I’ve received several emails asking me about my recent spate of sleepless nights and wanting to know why it was I couldn’t sleep and what were the woesharks I was talking about in my Harmonica Post. Explaining the entire why means going over some rough emotional territory for me. I don’t like reliving events which cause me to feel so helpless that I wanted to curl up in a fetal ball of grief and hide my head under the covers until it all goes away. I’d rather be writing about less scary stuff like eating roadkill or how interesting naked mole rats are. Writing about Mr. Dave’s kidney cancer reminds me that what we are going through right now is real and scary and potentially fatal.
I don’t want to lose my very best friend in the world. That posibility scares me to the core. I don’t want him to have to suffer the physical pain caused by fighting this damn disease, or continue to worry himself sick about our dwindling finances and how we are going to financially survive the time he is off work and not bringing in a weekly paycheck, or wondering if he will have a job to go back to after he recovers from his upcoming surgery. He has enough to deal with just with the medical issues involved. I want all his energy reserves to be used for recovering from the treatments not for worrying about the cost or his job.
This is what Mr. Dave has gone through since his birthday on June 7, 2012. On his birthday as he was driving to work in Earl, his beloved truck, and our only vehicle, a guy ran a red light and plowed into Earl. Earl was hit so hard that he spun around and ended up against the sidewalk. Luckily, Mr. Dave uses his seat belt and only sustained a nasty bit of whiplash. Earl the truck wasn’t so lucky. Earl had over $5,000 in damages.
Because of the accident and the time it took to get another vehicle so he could make it to work, Mr. Dave had to miss a doctor’s appointment which was scheduled for the afternoon of June 7. Mr. Dave had been having some bladder issues that we thought were just minor. Because he is diabetic and some of his recent medical tests showed elevated levels of stuff that wasn’t supposed to be elevated, our family physician had referred Mr. Dave to a urologist to check things out.
A few days after the accident, Mr. Dave went to see the urologist and we learned later that week that the tests and scan ran by the urologist showed that Mr. Dave had a large kidney stone in one of his kidneys. The stone was too large to pass normally, so an operation was in order to remove the stone. This wasn’t great news, but kidney stones are fixable. You get them out and move on with your life. The next news Mr. Dave received wasn’t expected at all . There were indications of cancerous cells in his bladder and a visible growth on his kidney.
I can’t begin to imagine what Mr. Dave went through internally when the doctor told him tests indicated cancer of the kidney and possibly the bladder, as well. Outwardly, Mr. Dave is pretty stoic. His answer to this kind of news was to find out what needed to be done and then he researched everything there was to know about the tests that were run, the type of cancers he might have and the treatments involved. Mr. Dave always makes decisions based on knowing the worst case and best case scenario of any situation. He likes to be prepared.
I can tell you how I dealt with it. I went into the bathroom and cried and tried to be brave and supportive and cried and spent sleepless nights worrying about all the “what ifs” this kind of news brings about. I was scared for Dave, scared for myself, and angry that I was powerless to fix anything. We haven’t had any cash reserves since I became critically ill and had to leave the workforce three years ago. The hospital bills from my illness nearly bankrupted us, and I had excellent insurance at the time! I so despise feeling this sort of helplessness. This is not what folks who go to work every day, pay their taxes, and always strive to do the right thing are supposed to have to go through not once, but twice! How much is enough?
So, we have begun the journey of fighting Mr. Dave’s cancer. There were more tests and new doctors, surgeons this time. Further testing, a kidney stone surgery, and final tests which identified a T1A-sized cancerous tumorous growth on one of his kidneys.
This all occurred within a four week period, peoples! No wonder I can’t sleep at night….
So we are to this stage of Mr. Dave’s journey down We Got Cancer Lane. On August 21, 2012, Mr. Dave will undergo what is called a partial nephrectomy. It’s a surgery which will remove the section of the affected kidney where the tumor is lodged. It is a robotic surgery which is less invasive than the old way they used to do this surgery, but still a serious operation. We got very lucky that the doctor performing this surgery on Mr. Dave is one of the best in this field. Dave will be in the hospital for 5 days or more and off work 4 to 8 weeks. It’s still not clear until they do the surgery what additional cancer treatments Mr. Dave will require. More twists in the road to come…….
Now, those of you who read my blog regularly know that I always check out stuff on YouTube and in wikipedia by typing in a word to see if there is any video or article on a particular subject. I hardly expected to find anything on partial nephrectomy on YouTube. I was, of course, wrong. There are actually lots of videos posted showing how the type of robotic surgery Mr. Dave is going to have is performed. Click here to watch one. Dave found it fascinating, I about passed out. Too much blood and gore for me. Wikipedia has an article explaining robotic assisted surgery. Click here to read it. No need to avoid educating our minds even if we are going through major life crisis situations……
For those of you who believe in the power of prayer, I am asking for all your best prayers towards keeping Mr. Dave strong enough to weather this cancer thing. Any positive energy offered we are thankful for. And bless you all back.
One of Dave’s buddies helped set up The Help Dave Fight Cancer Fund (donations no longer needed). Its a web page on Facebook where folks can go to donate money to help defray the hospital costs that our insurance won’t cover. We are going to have upwards of $15,000 plus out of pocket expenses in the coming weeks. We have exactly $100 in the bank. We already traveled down that road of selling everything we had worth selling to pay off my hospital bills. We are more worried about having enough day to day cash to cover the time Mr. Dave is off work and we don’t have his paycheck coming in. We have less than 26 days before Mr. Dave’s surgery. The goal is to get at least $5,000 to make it through. If you have a few bucks you can donate to help us through the weeks of no income, we would appreciate it. I don’t want him agonizing over money when he needs to concentrate on healing and I’m not too proud to ask others for help in easing his stress. My very best friend in the world is worth everything it takes to keep him alive and well….
If you would prefer not to donate towards our needs, please consider donating to The American Cancer Fund. Click here to do so. The quicker we find cures for cancer the better. The more we can get people in to see doctors as soon as possible, the higher the cure rate is for these types of cancers.
I’m so livid that in a country as rich as ours, we have such shitty health care for our citizens. Why must we go bankrupt because of the medical costs caused by an illness? It’s insane! How about we quite spending so much of our tax dollars on all the war crap and big business loopholes and concentrate some sincere political efforts towards making sure that truely affordable health care is available to all our citizens.
OK, I’m gonna post this and go back to sleep. Thanks, as usual, for reading my current rant. And for those who donate to The American Cancer Fund and to the Help Mr. Dave Fight Cancer fund, my deepest thanks.