Will to Live – Full Anger Mode – Part 18

I spent another 2 months at East Jefferson Hospital. After the many visits and numerous test that Dr. Gurtler was performing on me, we decided to switch Oncologists and Hospitals. I think my family was concerned that I was not getting the best care I needed. Don’t get me wrong, East Jefferson was an amazing hospital, but we just could not get past the fact that Dr. Gurtler had no bedside manner. My mom and Jane knew that time was not on my side. Thru many different Doctor Friends, my Mom was able to get me an appointment with the leading Oncologist at Tulane Medical Center in downtown New Orleans. His name was Dr. Leonard Thomas. He came highly recommended. The first thing Dr. Thomas wanted to do was put my entire case in front of the Cancer Tumor Board. This was a group of about 25 leading Cancer Doctors in the New Orleans area between Tulane Medical Center, Touro Hospital, and a team of satellite Doctors from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. As more test were being run, the Cancer had now spread to both of my lungs. I was so scared. The 2 Blood Markers, “AFP” Alpha-Fetoprotein and “HCG” Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, were becoming more and more elevated. Doctor Thomas was extremely compassionate with me. He always spoke in a very soft tone. He even once cried with me. We were becoming very close. He was all I had to lean on from a Medical perspective. He was my lifeline. He came in my room on Saturday, March 3rd, which was 3 days before Mardi Gras, which fell on Tuesday March 6th of that year. He said we could not wait much longer to start chemotherapy. The Tumor Board had decided the protocol for me to begin with Chemo immediately followed by a possible removal of the bottom right lobe of my lung. I was scared, beyond mad, and down right in full blown depression. I could sense the end of my life was getting near. I had many Doctors and Nurses in my room. At times, I was just in a plain daze, not knowing up from down. Doctor Thomas came and sat with my mom, Jane and me to discuss the Chemo Drugs. Here is the list of the 4 Chemotherapy Drugs I was to begin taking on Monday, March 12th, 1984; Cisplatin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, and VP-16, now known as Etoposide. The drugs were extremely harsh. I had to be hydrated the day before and the day after Cisplatin, due to the fact it had a metal compound, which could possibly affect the kidneys due to the high doses I needed to take for these drugs to work. After I began treatment, I was so sick. I was losing an extreme amount of weight. I couldn’t hold a thing down. I think I lost close to 70 lbs. within the first 4 months after being diagnosed with Cancer in December of 1983. I had the dry heaves for days and weeks to come. After about 3 weeks, the hair on my body started to fall out. As crazy as this might sound, all my hair had fallen except for my eyelids. The hair on my head, chest, arms, back, legs and even my eyebrows were gone. I looked like walking death. As a matter of fact, I felt like I was dying. Come to think of it, I was!! Dr. Leonard called in a leading Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. Fredrick Knight, whom graduated from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1980. I was having so many Cat-Scans, I felt like my body was being magnetized from all the scans. The Cancer was growing and spreading throughout my lungs. Some days it became extremely hard to breath. I didn’t know if it was the Cancer growing in my lungs or the actual Chemo drugs I was taking. I still had all my staples and bands holding me together from the Lymph Node Dissection. Life as I knew it would never be the same. I was so angry and bitter. I was very sick and had little or no patience with anyone. I had very little visitors except for Mom, Jane, my Aunt and Uncle and of course, John and Pete. As months went by, I continued to lose more weight. By now, I was down to about 315 lbs. I was still a big man, but lost close to 85 lbs. Of course as you might have known it, the weight didn’t not stay off for too much longer. In the back of my mind, I was dying. WTF!! I started to treat each and every meal as the Last Supper. If I was gonna die, I was gonna die happy! I didn’t care how sick I was getting from the Chemo. I was eating like it was my last meal. I had anyone that would call me before they came to the hospital, please stop and bring me something to eat. I didn’t care what they brought, but bring me something sweet, hot, or cold. It didn’t matter to me, as long as it was food. This helped me with my depression. I was a Compulsive Overeater even taking Chemotherapy – Go Figure!! I loved Food and Food was my friend!!

Will to Live РAnger / Miracles/ Gluttony!! РPart 19

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