This story, a Father`s Day agonizing diary that I posted last Saturday June 14th here at Daily Kos set the wheels in motion for discussions and plenty of heart felt advise. My story led to several other linked short diaries here and here where I detailed as best as I could the soul wrenching fear that I had felt when the news assaulted me recently suggesting that this disease, the horrible disease that is cancer may have found its mark on me.
Once again, as I have said and repeated in this diary of almost one year to the day, I had been spiraling deep into uncertainty and fear, not knowing what to expect from this waiting game that has taken center stage in my life`s health situation. But thanks to you, I come as promised, to take you along into my future of this uncertainty. But I am no longer in fear.
So many reading generous people, some I am humbled to personally consider on-line friends came to my stories to offer their support to me, and before I type another word on this topic let me say this:..I do not think that a word has yet been uttered, or found in any encyclopedia that can accurately identify the gratitude I feel for all of the support that you have given me. I wish I could say more, but this is all I have to offer, my friendship and best wishes for you.
In the beginning, when the eye-care specialist who performed my cataract surgery was doing a routine follow-up eye examination which is standard procedure, on Friday 13th mind you, he poked me with some nerve shattering news. After double checking my right eye he informed me that he had discovered a small growth in the eye that could be cancer. Of all the dates to do this, it had to be Friday the 13th!
I have written plenty of my eye-care specialist`s visits and what it entails so I will not elaborate a lot. Much has been suggested at every angle to my visit and what he might have really meant with the mention of the word cancer. I know next to nothing, except for what I read here by those who suffer from this disease. But the fear that grabbed my very existence when the doctor told me the significance of what he found, to this day I don`t know how my damaged heart withstood the jolt.
Scheduling an appointment for the following week to be examined by a eye-cancer specialist, my doctor sent me home with instructions that sounded like his words were echos spoken from miles away. My demeanor and mind set raced back a year to the day when I got home from the hospital following a heart attack. I wrote extensively of the impact that the incident had on me.
With shattered faith I understand that I now have to face the real possibly of having to do battle with two of the most lethal and unbeatable diseases in human nature that is a heart ailment and cancer. Battles with only a glimmer of hope despite the advanced cancer technology as my weapon. At first I withdrew into my own personal seclusion of my bedroom, not wanting my family to know.
It was only when I came to the Daily Kos community that my mind was put at ease and having joined the Monday Night Cancer Club rewarded me with an opportunity to get to know others who struggle with this disease. Although I am a `possible cancer victim` as I write this, I too am one who needs support and advise
For the moment though, my heart is beating like a brand new Swiss watch so I have no concern. I am sure that in no time this new health drama will also disappear into the back ground of my worries.
And despite of all my primary fears, both from last year`s tragic health betrayal by my heart and now this, I knew in my heart that I had to release my mind from the fear and the uncertainty; thus I turned to the one place I knew I could go. A place where I could unwind and share my fears and personal sorrows. I knew that I could come to Daily kos and be embraced as I have always been.
Suffice is to say that caring folks invited me to join a group that up until then was foreign to me, the Monday Night Cancer Club. At this writing, the support has not ceased to come my way from one who has become important to me and what I need, advise from this community. It is unbelievable.
It is here where I could find folks who know what I am going through. Know how to calm down my anxieties, my fears and uncertainties as apposed to my home, where I hid my pains in order to avoid causing pain to them. I regret nothing.
Some folks in this community convinced me to reveal my fears to my wife and family. I could not have done so otherwise, I`m positive of that. That is how stubborn I have always been. But then again, Dads also have that `father`s intuition` just as mothers do. We never want to disappoint our children, much less hurt them with this shit.
When I told my wife about the news I got from my doctor, she said something to me that resonated with this:
"seems our bodies just want to do silly things the longer we keep them around. there's a good chance that's what's going on here.This quote makes a lot of sense to me at my age, as my wife sees it the same way.
Anyway, I had my son drive me to the eye-cancer specialist`s appointment in the same office building where my eye doctor holds appointments on certain days of the week. Other days he performs surgeries at another location in the city.
The lobby was empty of people, save for two young ladies with a child. I told my son that it would not be necessary for him to be present when the eye-cancer specialist went through his examination of my eye. All that mind-numbness that I felt earlier was now gone. I was ready to handle what I had in front of me by myself, thanks to you guys here in the community who chased the numbness and set my head straight with your advise and wisdom.
I was under the assumption that a re-do of my previous visit would be repeated. That I would be treated first with eye-dilation drops and pictures taken to both of my eyes and the whole previous procedure. I even was armed with a list of all my medications because I was asked for it previously. But I was mistaken.
The visit was only for the purpose of the eye-cancer specialist to examine my right eye. And soon he entered the room where I waited for about half an hour. A younger doctor appeared impeccably groomed, well mannered in a dark suit. Sitting in his low seat, he rolled it close to the examination chair where I sat. We shook hands and the first thing he said to me was that he would answer anything I asked him.
But in order to do that, he first had to look into my eye. Only then could he say what I wanted to know. Was the growth cancer? He had to look and see.
True as my eye doctor had assumed when he told me that the growth `look like cancer`. The eye-cancer specialist told me that indeed he had found the small growth. And that he could not 100% acknowledge cancer, the growth `for sure` could turn into cancer in the future if not taken care of it. He would have to cut it out and look at it under a microscope, to determine if cancer is there and what can be done about it either way.
I asked him how soon, and just how he figured to treat this small growth, and how he would cut it off?
He said that my eye would be numbed against discomfort and with scissors just nip the small growth off. This way he could look at it under the microscope. If indeed there is cancer, cutting it off now would prevent it spreading and invading other parts of my head..Whoa!! I thought. It could even spread into other parts of my body, that is how potent and lethal this demon is.
Let`s do it doctor I immediately responded. Just tell me what I need to do and I will do it.
The examination lasted approximately five minutes. To me those minutes felt like a lifetime of sitting there listening to what could had been my death sentence if I had neglected my appointment for the routine eye check another year like I already had. Indeed, as my doctor first told me, `good that we found it early'.
There is one procedure that was done to my right eye that I had never seen. The eye-cancer specialist needed a picture of my eye using this eye-photo taking technique. It involves the use of a small, approximately 4 inches long plastic cylinder-tube made to resemble half of a straw with a tiny light at the top on the inside.
The hand held cylinder, the circle no bigger that an eye, is placed against the eye ball as the bright light shines and the nurse technician allows a flow of water to drain from a thin tube connected to the cylinder to fill the eye. It is difficult to remain staring at the light at the top inside of the cylinder as water falls into the eye. It took the nurse technician two takes to accomplish the feat as the first only resulted in the water flowing down my face. I am sitting with my back to a humming machine taking the action. But it was done.
An appointment is scheduled for eye surgery set for July 30, 2014. I have the prescribed medication `Tbramycin` that I have to apply into my eye as directed before surgery, starting July 29, four times a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime.
You know the drill about eating on the day of surgery. I have that covered as well.
Finally, I cannot be more articulate in asserting my new found anxiety. It is the added cruelty that this menacing and deadly disease of cancer compels us to live through. I have to wait and see if it has found its mark on me. It punishes not only the body, but the soul as well with its vicious waiting game. I must now live another month not knowing if indeed cancer has found its mark. As long as the eye-cancer specialist is clueless absence of the microscope, I can only repeat the words that I chose to use for this diary title:
An Eye-ball probable cancer diagnosis: No end in sight!
Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7:30-8:30 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.