My Cancer Story
Cancer is a troubling thing. Just the sound of it makes people walk in fear or terror. No one ever expects it to happen to them. Surprisingly, even the people who smoke cigarettes do not expect it. Cancer is a tricky disease that can appear in many ways, attack in many ways. This is how I would act if I find out that I got cancer.
It starts off with the doctor announcing it to me during an annual check-up. I had an adverse cough and I told my doctor about my work, so she decided to take X-rays. After that, she had diagnosed me with pleural mesothelioma – very rare form of cancer developed in the lining of many organs. This is a type of cancer usually induced by inhaling too much asbestos. My first reaction is shock and disbelief. I ask the doctor to double check, even triple check just to make sure that there were no mistakes. After the doctor reassures me, a feeling of melancholy instantly takes over me. However, being a handy-man and always working around and cleaning asbestos, I should have been aware of the risk. I was warned when I was younger that too much exposure to it could result in some health problems, but I did not expect this…
I should have known, though, that something was wrong with me since I have been coughing up blood, waking up drenched in sweat even with the air condition on, having random appearing of bumps under my skin, and not being able to swallow. I simply believed that I was feeling a little weaker because my immunity went down due to stress and exhaustion. One, understandably, never hopes for the worse. Unfortunately, my condition is serious, detrimental, with a seemingly little or no chance of reversing the stages of the cancer. I immediately call my family and let them know. My mother cannot stop crying; telling her it will be fine does not help. At this point, all I want to do before I become bed-ridden is spend time with my loved ones. I would also like to travel, but I know that I will not be able to take long trips and move that much… For now, all I want to do is sit down in my chair and give in the tears. For some reason, they say a grown man should not cry, but crying feels good right now. I know the sound of Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew album along with a glass of red wine will help me relax, so I might as well afford it.
Even though the outlook of being cured seems bleak, I cannot simply give up – I must look for all the available treatments. Having this cancer is a very scary thing and the treatments are not making me feel any better. Because of the stage at which this cancer is usually found, surgery is not an option: this kind of cancer doctors only find when it is already deeply imbedded. The next option on my list is radiation exposure. They say that the External Beam Radiation is the preferred one for mestholiema patients – it stops the pain that is induced by the cancer. Five days a week, for five weeks, physicians direct the beams to the cancer spot and it makes the pain subside. What really touches me is that this radiation treatment does not affect the malignant tumor at all. However, it is preferred over chemotherapy. Chemotherapy scares me the most because the doctors inject a drug directly into the stomach or directly into the chest. Then there are side effects like nausea and vomiting, which make the patient need more drugs, as well as vitamins lost through chemotherapy. My last choice is an alternative form of medicine. This involves herbs, meditation, acupuncture, aroma therapy… This treatment sounds the least stressful on the body and it has had positive reinforcement from other patients like myself.
All in all, the only thing that matters is being with loved ones. With the little time that I have left, there is no time to lose. I will focus on the things I have always wanted to do, try out, learn, and attempt to make what little I have left of life as fulfilling as I possibly can. I will play my piano, read, socialize with people I did not have time for in my busy life, relax my soul… It is the moments like this that highlight the true values and show what life really means…
By: Miles, Theron