When he went to his physical exam in October, Lt. Greg Galehouse felt like he was in pretty good health.
The Akron firefighter had an active lifestyle and no sign that anything was wrong. After blood work, an EKG and a physical stress test, everything seemed OK.
After they took ultrasounds of his organs, Galehouse thought, he’d get his paperwork and be on his way.
Instead, a medical professional showed him what looked like a giant blood clot. In reality, it was a tumor the size of a golf ball sitting in his heart.
“I would have never known I had it until something happened, like death,” Galehouse, 62, said. “The doctor said that multiple times. Usually, you find them after you’re dead.”
Galehouse is one of about 180 Akron firefighters who’ve gone through one of these comprehensive exams over the last two years, and one of a handful that found potentially life-ending problems early enough to treat them.
In the past firefighters had to pay out-of-pocket for the physicals. This year, any Akron firefighter who wants one can get it free of charge.
“Everybody that I talk to, I tell them to do it,” Galehouse said, “Because it basically saved my life. That’s the way I look at it.”