In my last post, I told you how my daughter found out about The Cancer Treatment Centers of America and had set me up for a consultation. We read good things about the place so we decided to give it a try.
They impressed me and Brenda from the start. The Center paid for our airline tickets and picked us up at the airport. They set us up at The Radisson. The following day I began a non-stop array of meetings, tests, x-rays, scans, and consultations. You meet a lot of people and everyone seems to be truly concerned with your condition. They treat the mind, body, and soul. The staff there are the most helpful and caring people I’ve ever seen. I even had a nurse share her faith with me. You won’t find that in most places.
The founder of The Centers had a mother who had cancer. He was not happy with the way she was treated and after she died, he decided to start a place that would treat every patient as if they were their mother. Any patient you talk to sings the praises of the doctors and staff. They have a chapel, a cafeteria, a workout center, and a piano player in the lobby.
By the end of the third day of the evaluation, I was pretty much worn out. My oncologist, Dr. Patel, went over all of the test results from the previous 3 days. Most were pretty good. I did find out that my heart has a defect in it but it was nothing to worry about. No one from Greenville ever mentioned this after doing the same scans. Dr. Patel then began to detail the cancer and where it is. This is where the results took a drastic turn for the worst. The scan showed that the cancer in my liver had considerably increased. It is so bad that even my doctor said that he didn’t see how it had not started affecting me yet. I know why. I serve a Big God who hears prayers and I have a lot of people praying for me. And I thank you all for that. There is no part of my liver that is not touched by the cancer cells. Then he informed me that the cancer apparently has spread to my pelvis. Great. This was a new development. On the bright side (and when I say this I can’t help but think of a Monty Python movie) the cancer appears to no longer be in the colon. I guess they removed it all during the surgery (not that any one in Greenville bothered to say that).
Dr. Patel’s recommendation was that I begin the second line of chemo immediately due to the fact that I have a very small window to work with. I was told that if jaundice sets in, no one will treat me due to it being an ethical situation. Even the Cancer Center will stop treating me. Apparently jaundice means there is no return, end of ball game, sayonara, adios amigos. So we stayed an extra four days and began my new regiment of chemo. It went fairly well so we decided to take a vacation to Walt Disney World. That wound up being a very good thing because as soon as I got there I began to eat. The magic of Disney, eh? We stayed there for 12 days with my daughter and two grandsons. My mom, step-dad, dad, step-mom, 4 sisters, brother, and my niece came down for the weekend. It was a great time and well needed.
Today I am back in Philly for round two. I feel better, not because of the treatment or even the doctors and staff here, but because of the stories some of you, my friends, have told me of how much my ordeal has affected the way you now live your life. If this horrible disease has managed to help any one in any way through me, then I am very humbled and maybe all this is worth it. Maybe wether I live or die is not the issue but rather how I use this time to affect others and possibly give them something to truly live for. Appreciate the life you’re given every day. Give thanks every day. I know I do.
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” Winnie the Pooh
A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Sometimes in life, it’s the only weapon we’ve got. –Roger (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. –Christopher Robin.