In the next few days after my first surgery, it really started to hit me that I could possibly die. I was really worried. Eighteen months earlier before I was diagnose with Cancer, Jane had given birth to our first child, a healthy baby girl. We named our daughter Karen Ann Uli. I was the happiest man on the face of the Earth. We didn’t have any problems. We went to church, both of us worked, we drove nice cars and we were attempting to save up enough monies to purchase our first home. God had Blessed us both with a healthy baby girl. Karen was named after one of my favorite childhood actresses, Karen Valentine. She starred in the TV series Room 222 and also spent time on Hollywood Squares as a regular. After Karen was born, our lives had really changed. I was extremely conscious of having another mouth to feed and not just my own. I ways getting pretty self conscience of my weight. Many times I would try to start a diet only to go back to the same habits. I was now told I was dying and in the back of my mind, my big fat ass and weight was on a backburner many miles away. I now had more responsibilities and not just Jane and I to care for each week. I always think back of how great it was working with John at the Bakery. He always made sure I was working at least 50 – 55 hours a week, no matter what management had to say. The 10 to 15 hours of overtime each week helped with diapers, formula and the extra care monies we needed for a new baby. Karen was the first grandchild born in my family in many years.
The Sunday night before my surgery, I had many visitors. My entire family spent most of the day, John and his wife, Pete and his wife, and several neighbors all came to the hospital and assured me I was going to be okay. Dr. Debessonet even stopped by around 7 o’clock to check on my frame of mind. Needless to say, I was a basket case. We discussed the procedure at length. The surgery he was going to perform was known as a Lymph Node Dissection. It was going to take anywhere from 8-9 hours. He assured me I was in good hands and reminded me it was his birthday on Monday. Well, as he promised, the surgery was successful and took about 9 hours. Dr. Debessonet had to remove 39 lymph nodes along my backbone, which meant all my vital organs had to be placed on the side of my body while he operated. When I woke from the anesthesia, I had so many stitches, staples, tubes, drains, and wires on my body I was scared to move. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t move. My cut was 24″ long. If you have the visual, I had an upside down cross. The first surgery, the right orchiectomy, I had a cut across my lower abdomen just above the penis area about 12″ in length and now this huge cut, which started at the breast line and traveled down the center of my chest around my belly bottom to the lower stomach. Seriously, I felt like Cadaver in Biology Class. I was in ICU for over a week before they moved me to a room on the sixth floor. When I was finally moved, they placed me on the cancer wing with many other cancer patients, most of them were children. I was at East Jefferson Hospital in Room 601 at the end of the hall. After the third or fourth day, I was in tremendous pain from the staples and bands that were holding me together so I would not bust open. I had never felt so much pain in all my life. It had been almost 10 days before I could eat solid food again. I think I was actually starting to lose some weight due to only being fed intravenously with sugar water and nutritional electrolytes to keep me stable. In the back of my mind, I was somewhat in shock. If I was going to die, I wanted it to happen quickly. The pain was a son-of-a-bitch to say the least. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want any food. I had so many thoughts and feelings running through my head. I kept getting many visits from Dr. Debessonet and the during my time in ICU, the number of tests kept coming. As soon as I was moved to Room 601, he came in with another Doctor, an oncologist by the name of Dr. Janye Gurtler. The news was not good. The cancer continued to spread. It was now in both lungs. It was traveling at an incredible rate of speed throughout my body. I had so many feelings, I kept asking myself, Why me GOD?? Please why me?? Dr. Gurtler and I did not see eye to eye. She might have been a good oncologist, but even my mom and her had some words. She was just so non-shalant about my treatment. I was frightened. I wasn’t even healed from my surgeries and they were ready to start Chemo. I knew things were bad. I knew my life was on the line. Dr. Debessonet met with my Mom and my wife Jane and basically told us all it was time to get my affairs in order. I might only have 3-6 months left to live. I was in Stage 4 Testicular Terminal Cancer. The cancer was spreading throughout my body faster than a California Wildfire.
Will to Live – Gluttony w/ More Anger in Full Swing – Part 17