Live like your dying.

I was in my early forties,
With a lot of life before me,
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime.

August 28, 2012 was my moment that stopped me.  It was early on a Tuesday morning and I was driving my work truck picking up recycling when my cell phone rang.  Earlier in the month I went to have a  colonoscopy because I have Crohn’s disease and it’s been way over due.  During the procedure they found out I have a structure in the large intestine, and they also took some biopsies.  A week later I went to see the doctor about the procedure and all he could tell me is, “some thing didn’t look normal” and they are sending the biopsies to the University of Iowa for a second opinion from the pathologists at UIHC.  On the other end of the phone was my doctors office, calling to tell me that the pathologists at UIHC did confirm the biopsies are cancerous.  I really didn’t have time to think about the “news”, I had a job to do!

I asked him when it sank in,
That this might really be the real end?
How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?

It didn’t hit me right away, I called my girlfriend Angela and told her the news.  Angela said we’ll get through this and I said I’ll be all right!  I went back to working my route but the news was sinking in and as time ticked away I knew things wasn’t the same anymore.  Then it hit me, I have cancer and it could kill me.  As I was driving down the back Iowa country roads I wondered, “Is this really a big deal?”  My mind was racing with thoughts but as time went on all I could think about was dying.  I’m not afraid to die because I know where I’ll go someday. 3 years ago I gave my life to Jesus  and attend a local church almost every week.  The hardest part about thinking about dying is leaving all my love ones behind.  I can’t die, I care to much for my family and friends and want to help them any way I can.

“Time is the longest distance between two places.”
Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

As the hours turned into days, and the days turned into weeks I would face new doctors and challenges.  After having a  computed tomography (CT) scan of my chest to see if the cancer had spread to my liver, I got a little good news;  the cancer is only in the colon.  It was good news because if the cancer had spread to other parts of the body, I would have to do chemo treatments first before any attempt at surgery  to remover the tumor in my colon.  My oncologist set me up with an appointment to meet with a Gastrointestinal (GI) surgeon to go over removing the tumor.  I wasn’t sure about taking time off from work and letting someone else do my job.  I hoped the surgery wouldn’t be for three or four weeks so I would have time to train someone on my routes.  I was going to have a Right hemicolectomy (resection of the ascending colon) and would be in the hospital for four or five days and then home to recover for about five weeks.  Time couldn’t wait, surgery will be scheduled in less than a week.