Central Virginian

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Cancer treatment taking toll on young patient

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

This is the second story in our series, “Health and Heart,” that will follow 16-year-old Louisa cancer patient Trey Pugh and his family as they go through the daily trials and struggles that arise in dealing with the disease.


The Treatment

Trey Pugh at one of his many treatments.

Trey Pugh at one of his many treatments.

It was a moment Trey Pugh thought he was ready for. Heck, he had even shaved his head down to a buzz cut a few weeks earlier in preparation for the moment.

But when Pugh went to scratch his head and found himself instead pulling out clumps of hair on Friday, Jan. 3, he couldn’t prevent himself from being overwhelmed with emotion.

“Before I lost my hair fully, I went ahead and shaved it because I didn’t want to have bald spots, but it was a shock when I started losing it,” Pugh said.

“A lot of people said that some don’t lose their hair at all during treatments,” Pugh’s mother, Kelly said. “I think he heard that so much that he was hoping that he was one of those people.”

The side-effect is just one of many that Pugh has had to deal with since being diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer on Monday, Nov. 11.

Since then, Pugh has had an intense schedule of chemotherapy. For two weeks, he will go on Mondays and Fridays for treatment. Every third week, he goes every weekday.  The 45-minute car ride to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center for treatments serves as a time of meditation of sorts for Pugh. Though the temptation on each road trip is to let trepidation trickle in, Pugh instead sets his mind on the figurative road ahead.

“It’s getting better for me, because now I process everything,” Pugh said. “I can prepare myself, and that’s what I do, prepare myself for what is about to happen. All I’m thinking is, ‘Let me just get this over with as quick as I can.’”

And though the disease is Pugh’s alone to fight in a physical sense, the mental burden sits squarely on Kelly’s shoulders as well.

“I used to think about what my son had to go through and how he’s going to feel later, but he’s shown me such bravery and strength through it all that I don’t fear it as bad as I once did,” Kelly said.

Still, for all the bravery displayed heading into the treatments, it seems too many times go unrewarded on the trips home.  Pugh said that specifically on his five-day treatment weeks, he sleeps for most of the remaining hours spent at home. A self-described “video game nerd,” Pugh said that simply picking up a controller to play with his 11-year-old brother Jonathan feels too strenuous.

To read the entire story, see the Jan. 23 edition of The Central Virginian.