As most of you know in late October I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Pharyngeal Cancer.
Due to the advance stage conventional chemotherapy and radiation were off the table.
My only options being surgery to completely remove my tongue, larynx and most everything else within my neck or radical radiation treatments twice a day for 20 days and see what the result would be.
I, of course, opted for the radiation. I began treatment in early December.
I had to have a gastric feeding tube implanted as I would definitely need it as treatment progressed.
I was doing well until early January when I developed a very large abscess in my lower abdominal cavity between my stomach and muscles.
Mind you, this abscess had nothing whatsoever to do with the cancers or the feeding tube. It just decided to appear and grow and grow.
The fine surgeons here at Princess Margaret Cancer Hospital immediately dealt with the demon infection. Part of the process involved inserting a necessary draining tube.
If it were not for bad luck I would have no luck at all.
Hence, I had many complications from the drainage tube requiring me to spend most of January in the hospital.
Fortunately, I was still receiving my radiation therapy as per scheduled.
The infection took a fair amount of time to get cleared up and by the end of January 2019 I was declared infection free and discharged to home.
I would resume my radiation therapy as an outpatient as per the original plan of care. I was so happy to finally get to go home after almost a whole month of hospitalization.
I arrived home February first. Very sore, but happy.
I slept well the first night. The second night I had a slight pain in my back but I put that off as getting used to sleeping on my own bed instead of the hospital bunk.
I am not sure what time I woke up that morning.
What I am sure of is that I woke to the most excruciating pain you could possibly imagine.
The pain was so intense I could not even scream for help. I literally had to call to the next room to wake my good friend who was watching over me.
I honestly thought I was going to die.
Immediately she called 911 and within minutes I was in an ambulance with a police escort rushing me to the nearest hospital at full speed.
All I remember about the ambulance ride was the EMS man telling the driver they had mere minutes to get me to surgery. My blood pressure was 49 over 43.
I passed out.
Next memory was surreal – I was in an elevator, someone was cutting my shirt off and I heard the surgeon say,
“I have to open him right now.”
I felt the scalpel cutting through my abdomen and I saw my blood covering everyone in the elevator.
I passed out.
I awoke many hours later in ICU.
Surrounded by my family and dearest loved ones. I was not sure if I was alive or dead. But, when I blinked my eyes, everyone single one of them cried and I knew I had survived something very serious.
My spleen had literally exploded. Like a small nuclear bomb.
Apparently I had lost almost all my blood – if not for my living so close to a hospital I definitely would not be here to author this blog.
I spent one week in the Michael Garron Hospital in East York, Toronto. Bless the surgeons there for saving my life.
I was then discharged from there do I could go into Toronto General Hospital as an in-patient and then transferred across the street to Princess Margaret Cancer Hospital where I am now.
It sounds complicated but Toronto General, Princess Margaret, Mount Sinai and a few other medical facilities are all side by side and part of the same University Health Network and also connected to The University Toronto.
I am in one of the highest rated cancer hospitals in the world and I am forever thankful that the Creators have given me yet another chance to live.
My road to recovery is going to be a long difficult journey. The spleen is an important organ. Yes, you can live without it, but I need many vaccinations and for the rest of my days I will have to be very vigilant not to get infections and such.
My radiation therapy is back on track and I finish my first series of treatments on March the first. Which is also my oldest son’s birthday – so I take that as an omen of good fortune.
I will write more at some point down the road. I just wanted my followers to know why they haven’t heard from me in a while.
People, look around at your family and friends and let them know how precious they are to you. Life can change in the blink of an eye. Or the pop of a spleen. Never be afraid to tell them you love them.
I am a tough old dude with very tough masculine friends and I have no qualms hugging them, kissing them and saying, “I love you Brother. “
The greatest gift I received from this disaster was seeing my dearest and most close friend standing there with love and joy in his eyes when I blinked that first blink. To see my sons faces fill with relief when I spoke.
Life is a precious gift and to have life and love together cannot be matched by any other thing.