Swiatek, Jenny – Surviving Mesothelioma

Swiatek, Jenny

A Wish

I had one wish my entire life and that was for my father to be cured of cancer. The doctors gave us his prognosis in early 2000 of having colorectal cancer. The doctors came into the room and had my parents and I sit down, then they told my father that there was a fifty percent chance that he would not make it through surgery due to his lupus and THF disease. The THF disease caused his white blood cells to attack each other as if they themselves were foreign entities entering the body. THF and lupus caused his palette count to be dangerously low, which caused him to have a week wait and IV drip of palettes before any surgery. Knowing the risk and doing the research online, my father decided it was worth it and had the surgery.

It was a successful surgery, with ninety percent of my fathers colon removed. My father and I had false hopes that it was going to be ok. We knew that a person could never be cancer free, that the cancer could only be in remission. We continued to do research online and decided to try and improve his diet and in turn lessen his risk for a reoccurrence. My father didn’t like the fact that he had to stop drinking coffee or have to eat nothing but Chicken and fresh vegetables. He went along because he read that caffeine and a lot of additives along with a family history of cancer could bring forth dormant cells. He was successful in having his colon cancer in remission for 8 years.

In the year 2008 more complications arose, he developed lymphoids in his right urinary track. The doctors concluded that a stent would probably relieve some of the pressure of the blockage. My father and I were skeptical because, again through research, we found out that the placements of stents were just a temporary solution to a larger problem. Through all the years of his surgeries due to medical turmoil, his right kidney was crushed from all the scar tissue built up inside his body. The right kidney was the blockage that required the stent; however, the lymphoids prevented the proper use of the stent. The doctors again sat my parents and I down, they said he had a seventy percent chance of not making it through this surgery.

At that point in time I discussed with my father the pros and cons of electing to go forth with the surgery. My father decided that it needed to be done because the stents were only temporary. Again he came out with flying colors, or so we thought. November of 2008 we found out that the lymphoids were not all removed and had turned cancerous and spread. The cancer was slowly metastasizing throughout my father’s entire body. I researched everyday to try and find alternate solutions than the medication and radiation the doctors wanted to administer to him. We tried everything we could find but to no avail. The cancer was spreading quicker than we could have imagined. I went with my father to chemotherapy to try and slow the spread of the cancer for at least one month. He was so sick and we tried herbal teas and roots but he was just getting tired and weaker. We even tried to drive to Michigan because the doctors recommended Marijuana but it is not legal for medical use in Illinois yet.

When we went for a follow up appointment to his cancer specialist three months later, he told my parents and I that the cancer spread to the Pancreas and that my father had a one percent chance to live. I continued researching with every ounce of energy I had, we even contemplated trying acupuncture because it was suppose to help relieve the negative toxins from your body. Through all of this my father still would try anything; we were fighting a battle we knew we were going to lose.

My father and I sat down for a talk; one that I didn’t know would be our last. He told me that he didn’t regret doing the outside research and treatments because it gave him hope and determination. He said that most doctors treated him like the disease and not as a person. He thanked me for making him realize how important life was and to never take the easy street when someone tries to force you. He was tired of all the doctors telling him to take this medicine or that but never explaining what they do. He loved being able to decide for himself what path to take on his journey of his battle. My father died September 14, 2009 of prostate cancer.

I never regret one moment researching all the medical terms the doctors used, the medications and their side effects, the effects of the medications on my dads lupus or THF or just the alternative sources for trying to cure cancer. It’s scary when medical doctors say that now your life will forever change. They gave little encouragement or hope just callous and cold. The doctors just try and prescribe any drug they hope that will work, my father didn’t want that. He wanted to treat the human as well as the disease but no doctor seemed to understand. My father believed that if one doctor took the time to try and treat the mind, body and soul that the results would be astonishing. Researching for alternate solutions to help find a cure is not a bad thing. I spent many days researching and re-researching every aspect of every decision my father and I made together. It felt great to try and treat the human soul and not just the disease that was killing him.

I wish everyone will take the time and decide what is right for them, not just because it is what a doctor told you was right. A person is only granted one life, might as well decide it for yourself. My father use to say “as long as you are able to wake up the next morning, your day can not get any better than the gift of life”. His greatest advice he ever gave to me was “today is a gift and not a given right, live life one day at a time because that’s all you have”.

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