After a few months, the chemotherapy began to take a toll on my body. We are now approaching June of 1984. The World’s Fair was coming to New Orleans. From the hospital floor, I could see part of the Mississippi River where the festivities were taking place. I could actually see the Gondola Ride which took people across the Mississippi River from the West Bank in Old Algiers, LA and Mardi Gras World to the East Bank at the foot of the Riverwalk near the Hilton Riverside in downtown New Orleans.
Dr. Thomas decided to send me to Touro Hospital. He was made Head of the Oncology Department and he wanted me to be near him for close observation due to my condition and declining health. I had no problem transferring hospitals. I needed a change of scenery. On June 5th, I was sent down to the CT-Scan Lab to do some further testing. This had become the norm for me over the past 7 months; test after test after test. The next day, Dr. Thomas came into my room with a weird kind of smirk. He said that my last CT-Scan had a problem and he needed me to go over to LSU Medical Center to have another CT-Scan run. I was like, okay. As stated before, this was the norm. A few days later, On Tuesday, June 12th, I was taken over by ambulance to LSU Medical Center for another CT-Scan. After the CT Scan, I was taken back over to Touro Hospital. By now, my appetite is starting to come back to me. I had finished my 3rd Course of Chemo Therapy. My love for food was back on track, yet again. The next phase of my treatment was an attempt to remove the bottom right lobe of my lung where the Cancer had spread the worst. The Thoracic Surgeon was to meet with us again after the final results of this last CT-Scan. On Friday, June 16th, a month before my daughter’s 3rd Birthday, a team of Doctors called a meeting with my Mom, Jane and me. The results of my CT-Scan were in and it was time to discuss my fate. I remember this as if it were happening this very minute. We had at least 7 Oncologist from the Tumor Board along with the Thoracic Surgeon. My heart was racing quicker than a 3 year old Horse running in fastest 2 minute race in America, Kentucky Derby. I had sweaty palms, I was in tears, and actually was in a complete daze. We were all in the huge conference room inside the hospital. Dr. Thomas stood up and he began to speak. After about 3 minutes, he looked at me and at this huge smile. He said and I quote, “Patrick, the reason we are all here is to bring you GREAT NEWS of JOY!! We purposely sent you to several different hospitals to have these CT-Scans performed. After the first 2 we did at Touro, the Cancer was no longer showing up on our radiation screens. We than sent you to LSU Medical Center to confirm our thoughts. The results came back the same, no signs of any cancer in each of your lungs; it was all negative. We could no longer see any cancer in your body and your 2 blood markers have been dropping everyday for the past 2 weeks. He continued to speak, “my dear friend, as of now, you are CANCER FREE!!” Believe it or not, there was not a dry eye in the room, even from some of the Doctors and Nurses. Dr. Thomas continued to speak. “You my friend are a walking miracle. According to medical science, you should have died a few months ago. Your cancer was spreading quicker than I had ever seen before in my years of practice as an Oncologist.” When he stopped speaking, I was absolutely speechless. I had tears of joy like never before. My Chemo was over. I was going home to be with my wife and daughter. As of that day, I felt an enormous sense of gratitude. God was with me all the time, even when I was MAD at him. The Power of Prayer, the amazing drugs I had taken, the constant round the clock care from the many Doctors, Nurses, Family and Friends I had received paid huge dividends for me. After a few more days and final paperwork, I left the hospital. It never felt so good to come home. Before I left, my staples and bands had been removed from my abdomen. I was a sight for sore eyes. I had this grayish look about me. My body had no hair and I was still very weak due to all the Chemotherapy Drugs. My hands, arms, legs and stomach were black and blue as well as veins being brown in color. I had been a pin cushion for 7 months. The only 2 things I could not wait for was a good meal and to sleep in my own bed. One of the first places I stopped at Saint Ann Church and Shrine. I told my Mom and Jane I need to go to Church and Pray for a bit. We all went and I sat quietly and wept for almost 30 minutes straight. I was still in shock and disbelief. All I can say to those that are reading this Blog, never give up hope. If you have the Will To Live, God will provide the rest. The Power of Prayer is greater than any one medicine on the face of this Earth. As we left Church, I lit a Candle for me and one for God. I was again, Humbled and Blessed to be alive and in remission for the first time in 8 months. After a few days of being home, my mind was consumed with food again. Since I was not able to drive, every opportunity I had to eat something sweet or salty, it made me feel good. My compulsion for food never left me, it was just placed on a back burner temporarily. Food always made me feel good, even in my darkest days. I was and still am to this day A Compulsive Overeater.
Will To Live – Gluttony w/ a Touch of Sloth – Part 20