Click here to start at Part 1
Our lives had seemed irreparably affected by cancer. About a month after John’s surgery for his aneurysm he went for this pet scan to see if the cancer was gone. I was so anxious for the results; those results are so hard to wait for. The day he had it done he would be told the same day whether there was any cancer still there. After months of worry, pain and discomfort and trying to go with our life, we would be given a glimpse of what our future might be like.
The day was so dark and rainy, and I was a complete wreck inside. If I had to watch John go through more treatments, it would be more than I could handle and then there were thoughts of what if he doesn’t make it through these treatments.
Approximately a week before this we had purchased a new (used) vehicle because the one we had, had been racking up the mechanic bills. This one had lower mileage, so hopefully we could avoid the annoying breakdowns. John and I drove separate so I could work a half day before his appointment. I pulled in the parking space hardly able to see with the heavy rain pouring down; I was startled when I heard the left front fender scrape the vehicle next to me! My new car! My heart wasn’t even pumping faster, I didn’t care, I just wanted to get those results!
But I realized there might be damage, and there was. My car had two little dents in it; the other car only had scuff marks. I tried to wipe them off, but they were too deep into the paint. I got back in my car and thought of what I should do. Was this considered an accident, If I waited for the owners to come out to tell them I wouldn’t be there to get the results of John’s test? Would I be arrested for leaving the scene of the accident if I left a note with my information and went into the appointment? I decided to leave a note on their windshield. One of the advantages of not being picky about cleaning my car was that I was able to find a baggy to put the note in so it wouldn’t be drenched from the pouring rain. I wrote down my information and went inside. The people never called me after that day. The marks were probably easy to buff out, and I guess when you’re sick that’s the last thing you care about.
It had seemed like a long time since we sat in that waiting room where you know everyone else had cancer, or a loved one with cancer. You are aware of their story somewhat without them even telling you.
We didn’t have to wait long, and before we knew it we were told that John was cancer free! The nightmare was over! Now we just hope it never comes back.
I hope you will come back for the final part to the story including suggestions and tips for dealing with the challenges that cancer brings to our lives.
Preview: Remember the beginning of the story when I talked about getting a second opinion and/or changing doctors? I definitely recommend it based on my experience. For example, some doctors believe many things are resolved with surgery, and some are, but many illnesses can be resolved in other ways. Go to your doctor with all your questions written out and check them off as he answers if you need to. Usually you can tell by the way a doctor answers your question whether or not he is well educated in his field. If he seems to hold back on answering your questions keep asking until he answers thoroughly.
You can talk to other specialists in the field and see if they answer questions differently. Never assume that you have to do everything the doctor says. John avoided a six inch scar across his neck because we kept asking for other treatment options. If we would of had the surgery the doctor suggested he ran the risk of having the nerve damaged that helps to raise his arm. He’s in construction and working now. That was to much of a risk for us.
Doctor’s, surgeons, and specialists are people to. They make mistakes, forget to tell you a detail that happens to be important to you, or simply aren’t as good at there job as the next guy. If you find that you feel comfortable with the first doctor you see, great! If not, don’t worry, it’s OK to shop around. And one more thing to remember. Check the doctor’s specialty and what he is certified for. He may have a general surgery degree, but for most surgeries you should have a surgeon that has been trained for that specific type of surgery, and is doing it regularly, so he is well practiced in it.
I reveal more of my story in my book “Justice Unknown”. Besides the cancer battle, there were other life-changing events going on. I tell all in the book because I want to share with people the little known things I learned about coping with trauma and learning to move on and enjoy life again. The devastating things that happen in our life are never forgotten, but we can still manage to have a new life with happiness.