When you are lying in a bed without the ability to get up and walk away, it makes you to really face the feelings of hearing the words “you have cancer”. You don’t truly know the seriousness of the situation until you hear the words “you are within hours of expiring” and that everyone is going to do everything possible to give you a fighting chance. I was told that the type of cancer I had, Multiple Myeloma, was not going to be a sprint to the finish, where they could just remove the affected area and work with the chemo drugs. But a marathon, and that I needed to pace myself for a long process of treatments and recovery, and even after all the treatments I would always have the cancer. We would have to control it for the rest of my life with drugs. On top of all the cancer and treatments, I was additionally told that the cancer had taken my kidneys. So not only was a now a cancer patient I was also a dialysis patient.
The reality in my mind was, had I gone in as soon as I felt bad, I may have been able to get ahead of this whole situation. I would not be sitting in an ICU unit with a catheter, diagnosed with cancer and in complete renal failure. There I was, given a couple of days to feel sorry for myself. Then a switch flipped and I realized, I’m not done. I had more things to do, and it was not time to say good bye to everyone I knew and loved. That was the beginning of the fight for my life.
I am able to sit down and write about it 2 and half years later. I still have not lost that drive and fight. I actually feel stronger than I did before the diagnosis. I’ve gone through a stem cell transplant and the cancer is now in stringent remission. I do take chemo injections 2 times a month and keeping our eyes open for the resurgence of the condition. I am also on a kidney transplant list at Vanderbilt, where I expect to receive a kidney within the next few months. Life is good.