When I understood the challenge ahead in my personal battle with a cancer still to find a cure, and a projected two year longevity prediction, it was time to dig in for answers—all while avoiding the world of quackery and misinformation.
There’s often news of such patients overcoming the incurable and substantially extending projected survival times. Admittedly, those patients hold infinite amounts of discipline that I’ve yet to achieve.
I’m not one to sulk and wallow in my own misery. So I switched to my 300 mm lens. Some interesting activity up the beach caught my eye. I zoomed in on the scene. Suddenly I forgot about my morning conversation with my physician. A pod of brown pelicans — maybe close to a hundred, the males in their colorful mating plumage, and the females seemingly enjoying the attention, beckoned Oly and I to get a little closer.
When just 5% of gynecological cancers are uterine carcinosarcoma the money isn’t there for research. Furthermore, it’s not a well known form of cancer. Case in point, during a recent hospitalization I told one of the nurses about this cancer I’m fighting and she said that she had never heard of it. And when I spoke to a group of women about this cancer, they too, had never heard of it.
This was a call to war. And the war ignited into full regalia when my guardian angels pulled the plug on my body on Halloween 2018 while I was in a second-opinion consult with a Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist. As pale as white paper, and barely able to breath, and worse — unable to control myself, I hurled and splattered volumes of gastrointestinal debris all over her office. Rushed to the ER, the final report read: severe anemia, hemorrhage gostrointestinal upper, malignant neoplasm of endocervix (HCC), and dyspnea — NOS (labored breathing).
Now imagine yourself listening to a specialist in this field of cancer treatment basically telling you that father time, cloaked in his black garments and clutching a sharpened scythe, has established his death-dealing self within your body. You have choices to make. Here’s 10 incites that will probably happen with that diagnosis:
Finally, we stood face to face (as it were), You reminded me of a Star Wars character, the kind I might meet in a faraway bar — not purposefully harmful, just looking for somewhere to blow your wad. Well, aren’t all penetrators following the same mission?
“What island am I on?” I asked myself. Outside is a leader belittling countries of dark-skinned humans. Outside is a legion of angry white men at war with themselves and a changing world. Outside is a living contradiction of faith. Outside we’re told that it is us versus them. But I was on an island where ethnicity and social station did not matter. This island’s mission was human kindness.
Through these 12 months, a medical cancer did strike my friends and colleagues. It was as if a deluge of rogue cells from what I call cancer-world rained on many people I know. And at the same time it never dawned on me that, I, a breast cancer survivor, should have kept my umbrella at hand.