For years, Roger Logan lived his life from a gray, oversized armchair.
The 57-year-old Gulfport, Miss., man bought it about five years ago, after he developed a tumor so large it robbed him of his career, his hobbies, his life.
The chair's wide arms, draped in green University of Miami blankets, offered enough room for the 140-pound growth, which sprouted from Logan's lower stomach and dragged between his legs like an anchor.
So when it came time for him, this week, to travel 40 hours cross-country from his home in Mississippi to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital for a life-changing operation to remove the benign tumor, naturally he brought his armchair along for the ride.
Logan, whose personality is as big as his growth, began developing the tumor on his lower stomach about 12 years ago. Doctors told him it was “just fat.” When it began swelling, an Indianapolis-based doctor told him surgery was too risky. He gave him 50/50 odds of survival.
The growth most likely started as an ingrown hair that became infected, Logan’s surgeon, Dr. Vipul Dev, said Thursday. Then it swelled and developed its own blood supply.
“It just keeps getting bigger,” Logan said, recalling the ordeal. He referred to his tumor, removed Tuesday, as if it were still there, occasionally reaching down to pat where his growth used to be.
When two doctors Logan thought could remove the tumor fell through about a year ago, he lost hope. He became depressed, and for two weeks stopped eating food. He stopped drinking water. He landed in the hospital for liver failure and dehydration.
“We realized if we don’t do something now, I’m just going to give up again,” Logan said.
He'd already had to give up so much. He could no longer run his antique store, watch over his family farm or go fishing. Only occasionally did he get out of his armchair, which rested just outside the bathroom door.
Logan’s wife, Kitty, scoured the country for specialists to do the surgery. A 50/50 chance of survival isn’t so bleak when you’re facing life in an armchair.
“She just kept pushing,” Logan said. “She wouldn’t let me quit.”
In August, she found Dev, who has performed similar surgeries. They spent the last six months working through insurance issues and making transportation arrangements for the 2,006-mile trek.
A friend from church offered a small plane, others customized vans. But he settled on a cargo van with his beloved armchair and ottoman bolted to the floorboard, “just like I was in my living room at home,” Logan said.
Logan will go back to Mississippi in two weeks. He's looking forward to a return to fishing, which he hasn’t been able to do in years, and walking, which he did for the first time in years Thursday.
“My feet are together,” Logan said, wiggling his toes in his hospital bed. “They haven’t been together in years.”
And about that armchair? Logan plans to trade it in for a loveseat for him and his wife.
“I never want to see that armchair again,” he said.