FLAVOR OF LIFE
“There’s nothing more we can do”, the Dr. said. “Your best bet is to get your affairs in order, take a trip with your family and when you come home we will involve Hospice for your final days”. My diagnosis? Pleural Mesothelioma. My prognisis? 1 year. I’m numb. My head is spinning. My stomach is in my throat. The end? It can’t be. I’m too young . I have so much more to do! How could this happen – – to me? How will I tell my family… my friends? How does one go about ones day with this – this sentence?
That was me more than six years ago. I left the Dr.’s office and went directly to my car and sat. I mean I just sat there – sobbed, screamed, shook. I remembered holding my Mom’s hand one cold December night in the hospital. After she had taken her fill of radiation on her lungs for cancer and could not fight any longer. “Please God” I prayed, “Please take her gently and spare her the excruciating pain that lays before her.” He did. While I was holding her hand remarking at how soft it was, she breathed her last breath. Now, a few years later I thought about my sons praying that prayer.
I won’t lie. For days, I could barely put one foot in front of the other. I began to pray. I knew there was some power – my God that is greater than me. I prayed for clarity, for answers, for strength. And I began to seek a way out. I spent hours upon hours in prayer, in my bible and ultimately in the library and on the internet. I kept thinking “There must be a way. It can’t always be about radiation, chemo and surgery.” I had been up against tough opponents in my lifetime but this – this was something entirely different. Something personal! I realized that first I had to identify my foe. What did I do to bring this demon inside my body? How did it get life?
I soon discovered it was because of exposure to Asbestos. It actually is a form of cancer found in the mesothelium (that’s a $10 word if I ever saw one). Mesothelium is a membrane that covers most of our internal organs. It produces a fluid that allows our moving organs (like our lungs and heart) to glide. Anyway, I worked at a shipyard for a short time years ago and apparently inhaled some of that asbestos. It’s been years since that silly job and sure enough, I started having some chest pains and shortness of breath. Thinking I may be starting to have heart issues, I made an appointment with my Internist. He ran several tests (Mesothelioma is rather difficult to diagnose) and after exhausting possible heart diagnoses, he conducted a biopsy on my lung and found it. That devil has a name and it is Pleural Mesothelioma. I had some quick decisions to make. Do I give up? Do I take that “trip of a lifetime” (excuse the pun) or do I fight it? Well, anyone that knows me would most likely laugh at that. I’m a fighter. I always have been a fighter.
I began to read about alternative treatments. I discovered an internet site with some pretty invaluable information (www.survivingmesothelioma.com). This site has some very in depth information regarding Surviving this “thing”. There are current articles and promising theories. I soon found that there are actually Drs. that believed cancer could be treated and even more exciting that life expectancy could be extended with different exercise regimens, nutrition and vitamin supplements. The problem was figuring out who were the crackpots and who were really serious about treating this living devil inside of me. In my quest to prove my Dr. was wrong – my journey towards life, I have met several interesting individuals. I’ve spoken with countless Alternative Practitioners. I have traveled as my Dr. initially suggested, however more to meet folks that have seen success in alternative treatments both as patient and practitioner. Not to begin the process of ending my days on this earth. It’s been a journey to say the least. But a choice I’m so thankful to have made. My daily life has done a complete 180. I’m up every day to begin my daily regimen of exercise, supplement intake (I take almost 100 pills a day). I also eat very differently. I now find myself eating things I could not pronounce 10 years ago. Things I never would have tasted even on a dare. But guess what! It tastes fantastic! I am alive to taste it and that, my friend, is that best taste you’ll ever realize. The flavor of life!