Williams, April – Surviving Mesothelioma

Williams, April

We all hear about stories of this family member or that family member having cancer but until it hits your family does one know what dealing with cancer is really about. From the time I was 18 years old until just a few days ago the word CANCER has become a normal part of my life. I honestly think I have lost count of the family members that have or had cancer, starting with my first husbands’ family to a few days ago my own father having cancer cells removed from his face unexpectedly.

There are so many different kinds of cancer out there, and I’m sure there are thousands more that we don’t even know about yet. My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer about 10 years ago; he was the first “official” family member to get cancer. He was a lucky one, went in for surgery had ¼ of both lungs removed and presto it was gone, no radiation, no chemotherapy. He told me that he knew it wasn’t his time that he had to take care of my grandma. Same thing with my grandmother, she was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 80, she went in and had surgery again presto gone. But there are the loved ones that we all know that haven’t been that lucky. Like my Uncle Bob, he was diagnosed with throat cancer that was usually “reserved” for people that were heavy smokers. He never smoked in his life, he was told he would have to have to have his voicebox removed. He told the doctors NOWAY, there had to be another procedure that could get rid of this thing, and there was. He had some type of radiation on his throat and after 5 years he was said to be in complete remission. Sadly lost his life to complications from the horrible parasite in September of 2005, apparently the radiation was too close to his heart and during a simple bi-pass the doctors learned that his heart was completely dead. There was nothing the doctors could do to save the heart. Having surgery after surgery, doctors saying they got it all, then saying it was back, got to do another surgery, and again they got it all, and again saying it was back.

When is enough, enough? When do we do like Rhino O’Connor did and research our disease and take charge of our body instead of letting it or any other disease take charge of us. I was diagnosed with many, many different “things”, one of which is warm antibody Idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia, which is, in short my body is killing my red blood cells before they mature. The cause is unknown, however my doctors think it is due to my SLE Lupus. I was blessed from the beginning to receive a recommendation to a wonderful hematologist/oncologist. One of the things this doctor taught me is: I know my body and I know my body best, if I feel like something is wrong or off then I need to pursue it.

I knew that there was something wrong, that I just didn’t feel right, but I could not put my finger on it. My hematocrit and hemoglobin were very, very low, so on to prednisone I went, oh how it made me feel blah. I wanted to get rid of that feeling and I wasn’t sure how so I went on with my life feeling just blah, then I started rescuing cats, mostly feral (wild) cats. I would tame them if I could and find them new homes, otherwise I would release them into my sanctuary. There were evenings I would sit inside the newbie cage with most of the cats giving me the evil eye, once they trusted me I would get them brushing up against me. I started to notice that I was feeling better, when I was with these cats some of them with their own issues I would forget about all of my issues. It was like these cats and I were feeding off of each other with good energy, they were finally happy to be getting the kind of attention they wanted and so was I. I would pet and brush these once untouchable cats, almost as I was brushing away their fear of humans, and I was letting my pain leave me through that brush.

I have learned that not every treatment is right for every person. And what works for the majority of people may do nothing to one person search for recovery. In the end, the thing that we all can do is keep a positive mind, as positive energy and believing in oneself can do only great things for us.

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