Kirk, Joel B. – Surviving Mesothelioma

Kirk, Joel B.

Contemplations

As I type this, the date is February 23rd, 2010.

I have just found out that I was diagnosed with cancer, mesothelioma. I am writing this as a documentation of what I plan to do.

I am an African-American, 35, no family. Some friends. I am a college student. My goals are to be a director, writer, actor in US films, as well as Taiwanese films.

Do I put those dreams on hold? Or do I forget about them?

I have had to deal with so much in my life: Abusive parents,financial difficulties….and I am going to let cancer stop me? (I do have to admit, I would be feeling like the Bible character ‘Job’ who had so much happen to him, but remained righteous).

I would wonder why all these bad things are happening to me; but that would be self-pity won’t it?

However: As the cliche goes, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

I can’t give up.

(I do recall another cliche: ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’)

How eerie is that second cliche if mesothelioma does kill me?

Still, I can’t give up. It hasn’t killed me yet, and I don’t intend to let it kill me or stop me from continuing my life.

Questions I would ask myself, as I do some browsing on the internet: How did I conduct research or make informed decisions when choosing a treatment? Would I look at chemo, radiation, and surgery if they had little to offer? What resources would I go though in order to make an informed decision?

First, I would look at what an ‘informed decision’ is. Looking at the website (after ‘Googling’ the term ‘informed decision’) I get an idea as I come to this page:

‘Informed decision’ is, from what I understand, is me understanding everything there is to know before I make a decision to go for any therapy, or any treatment whatsoever.

I would then tell my friends at the Chinese Church…and my friends at my school.

They would probably give me websites or some organizations to look into.

I would probably be looking into mesothelioma. I look into: www.survivingmesothelioma.com.

According to what I found on the website: Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which cancerous cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. There are two main types of mesothelioma – pleural which involves the sac that covers the pleural cavity around the lungs and peritoneal which involves the tissue that covers the abdominal area.

Treatment options include standard therapies (surgery and/or chemotherapy and/or radiation), clinical trials, and alternative or complimentary therapies. Despite the depressing information on the internet, there are long-term mesothelioma survivors including: Paul Kraus, Stephen Jay Gould, Rhio O’Connor, and others. Paul Kraus’s book explains what he did to survive his mesothelioma.

Looking at what is on the website gives me hope. I would believe, if others were able to survive this cancer, I would too. I would definitely look at the website further into getting knowledge of the cancer that is unfortunately now a part of me.

I will order the book ‘Surviving Mesothelioma’ that is offered on the site.

I know I will be feeling depressed, but I would continue to keep myself motivated. I will speak to friends about my condition, and how I am feeling.

My main thing would be finances. How would I pay doctors once I go for treatments? As I look into how I attained mesothelioma, I would ask myself how I would pay for a lawyer if I had to sue for damages? (Looking at the website www.survivingmesothelioma.com, I find out that some lawyers don’t charge upfront fees).

The mesothelioma website gives some doctors in the Bay Area, such as David Jablons, M.D., and Theirry Jahan, M.D., whom I could look into. Too, there is page.

That page gives the option of free test screening and paying for treatments in my local area, which I am definitely open to as well.

I try to think back, to if and when and how I was exposed to any elements that might have given me cancer.

Please note: As this will be on my mind on a constant, I still would go about my life, writing stories, getting my ‘Book of Ideas’ together for films I would like to do in the future, actors and actress or directors, I would like to work with…such as Lucy Liu, Spike Lee, etc…

Of course, I would still be making the due dates on my class assignments.

I will still spend time browsing the movie site Joblo.com to get the latest movie news, or look at videos and music (or television episodes) on Youtube; and yes, I would be spending time on Facebook….where I have yet to have posted:’I have cancer. I have mesothelioma. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? How do I pay for treatments?’

I’m sure I will probably get messages from friends online.

I wonder: Would I have to get a job, cutting into my schooling, to pay for medical bills? I do have school insurance from my school, UC Santa Cruz, but does it and will it cover my expenses?

(My first thought is obviously, ‘no’).

I come across this February 5th, 2009 article article From CNN.com: ‘Cancer treatment can save most lives but many can’t afford it.’

As I write this, I find I’m wondering how I will pay for my treatments, but I am also wondering how I will pay doctors, or lawyers.

Too much, I say.

This is serious, but I have to take it one step at a time.

First I will find a doctor, or ‘doctors’ and speak with them to get an idea of what I need to do. Then, once I’m satisfied, I will make an ‘informed decision’ on what I want, then I will worry about the financial path. The lawyers will come into the picture if applicable, if there was responsibility for my cancer from another party.

As aforementioned, I can’t let certain obstacles stop me from enjoying life like everyone else.

February 23rd, 2010

I get an email from my school’s health center.

Yes, they will help students for anything like injuries on campus; and they will direct students for anything they cannot handle…or treatments that cannot be done on-campus to off-campus facilities.

February 24th, 2010

What is on my mind is finances…

What am I going to do?

I find it a bit ‘funny’ that I’m still going on as if I have all the time in the world. At the same time, I’m still in the initial stages of my research.

I just barely talked to people.

I can’t give up, but I have to admit I am scared. I am anxious.

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