If I were Superman or James Bond I’d probably be writing something different, about being invincible, but then again maybe I should realize only in fiction can you be indestructible. Truth be told I have had a tough time of it the last 6 months. If you read any of my early blog posts, you will see I was filled with hope and a healthy context about this illness in my life. Fear and despair were not an obstacle I was going to entertain. After 15 months of treatments, tests, shots, hospital stays, unexpected detours, overwhelming financial pressures… I must admit I am worn out and tired. I’ve had many rough days filled with pain, sadness and hopelessness. I am wounded.
Yes I am in remission and I am so grateful and proud that my body and mindset were so strong when I got the disease. It saved my life and I am more than ever committed to treat and respect this body and mind of mine with all that nature and life has to offer. We live in a great spiritual time where the world is now more open than ever to the power of thought and faith and how it can influence healing. Although I will continue my chemotherapy maintenance protocol, which lasts 3 years, my days are filled with educating myself on how to build my immune system up through the power of food and the right supplements and how a positive belief and support system can facilitate incredible positive changes and help you push through the tougher times. I will continue to use alternative modalities to strengthen myself so that my cancer doesn’t return.
I know there were no guarantees.
Chemo is poison, I know that, but it killed off my cancer and as I have now survived a pulmonary embolism (lung blood clot) a 12 inch malignant mass in my chest and there is now not a trace of it in my body anymore and anywhere. The leukemia is gone from my cells. Having been given a good prognosis, I am so thankful for that. Very. But despite my success there, it has left me more vulnerable and weak. I thought that getting and treating cancer would put me on a journey that would teach me priceless life lessons and bring me to epiphany that I have been waiting for my whole life; that would stay with me and shape me to be a better man, full of purpose and perspective. It seems that my story is still developing and that my timeline for my health and prosperity is different from God’s plan or whatever it is I believe in now that is bigger than me.
About 6 months ago, when I was about to go into maintenance for my treatments a full 10 months after going into remission, I developed an esophageal issue that has ruled and still rules my life. I felt intense pressure in my throat; a feeling of a gas bubble, air or food that was stuck and I couldn’t dislodge. It made it extremely uncomfortable to swallow anything and at a certain point it became impossible to even touch water to my tongue without the maddening sensation taking over. Acid reflux started to build up in my stomach and push into my esophagus which led to several intense episodes and emergency room visits that did not do much to stop the pain. This went on for months and I couldn’t eat or hold food down. In almost constant pain, discomfort and debilitating weakness from not being able to eat or drink for days at a time, I had to get a feeding tube.
Things have gotten a lot better. I have pushed and now I can eat and yesterday the feeding tube was removed. Most days I woke up, and still do, very nauseous as I feel the pressure of the bubble at my throat. Although things have gotten better, it’s still horrible. Waterboarding would be an upgrade.
My faith has wavered and my resolve has taken a hit, yet my desire to live a fulfilling life free of pain is stronger than ever. Ultimately it is my faith and belief that wills me through these days, and i have made great progress and have gotten healthier. I have been working with Jake and I am fortunate to have been able to spend so much quality time with him, to see him grow all the while helping me to rebuild a business I once flourished in. Despite numerous obstacles, I am working on my dreams so I could do the things I have always loved like traveling, exploring, meeting new people around the world and connecting with who I am, and most importantly so I can provide financial security or my family. I have always lived for them and I am humbled by my circumstances.
My lessons of courage and faith have me working hard. I am both weaker and stronger than ever.
I am surrounded with deep love from my very good friends and most profoundly my wife and beautiful loving children, my generous and loving in laws, my committed sister and my quietly loving supportive mother, and even my ninety one year old father who calls me every day to see how I am doing.
I love life and I miss my old life. I just miss it being easy. Oh wait… it was never that easy, but it was fun and rewarding. I had my health though and you know what they say: if you have your health…
Is there a message here? I would say so… I am human. I forgive myself and I forgive everyone else that has ever hurt me. I am more free in that regard.
I am not sick, really. I have a condition that is very uncomfortable and has changed my life, but that too will get handled. I removed my feeding tube as I don’t need it anymore, just please hurry up with the pain part, I pray. Please hurry.
I know now I am a loving person. And a loved one. I know now I am loved. I do. I know I am full of love myself, now more than ever. I know it when I hug my kids, Jake and Michael or see my wife Randy and her unyielding commitment to take care of me. I know that I am afraid but I also know now that fear is worse than anything. It kills hope. It really kills everything. So I try not to dwell on it.
Love and faith will cure me. It will guide me. I just need some help this time. I need to find my way back so that I can find my way forward again, so that I am unrecognizable to myself. And I mean that in a good way. What can I tap into that is already inside of me and how do I access the greatness in me.
To my friends and family. This is the hardest blog I have ever written because I can’t seem to access the exact words to convey my deepest experiences, yet I am writing this in a cathartic way to let go and to admit to you that I need you guys. I am raw and open and it helps me not to be alone. It really does.
I feel too in my heart that there will be a time that I will look back at this period and understand it all. It just can’t come too soon.
P.S. I am throwing this out to the world that if anyone reading this knows off a GI doctor that specializes with esophageal issues, motility disorders, nerve damage, GERD and general acid reflux diseases I am open to hearing about them. I am also open to any alternative treatments and programs that will nutritionally, spiritually and holistically treat me. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 262-3597. Thank you.