The worst and best days of my life – 7 weeks apart

On July 5, 2018 I woke up fat, happy, healthy (I thought) with an appointment at noon to get the results of the tests that I had undergone for the previous three months (since March). I was looking forward to a month off at home – relaxing, visiting with friends, a couple of concerts – you know; having a life.

Sitting in the Hospital office with the Doctor – it started with: ‘You have a rare and aggressive form of Cancer; called a Plasmablastic Lymphoma  tumour. It is malignant and located near your pelvis (in my gut) – it has penetrated your colon as well; causing an obstruction. It it in-operable due to the proximity to your urinary track and because it’s lodging in the intestine.”

I asked: “So, what does that mean in terms of life expectancy?”, “Well”, he replied; “Without Chemo – you have about three months.

The floor dropped out from under me. I was looking at Mel’s face – she also was stunned! My first thought was; I can’t do everything I want to do in three months. Then I started thinking about the people I cared about; family, clients, friends that I’d never see again… Talk about a rush of blood to your head.

“Chemo, what’s the story?” I asked; “Well, we recommend a series of six treatments – beginning immediately (like Sunday – it was Thursday). We are going to treat this very aggressively. The series will be three weeks each; one week in Hospital and two weeks of observation, blood tests and additional injections.”

Four hours later I was inducted into the Borg Collective (Star Trek reference) – they inserted a tube into a vein in my arm that ends up over my heart to better deliver the drugs (good news – eliminates constant needles). But, I’ve got a tube dangling outside my body that is very, very weird!

I’d say this was the worst day of my life – to be told that you have only three months to live. In the same breath it has been a serious godsend. It makes you realise what is most important in your life – it gives you the chance to tell those you love how you feel – it gives you time to plan your demise or to plan to live. I choose to plan to live!  All I want is a minimum of four more years to finish what I want to do and see. When I can celebrate the New Years Eve of 22/23I will take each and every day as a cause for celebration, because every day I wake up in this world (no matter the worlds’ political, economic, violence, whatever) – it’s better than the unknown of death (actually; no-one really knows – but, I’ll stick with what I know.)

I made the decision to try the Chemo for two sessions (which was half of my life expectancy). This was based on the precept that I would have another Pet Scan to determine whether or not I would continue (if there were results) or whether I was going to decline and just live my remaining life to the best of my ability.

Fast forward through two series of Chemo. The day I was released from the Hospital from the second series I suffered a setback with a double whammy of diarrhea and constipation that resulted in an emergency re-entrance to the Hospital the next day. My abdomen and stomach were bloated and I was in a great deal of discomfort (that rapidly escalated into pain.) Basically, my bowels were backed up from my Rectum to my Stomach (If you read a previous post I wrote; 44 years ago I had another operation that removed the Ileal Secal valve [the valve between the large and small intestine]). After hours of observation (not many Doctors working on Saturday) I was taken to get an X-ray that was inconclusive. This is when we got worried – the Doctor said to call in the Surgical Team just after midnight – this resulted in a CT Scan to determine where they should cut. I immediately thought; ‘Great, I’m going to die on the Operating Table because: I’m full of shit!’

Down to Scan – back to room – wait two hours. Somewhere around four AM – the Doctor materialised and says: “Good news – it seems that the tumour has been reduced by a minimum of 30% and it seems to have backed out of the intestine and is no longer causing a blockage. It’s all feces. Now we just have to remove that.”

What a relief (even though I’m now on my third dose of Morphine). Later in the day they tried a massive doe of laxative – no joy! Next day they  tried an even bigger dose – no joy! Finally, on the third day the dam broke and ensuring that I was well hydrated – I was finally released. Two days later – working with long-term clients at Mill House (very tiring – but fulfilling and time consuming). I will admit to feeling very weak and I did need a break or two during the day.

I was hoping for the Pet Scan before I met with the Doctor on Thursday the 16th of August – unfortunately it was postponed until the next day. So, I have had to wait until Thursday the 23rd of August. The Doctor did say that based on the 30% reduction that the CT Scan showed resulted in an increase in Life Expectancy to a minimum of one-year and should continue with continued reduction of the tumour. Based on the 30% reduction I consented to continuing the treatments until the end in October.

Thursday around 12 noon (exactly seven weeks from the prognosis) a Doctor entered my Hospital room (where I’m wired to Series 3 Chemo) and said he was there to let me know the result of the Pet Scan. 60% reduction of the tumour – from approximately 5 1/2 inches to just over 2 inches. My mind was blown – it seemed almost impossible that this could be the result in only two treatments.

I’d say this was the BEST day of my life – Yesterday, my Doctor visited my room and released me with the following affirmation:

  • Yes, the result is 60% and their minds are blown – they never have seen this result.
  • I will need to continue until the end of the Series with no additional scans until November, when I’m done with all Chemo and monitoring.
  • At that time – one of three things will be the result:
    • I will be in complete remission and the Alien Trump will be Impeached!
    • I will need to have Radiation Therapy (two doses over two weeks to eradicate whatever is left.)
    • The tumour or whatever is leftover can be treated with medicine and quarterly reviews.

I prefer No 1 or No 3.

The Conclusion (well, as of today – it’s still not over yet) is that my Life Expectancy now stands at over two more years and I’m still going for the Goal of 4++++years.

I’d like to thank all of you who have contacted me, left comments, photos, called, etc – it has meant quite a bit to me that the concern has been so overwhelming. I must admit to being very emotional about all this (must be the Steroids).

My plans are still the same as when I was given the original news – finish X-Selling @ Membership Sales (my book), begin the Podcast Series (Podfather of Membership Sales), complete the Bucket List (with an addition of a Route 66 trip with my Son in June) and the rest – well, I’m gonna take that One day at a time and enjoy each one.

You don’t know what you’ve got until you almost lose itplease, don’t ever lose sight of that – and ensure that you tell those you love how you feel…often!  You might not get another chance, like I have…

Love ya’ll!

;-D

 

 

35 thoughts on “The worst and best days of my life – 7 weeks apart

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  1. Jesus I have tears in my eyes reading this as it brings back my own struggle in 2013 with the big c but more important is the great news that this alien trump is getting his ass kicked !!!
    Onwards and upwards Doug

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    1. Looks like we’re gonna need to plan that trip to Ireland. Probably Spring next year – I’ll be ferrying and enjoying your country for a week or two, so can arrange both Dublin, Cork and probably Kerry. Looking forward to this…

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  2. We’re proud of you uncle Doug you are a inspiration to all of us! Positivity is the key and you have it in abundance!! Love Nicky, Vanessa & Cristian. P.S I laughed hard at the part you said ‘full of shit’ that’s you in a nutshell!

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  3. Hi Doug, that is great news 👍🏻👍🏻, congratulations 🎉🎉. Now you can continue to eliminate the last bit of shit in you body and go on to enjoy the rest of your live. I hope it will be for many more years to come 🙏🏻🙏🏻. Best regards, Arie

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  4. Can`t tell you how happy this makes me bro. Reading your blog is kind of an emotional rollercoaster from laughter to tears. This time tears of joy. Very happy tears. ‼️😃
    Lots of happy thoughts coming your way my friend ❤️

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  5. I can barely see through tears right now! Beautifully written and with such great humour (as always). You just keep on surprising us and we are so glad the treatment is having such positive results- thank you for sharing this. I hope you’re resting. So much love to you! Miss you and Auntie Mel so much! Xxxx

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  6. Brought me to tears also, Doug. What great, great news!!! Hey, Route 66 is on my bucket list as well. Don’t know if I’ll be doing it by next June, however. I need a more powerful bike for that trip. Keep up the good news and die, Alien tRump, die. All the best, Pat

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  7. Awesome news Doug! Hope all news continues to be positive. Looking forward to hearing about the book & the podcast. Would love to drop into Mill Cottage – let me know when is good for you

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  8. Brilliant news – I am so pleased that you are beating this! You had me crying and laughing and reminded me what is important in life! Love you both lots xxx

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