How Did This Happen to Me & Why?
Musical Selection –
“Everything Gives You Cancer”
– Joe Jackson –
You’re right! Folks always ask, “Why ME?” When bad things happen, even the simply benign things like picking the wrong line at the store or when you miss a traffic light. And yes, I certainly went through the process when I learned I had cancer.
So, there is simply no point in trying to understand the “Why ME?” question until we have enough empirical (facts, figures, other things we can’t argue with) evidence to give us an idea of what may have caused this, spend some honest reflection time, and then start guessing what went wrong and who is responsible (It seems like there is always someone else at the core of our problems, but the truth is it is almost always includes ourselves as a participant.)
So with my cancer, it kinda went like this:
1.I felt unhealthy – For me it was a sore throat and being tired all the time. I fell
asleep on the couch regularly between 6:30 and 7:30 in the evening.
Saw my GP (General Practitioner.)
He did some routine tests and laughed me out of his office to make room for someone worthy of all his amazing education. NOTE: Don’t leave his office until you get something to go on or find a new GP. If you’re sick you deserve to be properly evaluated and treated before things get out of control as they did with me. (I lost 3 months between this visit and being diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.)
I went to my dentist when my breath was so bad that Terri wouldn’t stay in the same room with me. It was time to see my friendly dentist to have this foul odor yanked out of my mouth, but there was nothing wrong with my teeth. He suggested I make an appointment with an ENT? A What? He said An Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. Got it, time to do some research.
Met with ENT #1 to discuss the problems and to come to the hypothesis that this was all caused by another and more serious round of Reflux. But let’s run a snake down your nose and see what we find. This is the point that this doctor’s office turned into a haunted house. When he pulled the snake out, he was pale and looked like he had seen a ghost. He couldn’t possibly refer me fast enough or get me out of his office any sooner. It was like my cancer was contagious and he wanted no part of it.
Met with ENT #2, a special ENT that focuses on cancer and related surgeries. This man was so sincere and warm. His concern was evident from the time we said hi, to the time he sent me up for some pictures of my tumor. He had me scheduled for a biopsy the next morning which proved that I had a squamous cell carcinoma at the base of my tongue. It had a certain marker in it that was tied to HPV (Human papillomavirus.)
Met with the Oncologist. Well, you can do this after your insurance company spends a few days reviewing all of this so they will approve the costs going forward.
Learn for real that you have Stage 4 Cancer. No worries, we can fix this! Once again, I see that I am building a dream team with medical professionals that know their stuff, move quickly and all have a way of making you feel as
comfortable as possible as you go through the process.
Next day it is time to install a Medi-Port to make it more productive to deliver the Chemo and to take blood. And then the chemo starts the very next day.
Now, there is much more to this story but for now, we have enough to get back to that ugly
“Why ME?” thing.
Most folks get this type of cancer by one, two or all three of these contributors:
Smoking too much (I have never smoked, save the times in Hong Kong and Shanghai when someone offered me a Cuban cigar to choke on.)
Drinking too much (I have never been much of a drinker, save the times the ASU
Marching Band went to a bar to rehydrate after the football games )
Having contact with another human being through kissing, loving, etc. at any time in your lifetime. You don’t even need to take your clothes off to get this form of an STD. In other words, who knows who is to “blame” for this being the cause of my cancer. Most folks process it simply through their system, but good folks like me take it seriously and end up with cancer.
So, “Why ME?” At the end of the day it simply doesn’t matter. Knowing who ran the stop sign and dinged your car, who is causing the slow lane at the store, or why somebody ALWAYS wins the big lotto other than me, rarely helps. It certainly can’t be used to reshape history or take the physical or emotional pain out of the situation. For me, I accepted my fate and focused on what had to happen to save my cute, not so little butt from an early grave. And make no mistake, you will not be alone on your journey. You will get to know all about how important Terri was as a caregiver and best friend, all the doctors and their staffs that worked tirelessly to help me through the entire process, and of course all my family, friends, and co-workers that stuck by my side through thick and thin. (Mostly thick, like a milkshake that you can never ever drink through a straw even after it has melted.)
“Ya gotta Breath, Ya May As Well Enjoy It!”