It’s a semi-true story
Believe it or not
I made up a few things
And there’s some I forgot.
But the life and the tellin’
Are both real to me
And they all run together and turn out to be
A semi-true story.
Jimmy Buffett – Semi-True Stories
Welcome back my old friends and hello to new ones. As you all carried me through wood school I need you by my side again!
Imagine my surprise when a healthy guy, other than having a year filled with some injuries and a bout of pneumonia, got a call from my Internist stating that she needed to see me that morning. You guessed it, CANCER! It was a shock to say the least, especially because at that time all we knew that it was in 3 lymph nodes on the left side of my neck. Dr. Ilene Levinson, from now referred to as Doc Ilene, is one of the most knowledgeable, compassionate, caring and intelligent internists that I have ever had the privilege of knowing and being treated by. She cares about her patients. She was by my side and directed the treatment of Sally for the last 10 years of her life and I have grown to love and respect her. As only she can do, she looked me in the eye and assured me that we have been through tougher battles and in the end, it would be ok.
So, let me catch you up, this all started in April when I had an accident in the shop. I know, ME AN ACCIDENT? I was cutting 4x4s on the table saw and had a kick back that hit me in the mouth causing a split lip and 4 loose teeth. 22 sutures later and a couple of dental visits I was good as new – or so I thought. The trauma left me physically down and susceptible to pneumonia that decided to attack in May. During the diagnosis stage Dr. Levinson and I noted some enlarged lymph nodes and she ran bloodwork to check them out. When I returned in June for a follow-up they were still enlarged so she ordered a sonogram. Good news – I wasn’t pregnant! But, no other definitive information. Next step was a biopsy in mid-August and diagnosis of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in the left cervical lymph node with a P16 marker on Friday August 18th.
Well, after the initial shock wore off, Doc Ilene scheduled a PET scan for the next day and the journey began. She also texted and scheduled a consultation at MD Anderson with Dr. John Vu, medical oncologist. The PET scan showed 3 affected nodes and a confirmation was made that it was a cancer caused by the MPV virus, but no point of origin was seen.
Being faced with this dilemma I assembled the two women in my life that I could trust to be by side at every appointment and treatment and have the balls to tell me that I was wrong. Kathy Lynn, my rock, confidant, my supporter, my wife and best friend. Jan Carol, has been my closest friend since the age of 18 and my sister. I moved to Jacksonville because I needed to be close to her and her family. So, the three of us began this journey of education, frustration and a little bit of joy.
I want to share my journey with you guys because of the love and support that you showed me when I jumped ship and ran off to be a woodturner. It has been a bittersweet joy to talk to all of you who care so much, the outreach of callers has been humbling and I know that I am loved. At the end of the day, I just run out of time to call all of you. Please use this blog knowing I love each and every one of you and want to keep up with what is going on. I can only hope that the journey brings you the desire and strength to face your fears and move on with your life, no matter what that obstacle is. If I have learned nothing else in this life, it is that God is good and will provide for you – If you get the hell out of the way and let Him (or Her or It)! It may not always be what you think you want, but in the end, it will be better than your dreams.
LESSON OF THE DAY – God has a plan! It may not be what we dreamed about, but something wonderful is going to come from this journey