It was just several weeks ago that I announced that I was taking a vacation of sorts through July.
I had departed on a sudden journey expecting to find Carl Sagan waiting with a friendly explanation of what had just transpired … and should I have completed that particular journey then it would have been a pleasure indeed to have met up with Sagan.
And yet I’m back. Already. Kinda. Mostly.
I do not expect to break any records in writing over the next few months — certainly nowhere near the 298 blog items that preceded this one.
Yet I am back and ready to get back to writing, to exploring, to pondering.
Just four weeks ago my doctors told me that they suspected that I had cancer.
Just three weeks ago I was told that I had a particular kind of cancer so nasty and so aggressive that I should immediately put my affairs in order.
And yet there appears to have been a guardian angel watching over me. I do not believe in such things as God having a plan for us, or that we have a particular fate that awaits us. But if I did then I can only surmise that there is indeed a purpose for my life having taken the turns that have come my way over the last month.
The medical care system worked for me. I’ve spent almost every day of the last three weeks in various hospitals with tests of all kinds being done on my behalf. Yet, along the way I’ve met those with the same cancer that were struggling and dying because the care that they needed cost almost $180,000 … and they just didn’t have that money. (I don’t have that money either but I am fortunate to have health care coverage due to military service).
Along the way I met doctors and surgeons and medical technicians that assured me that my challenge was also theirs to overcome. I got advice, counsel and consolation for what is as much a mental hurdle to overcome as is a physical challenge. The mental aspect is huge — how do you fight and heal your own body when even the doctors tell you that there is not an established protocol (plan of medical attack) for the kind of cancer that you have? I am hugely positive in my outlook on life yet there were moments that felt just crushing. My idea of being depressed usually lasts all of five minutes … maybe twice per year. I don’t do negative.
Daily over the last several weeks I have discovered good friends — often surprisingly so — that checked in on me daily with words of support and advice and care. … And I also had good friends that I never heard a word from again five minutes after I told them of my diagnosis.
So what does it all mean?
The good news is that my guardian angel got me to the right doctors at the right time and I live in the right place to get speedy treatment for my cancer.
On May 4th I underwent surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The doctors assure me that they got the cancer, and my other tests show that the cancer had not spread.
Perhaps even more amazing, the docs gave me lots of good drugs yet I have not taken a single pain killer in the last 48 hours. Just this morning I walked my dog in the wonderful Virginia sunshine less than 48 hours after surgery. It doesn’t get better than that.
There are still many follow-on treatments that I must undergo in the months ahead: radiation, possibly chemo — but probably not. This cancer has a high rate of return even when ‘cured’ … that is a future challenge. For today I’m quit happy to report that I’m alive and ready to return to the marketplace of ideas.
What it all means it that I have been given another chance. This is no minor miracle. Perhaps it is indeed fate. Perhaps there is a plan for me.
And so with this second chance Bill4DogCatcher is back on the beat.
If there is a plan for me, I would like to think that it is being in pursuit of a third way. Not your way. Not my way. I am in pursuit of a way that acknowledges that we are all in this together.