The left hand that once pounded away at the anvil for as many as 16 hours a day is not functional. His right hand barely has the strength to lift a Styrofoam coffee cup. After 47 years of proudly shoeing horses for a living, left- hander Bill Crouse, 70, of St. Joseph, Mo., is entering the final stages of his life with extreme pain throughout his body — and also with terminal cancer.
After being passed around from health clinic to clinic and doctor to doctor, all of whom told him that aches and pains are part of his shoeing job, Crouse finally found out that the pain he was experiencing was much more than a work-related accident — it was cancer.
“These doctors today can’ t see the forest through the trees,” Crouse says as he speaks into the phone headset his wife fastens to his head. “Each doctor only knows his or her speciality and that’s it. When I finally found out I had cancer, it was the first time it was mentioned as an option.
“A lot of us farriers live with constant pain and we depend on the medical profession to help us out. But now it looks like we need to help ourselves out by always questioning the doctors.”
Before his back concerns began popping up and before he lost the use of his arms, Crouse was your typical, hard-working farrier who didn’t ask for any help from anyone. He had…