I think it was Ben Franklin who stated, “only two things in life are guaranteed, death and taxes.” Of course I am paraphrasing. But in April of 2008, I almost proved Ben correct.
I want to indulge this post, because I am preparing for our local Relay For Life, and will not be able to post this “anniversary” post.
On the day after the deadline to file income taxes, I underwent a nuclear stress test, which had nothing to do with the tax preparation or results for the record. I was dealing with annoying chest tightness, and my family physician of nearly forever recommended the test based on my history of having had cancer as well as other biological health issues.
Now rather than repeat the entire story, you can check out the page “CABG – Not Just A Green Leafy Vegetable” for everything that happened by the detail. But long story short, 36 hours later I would end up having emergency heart bypass surgery. The cause of the blood restriction to my heart was the real shock, because up until that point, there was no reason to be concerned about cardiac issues.
The main artery to my heart had been so badly scarred from radiation damage during the period I was treated for my Hodgin’s Disease. That was just the first discovery of many, that would now become my current world of long term cancer survivorship.
A week later, I was sent home, along with my “heart” pillow to help provide comfort for my very tender breast bone area. I would make my first phone call to Memorial Sloan Kettering to begin what should have been done eighteen years earlier, post treatment care.
By now, almost every area of my body has been checked for late developing side effects caused by either my diagnostic methods, or chemo and radiation treatments. The list of diagnosis of serious issues are more than a dozen long. For now, doctors concentrate on the major and potential life-threatening issues: cardiac, pulmonary, immunological, gastrointestinal, neurological, muscular, and orthopedic, and of course psychological.
It is one thing to have beaten cancer, but it is another to have to deal with permanent issues that medicine had no idea they would be dealing with, once cancer patients would begin to live regularly past the magical five year mark.
This post is not about dealing with all those issues. No, I want this post to be positive. This year marks the 7th anniversary since I had my double CABG. And as I have pictured above, there are only two reasons I got through that procedure and the reason I am still around today.