Documenting my life with cancer
| " I Have Cancer?" Part 1
This year of 2010, looked to be very promising to me. I had gone through, joblessness then homelessness. I had survived for almost 3 years both physically and emotionally, some of the toughest times of my life. I had lived both on the streets and in shelters. Worked for minimum wage for 2 years although I had qualification out the wazoo! Had no money nor transportation. And I could go on and on , boo wooing about it all. However the point is , I never quit. I just kept trying. I sent out hundreds of resumes into the dismal job market, offering to even work well below my wage range. I started writing again and found this forum here to keep those boring days from getting the best of me. And it paid off, so it seemed. The nightmare was finally beginning to go away and the sun shined down upon me one more time.
This year started out with me finishing my first novel, becoming a published freelance writer and finally landing a full time job. I got my license back and then found an even better job, working as a maintenance man for a local complex. Something I had reached out for and now finally had it in my grasp. My life seemed to be turning around in so many ways.
But it all came tumbling down just three weeks ago now and things have been on such a fast tract, I am not sure who I even am at times.
Back in February I had hurt my back and decided to get it looked at. They did the standard tests and when I had an MRI done, they found a lump on my left kidney! OK now what? They checked it and determined it was not cancerous and that they would just keep and eye on it. A month later, another lump appeared again on my left side; this time the instep of my foot. It was just a ganglion cyst and nothing to be worried about. Another month or so passed by and another lump appeared. This time below my left jaw, and in an area that I knew your Lymph glands are. I had a bad feeling about this one.
My Dr., who had been very good all along, gave me antibiotics and told me to run the 10 day course and then if no change, she would set me up with an ear,nose and throat Dr.
I protested a bit because my insurance from being on welfare was about to end and I needed to know. Besides I had this bad feeling and had lost several pounds recently as well as lost my appetite. I felt it was just the hot weather and like most summers, my weight would pick back up in the Fall as it always had. Then again, something did seem wrong. I just didn't feel quit right.
The 10 days came and went along with another 6 pounds of body weight. So an ultrasound was ordered followed by a cat scan, and finally my visit to the ear , nose and throat Dr. who performed a biopsy 5 days later on a Tuesday morning at 6:30 am.
The following week waiting to find out was hellish enough, but that following Tuesday afternoon at 4:45, my whole world came apart. The Dr. was short and to the point. Your tests came back positive for cancer. It was not a type that is found in your lymph nodes either, which means it came from some other place in your body.
I looked stunned for a few minutes and then simply said, now what? My insurance runs out in 3 weeks and I have cancer? How am I going to get through this? I was in a state of shock I am sure and I have to admit that, you hear stories of what others go through in life; but until it is you walking in those shoes, you just have no idea what it is really like. So whatever the outcome of all this and being that I write: I decided to sit and write down a journal of this whole matter. This first entry is now some 3 weeks after I first heard and it is 3:30 in the morning. It is August 12th, 2010.
A lot has happened in the past three weeks to me. I met with a team of nine people from the Helen Graham Cancer Center, here in Christiana, Delaware, just 4 days after learning of my plight. All specialist's in their own way and put together to be with me through the whole process of treatment and hopefully recovery. I applied for a grant to cover the expense and was approved for 24 months of treatment! 24 months? I couldn't even fathom that length of time for this. Then again, I had not thought clearly since the day I left the Dr.s office and sat in my car crying and wondering what the hell was going to happen now.
Smoking was the culprit and I believe that there is no need to even say more about that. I had actually quit for 16 years but picked them back up after my divorce. Boy do I wish I didn't as even 3 week's into all this, I still struggle to quit even though they may be killing me literally. But this is real life and if I sugar coat this whole documentation, of what good will it be to anyone else in the same circumstances. If in some small way I can write down what it feels like and what I am going through, perhaps it will help someone else. And it helps me also, because frankly, I am scared as hell now. I have never been afraid of anything in my whole life. Now one word has almost paralyzed me; cancer!
This will be an ongoing journal of my progress and setbacks. My feelings and misgivings, and any useful information that I can pass on. With this being said now I will enter this part and continue with part two which will cover the following two weeks that brings me here at the computer desk so early in the morning and two surgery's now past as well. Yes that is right, two surgeries in the length of one weeks time. Part two I will discuss my diagnosis, the plan of attach and what the two surgeries entailed. My feelings on all of it and progress. Thanks for reading this and please anyone with some input, please share it with me if you will. Thanks S A Gibbins