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Day Five – News Day 2

My name is Rick and I have cancer.

Today really was news day.  Yesterday was supposed to be the news day but it happened today…. It was worst news I could receive and a continuation of a long line of bad news so far.  The biopsy indicated melanoma.  All I know about melanoma is that it is bad, really bad and that people die from it.  This is exactly what I was prepared to hear and it is was I heard.  Ouch.

I really needed to tell my wife and really wanted to have the car for my driving daughter… so, I drove my wife to the hospital where my father-in-law was staying.  It was a rough drive having to tell her all my bad news and try not to crash the car.  The culmination of the trip was the doctor calling with the bad news.

The in-law situation is still OK with significant improvement with the husband and a minor setback for the wife.  I was able to stop in to see my father-in-law for 10 minutes before I had to head back home.  He looked good.  I believe that being in the hospital is probably a source of security for him given all the medical issues he has endured over the years.

I was leaving the hospital and looked down to see a shiny quarter just outside my car.  It was heads up.  I thought about all the bad news I have had lately and decided that this coin was a good sign, an omen perhaps.  I picked it up and have kept it with me.  It is now in my wallet and I plan in keeping it.  Bear in mind that I am not a superstitious person. My wife, terribly superstitious, but me, not at all.  I admitted keeping this coin to my shrink and when I talked more about it, about the hope that perhaps it represents, I cried.  It was overwhelming to think about.  It is a silly gesture but for some reason I am holding on to it.

I bounced around most of the afternoon between work and medical stuff.  I made appointments, did emails, had teleconferences and discussions.  By 4, I had to make my way to the hospital for an MRI.  Those are freaky machines all loud and contained.  They said it would take 35 mins but they lied like a rug.  I was in that machine for over an hour.  I kept my eyes shut the entire time and tried to relax.  I thought about all the buggers the machine was memorializing in digits and how unfortunate I am to have this disease.

After rushing home, I was able to meet my daughter and some friends for dinner.  I ate almost full meal as I was starving.  I worry about my weight as it is already down to 126 having lost 5 pounds in the last week or so.  I need to keep it up but that is going to be tough.

I think my biggest fear about this situation is to go through horribly bad treatment only to die at the end.  I am worried about what it means to fight the disease but feel that if I can beat it in the end, it is all worth it. The idea of fighting only to loose is really bothering me.

I feel my most important role in my family is to protect my wife and children.  This cancer flips this completely around.  Instead of being a source of strength and a pain eliminator, I am causing pain.  I am significantly less concerned about my pain as compared to the pain I am about to cause.  Bad news, hospital visits, sickness, weakness, vulnerability are not what I planned to bring to the family.

I really didn’t want to watch 2.5 hours of TV but chose to do so in order to be with my daughter.  I love her so much and want to spend every minute possible with her.  How in the world am I going to break the news to her?  I cannot imagine the pain she is going to feel.  Will she hate me for bringing her that much suffering?  I will be strong for her.

You know what is funny…. I use this phrase all the time… “I try to live a chemical free life”.  And, I do.  I take almost no medicines, I eat healthily and avoid chemicals like artificial sweeteners, etc.  I test our house for toxins and think a lot about what goes into my body.  I guess sun exposure has nothing to do with chemicals.  It would have been really ironic if I had some type of carcinoma.  I suppose that is next on the bad news front.