Dying Defiantly

Good morning, first of all let me apologize for no having posted earlier but December and January were truly a test of my strength and faith. In the beginning of December, I had my 53rd and most likely my last birthday. A bittersweet celebration of my life that I was graced to share with a few local friends, and the news from my oncologist that we saw very little tumor growth over the last four months. A testament to how great our God is when you put your faith in him to lead your journey of healing.

On the 8th of December, I had stints replaced in my liver to keep my bile ducts functioning, at the same time the surgeon did a radio frequency ablation (a technique where they use electric current to burn an area of the tumor, then scrape of the residue from the area). The surgery was successful, and I was back on my feet the very next day working as usual. Less than a week later I was sitting at home after work, when my temperature spiked to 105.9 degrees, and I found myself in a delirious state telling everyone around me that I was fine and that all I needed was a cold compress to cool me down. Needless to say, I wasn’t, and they convinced me we should head to the hospital while I could still walk. That night I was admitted into intensive care with Sepsis, because during the radio ablation they seeded my bloodstream with two different bacteria. This was a week of battling back from what the doctors said was the edge of death, to me it was just another wasted week in a hospital. After my release, it was back to work as usual; until the fever spiked again on the 19th and I was forced back into the hospital with Sepsis. They realized that the new stints had already become blocked and that they would need to replace the stints they had just inserted on the 8th. So, on December 22nd we had surgery to replace the stints, and my daughter arrived for the holidays not knowing I was in the hospital. She came directly to the hospital to see me, and of course with the crazy covid protocols that were in place they did not want her to come up to see me. It took me getting out of bed, going to the entrance in my gown and discussing the situation with Veterans Affairs Police officers for an hour to get her permission to spend thirty minutes with me in my room. I told the doctors the next morning that they could release me that afternoon, or I would release myself by just walking out because I refused to spend my holiday in the hospital.

They released me on the 23rd after another PET scan and I had a wonderful Christmas with my daughter, and other loved ones. Then I was back to work in a Covid infected workplace, where we had seen over 60% of the staff out at one time or another with Covid 19. The new year came in without an issue, and work continued until January 6th when my fever spiked to 104.3 degrees and my employer sent me to the hospital to get help. They diagnosed me with Covid 19, sent me home to recover for the next ten days during which time I got a call from my oncologist with the results from the December PET scan they did before Christmas. The news was far from what I expected, she said that the cancer had spread completely across my liver in a matter of 3 weeks and that if she had to make an educated guess as to time remaining that I was looking at 6 months. We believe that when the radio ablation was done, it did not only seed my blood stream but, also my liver with the cancer cells. I answered her as I always do, I said, “It is, what it is!”. I smiled, set back on the couch and prayed for direction and a simple answer came…LIVE!

It was at moment that I realized I had been hiding at work, keeping myself busy so I wouldn’t have to face the things I needed to get done before I go. We all hide from things in our lives, it’s not until we face them head on that we truly begin to heal. I know that the healing is truly going to begin now that I stopped working and that I will face this journey as I had started it with grace and dignity. The clarity of my journey gets stronger each and every day. No more hiding, let each day come as it may…

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