Home > Uncategorized > I Am Dead Man Walking

I Am Dead Man Walking

Today, Oct. 25, the 72nd year and 331st day of my life, the hammer dropped. I have 3rd stage cancer of the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes, colon cancer, a cancerous skin lesion and an aggravated congestive heart disease compounded by the fickle ravages over the years by diabetes.

Did I mention I recently had a cataract removed on the left eye? Laser surgery on the right eye is scheduled next month.

I am dead man walking but at least I will see clearly and in focus.

All this came as news I expected this morning in my first consultation visit with an oncologist. More blood work and a biopsy on a nodule on my other lung is scheduled to determine if the lung cancers are related to the colon cancer.

Compounding this is a spat of early morning blackouts spanning several seconds each I mistakenly believed were caused by high blood sugars. On Saturday, a real “event” occurred when I blacked out for two hours. That’s why a cardiologist will get involved after the oncologist heard that horror story for the first time and equipped with no supporting medical records for clues as to why.

Finally, an earlier consultation with the colon surgeon — a real straight, up-front guy — I learned that my body was in no condition to survive aggressive chemo therapy and radiation treatment for the lungs and was worried I would even survive the intrusive surgery to remove a section of the cancerous colon.

As I said, the course of action to treat all of the above laundry list of ailments is pending until more data is obtained.

I am in no physical pain. I have shortness of breath when I walk just a few feet. My anxiety is high every morning until I read the glucose meter whether my blood sugars are in the normal range. The rest of the day is smooth sailing except I tire easily. I sleep with my CPAP oxygen mask to combat sleep apnea but I still need to sleep 10 hours to feel rested.

That is my quality of life of which I have adapted.

My brother had colon surgery and mild chemo in which his cancer is in remission. From him and what little research I have done, unless there is some wonder drug out there I doubt I could qualify for, the cure most likely will be as fatal as the diseases.

I told my family I feel like the guy who entered the bar, spilled all his troubles to the bartender who asks “So what else is new, Jer?”

My way of coping with adversity is poking fun at my dilemmas. I did it as a newspaper reporter and in my second career as a landscape contractor. President Reagan had that same capacity, joking to emergency room personnel that the gunman missed him by that much when the bullet barely missed his heart.

It is easy for me to say now that under the circumstances most treatments would, if not kill me, at least make my quality of life unbearable. My preference, again with the final verdict still in limbo, is to wait it out and do nothing more than the additional tests on the second lung and my heart.

The colon surgeon said that cancer is slow moving and I would have no ill effect until the tumor blocked the colon passage of human waste.

I have to wait for the additional tests on the lung and heart before any time frame can be established on those fronts.

The entire sky-is-falling scenario has not darkened my mind as of today. Meanwhile, each new day is a new awakening. It is out of my control whether it lasts one day, one month, one year or one decade. The sins that may have committed to my condition today is ancient history and can

I have lived a rich life, done what I planned to do with no regrets. What I do regret is not seeing my grandchildren, now ages 8 and 10, mature into productive adults. To observe them develop the first years of their lives has been the greatest single pleasure of my 72 years and 331 days.

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