N ow 71, Hufnagel doesn’t look like a man who’s battled cancer. The retired AT&T executive is upbeat and exuberant, sharing J im Hufnagel, above with his wife Pam, never lost his One surgeon suggested shoulder surgery. Another said Hufnagel needed a spinal fusion. With so many conflicting opinions, Hufnagel was reluctant to undergo major surgery that might or might not make a difference. his joie de vivre with his wife Pam, a marketing director at AT&T Wireless. With homes in Basking Ridge and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this close-knit couple is all about enjoying time with family and friends and escaping to the Cape whenever they can. But seven years ago they were focused on something entirely different: trying to find the cause of his pain. The first orthopedist Hufnagel saw in May 2010 diagnosed frozen shoulder. Hufnagel had cortisone injections and physical therapy, but the pain continued to get worse. Forget tennis, golf, walking his two big dogs, and other activities he once enjoyed. Medications didn’t help. He couldn’t sleep and had little appetite. When he stepped on a scale, he was alarmed to find he’d lost 20 pounds. “In February 2011 we took the trip of a lifetime to South Africa, but I was in severe discomfort,” he recalls. Returning home, he sought answers. Over the next several months he saw numerous orthopedic surgeons, a pain management specialist, three teams of physical therapists, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist. He had numerous X-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs. determination, not just to recover, but to regain his life. “I’m fortunate that Pam was there to be my rock and my advocate.” “I did physical therapy, aquatic therapy, you-name-it therapy,” he says. “I was taking morphine too.” By mid-June the pain was unrelenting, and Hufnagel also noticed a lump over his left clavicle. He went to an urgent care center. “The doctor didn’t like what he was seeing,” he says. “After all the high-end specialists I’d been to, finally an urgent care doc forced the issue by insisting I get a CT scan.” The scan showed an enlarged lymph node and Hufnagel was referred to an oncologist for a biopsy. “He called me in to review the results several days ahead of our scheduled appointment, saying he had to go out of town,” recalls Hufnagel. “He gave me no clues and didn’t tell me to bring Pam.” The oncologist bluntly delivered devastating news: Hufnagel had metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, stage 4. “He said P H OTO By : J O Dy SO M e R S 16 I Cancer Connection I Summer 2017