Fighting Cancer is one of the hardest things a person may do in their lifetime.
To fight cancer seems impossible at first, but stay strong, because it can be done. This story is the first part of a series of writings about John’s cancer experience through his wife, Patty’s perspective.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer or another illness you may have a similar story, or you may be curious about what it could be like for you. Feel free to comment or tell us some of the ways cancer may have affected your life. I believe when we share our story it brings healing and can encourage all of us.
To Overcome Cancer is another story. In fact, when someone overcomes cancer, it is usually quite a long, painful story. The journey during the whole story is a form of being overcome by cancer but for many, it will turn into overcoming cancer.
When You Begin To Feel Overcome By Cancer Part 1
My husband, John and I were living a stressful life when we found out he had throat cancer. We were a family of 6. The oldest was my stepdaughter whom we raised since she was 9, and who was 33 at the time her father was diagnosed, and married with four children. There were two more daughters, one 23 and one 17, and a son 21. We were going through a tough time financially which only made the situation more stressful.
John was repeatedly coming home from work with extreme dizziness that caused vomiting and left him unable to do anything. The first time he experienced it I heard my front door open and went to look to see who it was, and it was John crawling in the door and straight to the bathroom to vomit. I thought he was drunk. He couldn’t walk straight. He insisted he wasn’t drinking. I only believed him when I realized he didn’t smell like alcohol. I felt so sad for him and remembered the times I had drank too much when I was younger and how miserable it felt when I had the “spins”. This illness started approx eight years before the doctor diagnosed him with cancer.
The sick days happened a few more times, and John went to a specialist who told him it was Meniere’s disease, an illness that involved the inner ear and he was told it would be something he may have all his life. The doctor advised him to cut down on the smoking, caffeine, and salt, which he did, and it helped. He occasionally experienced it a few more times and then it seemed to go away.
Well a few years later, which would bring us close to the time he was diagnosed, the Meniere’s came back. We went to the same specialist who said maybe some antibiotics would help because his ear looked infected. After two weeks, we were back in the doc’s office because a swollen lymph node appeared on the side of his neck, close to his jawline. It was about the size of half a golf ball and very hard. The doc said again it could be the result of infection, and another dose of antibiotics was prescribed. Two weeks later the lump was still there and back to the doctor we went. An MRI was ordered and a biopsy.
When Reality Hit
The Doctor joked with me and said I should make sure my life insurance is valid. Wow, I couldn’t believe he said that. This situation was not a joke. A biopsy is a very scary word. It means your life could change forever. Someone could die or suffer from cancer. How dare he joke about this, I thought. The wait for the biopsy results was miserable. I found it hard to concentrate at work and was not very happy at home. I felt kind of numb, or out of it. It was hard not to think about it, but I tried to keep telling myself nothing was wrong, it’s just an awful infection.
The doctor’s office told us the day that we would receive a call with the results of the biopsy. I was so anxious at work; it was hard to talk to my coworkers, and I almost felt angry when I heard them joking and talking like they didn’t have a care in the world. It was 12:00 and no call, 2:00 and still no call so I called the office. The nurse told me that the doctor wanted us to come in the next day to get the results. I was livid! A week went by, and I was so stressed and tired of waiting and fighting the negative thoughts that kept arriving in my brain. I know I raised my voice. Hopefully, I didn’t yell at the poor nurse. She insisted that no results were given over the phone, and I finally gave up and ended the conversation politely, I think.
A few of my coworkers were standing with me waiting for answers too. By this time, I was whining about how rude the whole thing was. I said they were probably trying to get another appointment out of us because we had good insurance when my friend said: “Patty, he might be sick”. That’s when reality hit me and the tears started rolling. How would we beat cancer? It would be the defeat of our lifetime.
If you are experiencing a serious illness or just need a check-up you might find it difficult to pick a doctor that is a good fit for you. Maybe your family doctor just doesn’t seem to get you and your concerns lately. Here are some tips to help you find the best doctor for you