January 22nd, 2018, a normal day as I got ready for work at a local car dealership as a Finance Manager. I woke up a bit early than normal, made some breakfast tacos to eat later and off I went to beat the drive into San Antonio.
I arrived at work a bit early and arrived at the same time with my co-worker. He noticed the left side of my neck protruding out, more than normal, and was adament I get it checked out. With the flu season in full swing and many people getting sick, both at work and city wide, I didn’t want to take chances. I called up my clinic and made an appointment for later that day. I head off to our managers morning meeting and my General Manager was like, you should really get seen by the doctor, the earlier the better. So, I called my clinic and sure enough, there was a 9am appointment available, time was 8:15, it was go time!
I left work and went to my new assigned clinic. Being military, we are all assigned a primary care facility. Being retired military, you have a bit of flexibility of choosing where to go. There is one near New Braunfels and I tried to get assigned there a few times. I am glad now I never was able too. So, I was assigned to internal medicine at Joint Base Fort Sam Houston’s San Antonio Medical Center. That’s a mouthful. It was previously named Brooke Army Medical Center and the military, in their love with acronyms, call this place either SAMC or BAMC, and then you have others who just call it Brookes, which makes it even more confusing.
So I get to my clinic, get my vitals done, and saw the doctor. I explained basically that I think I have a flu. The doctor took more vitals, checked my lungs, checked my lymph nodes and left. She was a resident and went to get her supervisor; another doctor. He too did the same check and pretty much said that I don’t have the flu and they did not know why the lymph nodes were enlarged. They coordinated with the emergency room to get a CT Scan. So off I went.
At the ER, it was bad. Roughly 20 people inside all wearing masks with everyone complaining of flu like symptoms. I really felt sorry for them, because I didn’t have the flu. They call me in, take my vitals, again, and I wait for the CT scan. I get it done and wait for more. Time is now past 1pm when the ER doctor comes in and tells me that he doesn’t know what is wrong with my lymph nodes but he confirms it is not the flu. He coordinates for me to go to the Ear Nose Throat clinic because they are more specialized in dealing with issues relating to the throat and so off I go, again.
At the ENT, its the same process, get my vitals, which by now I have memorized my weight, blood pressure readings, and body temperature, which caused them to freak out at my accuracy. And I finally saw the ENT doctors. They took a look at my tongue, used a different tongue depressor and they were looking for something which they could not see. They then proceed to put a camera down my nose and confirmed what the CT scan had showed, I had a mass growing on the back of my tongue as well as my throat. In a very delicate manner they informed me that I had a cancer; a tumor of some sort.
By now it was past 3pm and for whatever reason, the pathologist was already gone for the day so they couldn’t do the biopsy. And I needed to get back to work. When I get back to work I informed my co-workers as well as the General Manager that I need to get a biopsy done to confirm or deny if I have cancer. I didn’t want to raise a concern over the issue. I wanted to get back to work and I needed to inform my family.
From a lazy Sunday which started off by going to my new found church and relaxing the rest of the day to receiving the news that I have cancer was done in less that 24 hours. My world was over turned, but yet I was not concerned. I was not afraid nor was I stressing out. I had a peace about me that just ensured me that everything was going to be ok. So I went with that assurance that all was right with the world, woke up on Tuesday morning getting ready to go to work, and made breakfast tacos to eat later in the morning.