|Posted by Mark Liederbach on January 14, 2011 at 6:31 PM|
I suppose if this was some more professional-style account for a blog, I would say something like “Day X – [insert location]”. But unfortunately, I’m not sure where I would start that count from. Throughout this whole period, I’ve really done a mediocre job at portraying my own thoughts behind the bland facts of treatment. Well… get ready.
When I first felt the ‘lump’ that we as young men and women are told to keep watch for, my response was probably similar to any guy: There could be a thousand different things to justify it. Truth be told, there really aren’t. I would probably consider this to be the true beginning of my first stage: Denial. Even Lance Armstrong put off any help for his ‘lump’ for months, until it became a very mature stage of cancer. I would not pitch fault into any person who has done the same. It’s embarrassing, scary, and quite frankly, people just don’t want to believe what it is. Now I was lucky to have a girlfriend in my life to push me to get it checked out. Honestly, without her I would probably still be in this phase. Luck just has a way of granting some the privilege to have it easy, and others to fight the harder battle. I like to imagine this was a sign; something that gave me the opportunity to reassess my life. And while I’m far from done with this beast, already I find my outlook changing. This blog was made for this exact purpose. Already it has been a challenging journey, and I haven’t even left the gate yet.
The next and crucial step I had to overcome very quickly was modesty. At this point, I may be down to about half of my original amount. Within the first two weeks of seeking medical attention, I had an estimate of 8 different people ‘looking’ at me. All I could tell myself was they’re professionals…but who says they aren’t judging? I had to give it a rest; because this resulted in being by far the least of my priorities.
When I had the first initial string of doctor visits, all I could do was wish this would be the last; that maybe this time he’ll just tell me it turned out to be nothing. Day after day passed by and I still found no relief. No surprise test results yanking me off the hook. Truly it is the anticipation that will rip you apart. Then, I got an important phone call. Since I think it’s best to just transcribe it word for word, here it is:
Doc: “Hi Mark, it’s Dr. Kidd. How are you doing?”
Me: “Uh, I’ve been better.”
Doc: “Well hey I got the results back from the blood test we had done and, uh, I would say that it would be in our best interest to go ahead with the option of surgery.”
Doc: “Is that alright? I know this is finals week for you, so I wouldn’t think of scheduling this any time in the next few days. But what about maybe next Tuesday?”
Me: “Yeah, that works. So what does this mean in terms of its diagnosis?”
Doc: “Well there is still not any definitive answers yet, but we did find a raised level of what we call ‘tumor-markers’ in your blood sample.”
Me: “Uh huh.”
This doesn’t seem like much, but this was the point I switched from thinking there’s no way to oh my god, why do I have to do this? Thus, the second phase began: Depression. I would say that for weeks I was the most immobile, stagnant creature this side of the Atlantic. Truthfully, I can’t say I’m quite rid of this phase yet. It’s just too daunting to think about. All my life, I’ve never quite feared much of anything. And now one tiny word made my heart skip a beat: Cancer.
In defense, I had plenty of brave moments thinking I’ll kick this thing’s [bleep]. However, these moments were more often than not flanked by spouts of sadness and darkness. It’s overwhelming imagining that these feelings are what I experience before treatment.
Since that phone call, I have had another surgery to place a port to my vasculatory system. I think I’m getting too comfortable with being knocked out by Anesthesia … What was I saying?
Until next time,
Categories: How I'm Feeling