Thursday, March 23, 2017

Time and Again

This post is meant to give thanks to the many healthcare providers that have been extremely instrumental in my continued health. Yes it is true that almost weekly I have a myriad of medical appointments and lab work that needs to be done. Yet, if it wasn't for the diligent work of these health care professionals I would probably withered away and have died way before now.

As I am sitting here waiting to be seen by yet another doctor, I am reminded of how much hard work and long hours these professionals put in just to keep​ me as well as their other​ patients healthy and alive. I know that I would be hard pressed if I had to go without the medications that I am on. Monitoring of these medications and the effects that they have on my body are essential to my good health.

There was a period not so long ago when I was on an HIV regimen that wasn't closely monitored and my health severely suffered because of that. It was determined that the regimen that I was on had severely and irrevocably damaged my kidneys. Once it was discovered a monitoring program was soon put in place, but the damage was already extensive and done there was no coming back from it. Less than a year later a small tumor was found on my right kidney and my new journey had begun.

It has been a little more than a year that the tumor on my right kidney was found. The myriad of doctor's and healthcare providers I have been through in just that year alone has been staggering. I'm currently under the care of a urologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville and it looks like the year long journey that I have been on is finally drawing to a close.  This journey has been long and arduous starting with ultrasounds, then CT scans and ultimately ending in a series of MRI'S all of which had indicated continuous growth and the possibility of spreading.

You would think that after 25 years of battling this disease that I might have finally become used to all the test, treatments and surgeries that have resulted from having this disease. But, time and again cancer seems bound and determined to come back. It keeps these myriads of healthcare professional working harder than ever to get me to the state of wellness. Sometimes I dream of having just a few moments of good health to consider myself​ normal and healthy.

I guess as dreams go it isn't a bad one to have. But, no matter the circumstances I am under no illusions that I will ever be able to live my life as a healed, whole individual. That even through their best efforts medical science can only do so much to correct the damage that cancer has done to my body. I must accept the limitations and restrictions that have become my norm and rejoice in the continued life that God has granted me.

Remembering always that man can only do so much when it comes to this vehicle our mind resides in. God who is the Ultimate Physician is the only one with the power to restore me back to full health. I can never truly trust the findings of the world of medicine, because as been my case in the past the predictions that they provide me with have been far from accurate. Only God knows the time and place of my demise. Because everything that I have been through and continue to go through are what strengthens me and gives me the experience I need to get through the next phase of my existence.

See, I have become very familiar with living on borrowed time knowing that any moment might be my last. Knowing that each time I have to have an operation or treatment might be my very last. There seems to always be a new treatment or procedure that has yet to be tried. I'm comforted knowing that in all things God has me in the palms of His hands and that as long as I am needed here on Earth I will continue to make these recoveries and be able to give witness and testament to the miracles of God.

So no matter if time and again I have to be seen by doctor's, nurses, lab techs or other healthcare professionals I will always be in God's Grace and He will take care of my needs .

Rejoice for God is the Healer and architect of your body and can and will restore you according to His detailed plan regarding your life and work.

As always Live well, Love much and Laugh often.

Uncle B

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Borrowed Time

Every day that I draw a breath I am living on borrowed time. I was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma in 1992. I was told that I had eighteen months to live, that by the time I was diagnosed the cancer was in stage four and that even with extensive chemotherapy and radiation the  outlook was grim.

The truth of the matter is that I got better with the treatment and went seven years without a recurrence of the cancer. Yet, the next time cancer reared it's head it was in the form of polyps in my large intestines. I had them removed and was healthy for several more years.  Then in December of 2004 portions of my large intestines suffered damage from the initial radiation that I was treated with in '92. January of 2005 I was given my first colostomy and would go through series after series of bowel resections and abdominal surgeries. Finally in the fall of 2007 my worst fears came to life and the colostomy was turned into an ileostomy and would have to remain in place for the rest of my life.

Again, the doctor's and staff thought that I wouldn't make it through all of this and predicted that I would get seriously ill and pass by Christmas of 2007. Yet once again their predictions were far off the mark. It was December 6, 2007 that I found out that I had contracted the HIV virus and diagnosed as positive. The doctor's fearing that because my immune system was suppressed due to the cancer thought that the virus would spread through my body like wildfire and would soon kill me. So I was put on a strict and powerful regimen immediately.

No one could have guessed that in five short years that these same drugs would irrevocably damage my kidneys and I would end up eventually with kidney cancer.  Since 2011, I have had kidney stones and bladder infections as well as two bowel resections, and an aneurysm. Then in March of 2012, I was told that not only did I have leukemia (large cell lymphoma is considered a form of) I was also suffering from radiation enteritis (disease) which is acting like cancer eating up my pelvic organs. I was also told that the radiation perforated the bowel wall in '92 and had made my pelvis very porous and weakened the walls of my colon and made them thin like tissue paper.

So you can see that I know a little bit about living on borrowed time. One thing I have done in this entry is gloss over a lot of my illnesses and just hit the pertinent information. Just know that today I am facing and dealing with 6 terminal illnesses . 

So, from '92 till now everyday has been a gift from God and gives me something to give thanks about daily. I am about to head to Gainesville, to have the latest tumor removed​ from my body through surgery. Funny when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer I was told 6-12 months were all that I had left. Once again medical science is wrong on this account. My doctor assures me that I am going to come through this surgery and that they would be able to get all the cancer and I should expect a full recovery.

Living on borrowed time is something that not everyone gets. It is a blessing that I have been granted and a luxury that I have been able to enjoy. I am still here 25 years after the first occurrence of cancer. It was not something that I had planned or envisioned, but I am thankful for each and every day.  I had never imagined that I would survive this long. Nor, could I have imagined that 25 years later I would have 6 terminal illnesses and have another surgery looming over my head.

Living each day to the fullest and staying in the moment is the only way to enjoy the precious gift that God has granted us. So, if you are like me and living on borrowed time. Make the best of your situation, share your life lessons with those around you and make everyday worth living. I embrace my illness and I use my life as an example for others so that they might benefit from my experience.

I love you all and wish you only the best​. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I have surgery on March 28th.  God bless you all.

As always Live well, Love much, and Laugh often.

Uncle B