My Sunday Faith Message

I don’t want to come across as ungrateful, because I know a lot of people mean well when they wish you the best.  For that I am really grateful.  I know a lot of my friends and family are Christian too, and I love to read any of their shared spiritual message.  However, one particular verse just doesn’t sit well with me.  And I don’t think it is because it is out of context in my favor, but I think it is just not understood in it’s full context.  The verse I am talking about is found in Isaiah, chapter 53, verse 5 and only quoting the end of the verse, “by his stripes we are healed.”

What troubles me is that no one reads the beginning of the verse!  For it clearly states this:  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Our transgressions, our sins, is what keeps us away from a loving relationship with God.  I am not saying that God is going to punish you for your sins, we do that to ourselves.  But the Bible says in Romans Chapter 3 verse 23 “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  But that is to say that we can’t, because in Romans Chapter 2 verse 8 “for by grace are you saved thru faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God”.   And it was God’s grace that enables us to have a relationship with Him because in John Chapter 3 verse 16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  THIS IS THE GIFT FROM GOD TO US!!!

And when you tie John 3:16 back to Isaiah 53:5, you see that the two are interlock and by his stripes we are more than just “healed”, we are saved by grace in order to have a better relationship with our Lord and God.

But do we stop there?  I pray not, and instead we move forward to how David prayed when he was caught in a sin and the verse is found in Psalm Chapter 51 verse 10, “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”.

Even in all the miracles that you see Jesus perform, and I can be wrong, but I am sure that Jesus always said, “Your faith has made you well” and “Go and sin no more”.   So it is our faith in Jesus, and God’s grace, that we are able to have a beautiful relationship with our Lord and God.  And when we move towards God with Jesus, then we are healed mentally, spiritually and physically,  We become as God intended us to be.

End of Week 1

It is the end of week 1 for me on my treatment with Cancer.  It started on Thursday with my first radiation treatment followed by a long 6 hour chemo treatment.  Today, it was just radiation.

I often wonder about those individuals who are unable to express themselves how they coped.  I am grateful that I am able to write my experiences and I hope it will bring some light.  I know that some of the upcoming subjects are not pleasant so I will try and be frank and honest about it.

For example, right now I am a bit constipated and it is frustrating!  Yes, I took some miralax and then I read on the bottle that it will take 1 to 3 days.  1 to 3 days!!! I feel like I can go now but nope, I don’t have any jumpers in the door.  I was told this may happen.  I should have taken the miralax sooner.  Lesson learned.

And now my throat is burning.  I was told that by my radiologist.  It feels like heartburn and maybe it is.  So today for second breakfast, my mother-in-law fried up two tortillas, melted cheese on one of them, added some salsa, a fried egg, and then placed the other fried tortilla on top of it all.  It was good!!! Then I remembered, no eating tomatoes or any other acidic food.  It’s going to be a long 6 months living with a bunch of people who love the Mexican cuisine.

Apparently, chemo does something to your blood sugars, like spikes them up bad.  So I am watching my carb intake as well.  My blood sugar reading in the morning before breakfast was around 115.  Day After Chemo, 155, and two hours of eating second breakfast, 288!!!  Holy moly!!!  So off I went to go for a walk in the neighborhood.  Now, I have always enjoyed walking around the neighborhood, and I figured I can at least walk a mile, maybe a bit more.  It’s been a long time since I exercised.  Somehow, around the 3/4 mile mark, I began to get hic-ups, my legs were ok, but I was getting tired.   So I walked back home and just felt fatigued.  So I layed down for a nap.

About those hic-ups, I still have them.  Going on strong since 2pm!  Although I stopped when I was taking a nap, but as soon as I got up, they were like, “hey about time now let’s get to hic-uping!”  So much to learn about this change of lifestyle.  My throat still hurts, no jumpers in the door, and I can only hold my breathe for so long.  My grandfather, Papa Nene, would always tell me to place a table spoon of sugar in my right hand and a glass of water in my left hand.  With the right hand, place the sugar in your mouth and quickly drink it down with the water in the left hand.  In the back of my mind I am thinking, “oh dang you diabetes”!

REDCON 1

It is difficult to get some sleep when you have a huge event happening the next day.  I know for the first day of school, I was always nervous.  First day on the job, yup, the nerves caused me not to sleep.  Coming home after a deployment, yup hard to sleep when you are going to see your family the next day.  And going in for my first day for treatment, yup, couldn’t sleep.

Somehow, I managed so sleep, because I remember the alarm waking me up at 5 o’clock in the morning.  We would have to leave in 45 minutes so we won’t get caught up in the morning commute traffic.  My appointment for radiation was set for 6:30 o’clock in the morning.  No time for breakfast, just time to get ready, brush my teeth, shave, get a quick body wash, and get some tea to go.

As I looked at myself in the mirror doing my morning cleaning of the trach, I went over each device.  The trach is working well.  It is difficult to live with that is for sure.  But it’s ready to go in case I ever get into an emergency situation if my airway is ever compromise.  My PORT for my chemo is ready as well.  The wound healed fine.  They used glue to put it together and over time it just peeled of my body.  My feeding peg is ok too.  It’s a little bruised at the entry point, but it too is ready to go in case I need to feed myself thru the tube because it becomes difficult to swallow food.

Yesterday, I did an inventory of my cleaning supplies and had to re-order with two different companies.  The first for the trach which was easy.  The company representative visited me in the hospital, gave me a card, and told me to give him a call when I needed cleaning supplies.  So when I called him yesterday, he was like, “oh yeah, Mr. Garcia, how’s everything?”  I told him it is going well and that I needed to order some cleaning supplies.  His response was perfect, “Ok, I already have you in the system and a month’s worth of cleaning supplies is ready to go.  You should get it by Friday or Saturday at the latest.”  Now that was customer service.

Then, I called the company for my feeding tube.  Somehow, someone, cancelled my order.  I don’t know who but I don’t blame anyone.  You see, my old Army training kicked in and said, “hey you really should check with these people to ensure you get your feeding supplies and cleaning kits.”  Even though it was cancelled, I need to thank my case manager to ensure everything was placed back on track.  Today, I received a 6 day of supply of food and tomorrow a nurse will come by to educate me on how to feed me.

REDCON 1 is a military acronym for READY CONDITION 1, which means all systems are go for a mission, everyone going on the mission have their weapons, their ammo, communications checks are done, vehicles are full of gas, all maintenance checks and systems are complete.  We are now just waiting for now is the time to go.  My time to go was at 5:45 o’clock this morning.

The Joy of Running

Run.  Run so that when your feet hits the ground, it’s the pavement that hurts.  My running mantra; oh how I miss thee.

I begin running a long long time ago growing up in my hometown of McAllen.  I was inspired by a Vietnam Veteran who worked at the post office at the time because after work he could be seen running around town.  My dad, also a Vietnam Veteran, knew him and would honk his horn every time we saw him.  I remember my dad telling me that if he would ever stop, he would die of a heart attack because it was so conditioned on the body being able to run.

So I began my running days around 1980.  We lived a few blocks north of the old high school track.  At night, this place became alive with walkers and runners alike.  It was an old dirt track, so there were no lanes.  You had walkers on the inside, middle, and outside so if you were a runner you had to constantly be swerving on a busy night.

As I grew older, I mapped out my own running course.  I had a 2 mile course and a 3 mile course, just depending on how I felt running that day.  In Junior High, I ran track and cross country, so after physical education, I would remain after school and run my miles that day.  Afterwards, I would walk home, do my homework, eat dinner and probably go for another run at the track as my mom walked her laps.  I was a crazy fool then to be running so many miles.

I would continue my running all the way up to about a year ago.  My hips, lower back, knees are not as young as they used to be.  Running almost became a chore and it was not something I wanted to endure.  So why run?  Simple, the one pure joy of running was having all the elements of my body synchronized and in tune with each other.  My breathing was relaxed.  My stride was perfect.  My heart was beating fine.  It was like my own body was a machine, a car, and I was taking it out on a cruise.  If I needed to give it more gas, I could.  If I needed to let of the gas and cruise, I could.  It was that euphoric runners high that I achieved on an almost daily basis.

You always think of what are you going to do in the future or when you finished a phase in your life.  For me, it is to go back to running and start entering some races just to enjoy the euphoric runners high that I miss and the ability to do an activity that I really enjoyed.

Life with a Tracheotomy

When I was first diagnosed with cancer in my neck, my ENT doctor was adamant about putting in a tracheotomy as soon as possible.  I, unfortunately, did not enjoy his same enthusiasm.  I had an appointment with the radiologist a few days later and he too was wanting me to go under soon but to put in the port for the chemo as well as a feeding tube.  Again, I did not share his enthusiasm either.  But during this visit, he had to look at my neck again by using a camera that goes down your nose.

Now, if you have a deviated septum in your nose, you are going to have a bad time getting any type of tubes down regardless the size.  Yours truly has a deviated septum.  But he managed to get it thru so he can check on my neck.  He had it hooked up to the TV screen so both me and Maria can take a look at the same time.  It was during this time that I saw that the mass growing in my neck was obstructing everything.  I agreed to going to the hospital the next week to get all the procedures done in time for chemo and radiation treatment.

Now, getting the Trach is not one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever felt.  Because the mass is growing in my neck, it is already blocking my airway.  In order to get the Trach in place they had to put a tube down my neck.  The doctors made me feel comfortable at first because they said, “once the tube is in, we are going to knock you out with general anesthesia.”  So I was like, cool it shouldn’t be an issue.  I was wrong.  When they get me in the operating room and got everything ready, they relaxed me and then placed the tube down my mouth thru my throat.  As soon as it entered my throat area, it seemed as if the mass wrapped itself around the tube thus disabling any means of breathing.

For the first time in my life, I was scared beyond scared.  Here I was helpless, unable to breathe or communicate and the doctors telling me to relax.  My eyes were saying, “please knock me out!”  but I don’t think they received that message.  They were busy getting everything in place and they did quickly.  I remembered that there was nothing much I could do, I was in the best hospital, had a great team of doctors and my life was in their hands.  It was at this realization that I relaxed a bit and then I was knocked out.

Now I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to live with a trach.  This is most bothersome in my neck.  My body knows there is a foreign substance and therefor increases my mucus production to expel it.  So imagine, clearing your throat like every 30 minutes to an hour.  Imagine trying to sleep and coughing up mucus all night long.  What is worse, and trust me there is, I have a few options with my trach.  The first, I can put a red plug in which pretty much locks any airway going in or out.  This enables me to talk with no issue.  The second, I can put in an extension that allows me to put in a purple valve that allows me to talk.  However, with a strong cough, I can displace it and now I am heaving thru this hole in my throat.  This leaves my third option, leaving the tube open.

I only leave the tube open when I sleep.  Because all the air is now going in thru my neck, I don’t snore nor do I need to sleep with my CPAP.  So that is a plus.  However, that mucus build up over the night gets me when I wake up as I am forcing air out of my trach trying to clear my throat.  When that doesn’t work, I get a napkin and cover the trach to block part of the airway and this enables some of the mucus to come out as well.

Finally, there is the cleaning.  I have to clean out my trach at least twice a day.  I have a suction machine in case there is any mucus in the trach tube and if I go too far down I end up gagging myself.  That is no fun either.  I have a gauze bandage around the tube that gets filled up with mucus, don’t ask me how, but I exchange that out when I clean my trach.

But I wouldn’t exchange this for a second.  The other option was to wake up one night unable to breathe and getting rushed to the hospital to get an emergency Trach done.  I would rather live with this device and learn about it now versus later.  I would rather cough up mucus, which is clear by the way and that is a good sign, every 30 minutes that I am awake.  I would rather have this in place now, knowing that when it is all said and done, it is removed from my body when I am cancer free and I never have to use a trach again.

Three Phases of a Deployed Soldier

I have deployed quite a few times in my military career which is normal or less than normal to sum.  I deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kosovo for two years, Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Guantanamo Bay deployment was back in 1995 and was the most difficult if not the hardest due to a lack of real time information and communication to my family back home.  Internet was at it’s infancy still, pagers were very common still and cell phones were more luxury than what we have now.  Afghanistan was the easiest because we were issued a satellite cell phone and I can call mostly anyone who had a cell phone.

But in all my deployments, there was a trend for anyone who was deployed to experience the following three phases: workaholic, physical fitness, and religious phases.

The workaholic phase is self explanatory.  You work from the time you wake up until it is time to sleep.  Yes, you make time for personal hygiene and you ensure you get your meals in for the day, but for the most part, you just focus on your work and don’t care about anything else happening in the world.  Your are focusing all your efforts on the tasks that are on hand.  And if you do end up with a day off or a half day, you spend it asleep trying to get some rest or binge watching some TV.  You may call home but home is not your focus.  Your work is and that is what it is all about.  That is what evolves around you and you around it.  It’s not a lifestyle for sure to have when you get back from a deployment.

Another phase is the physical fitness phase.  During this phase, you squeeze a workout in every day and it is at least one hour in length or more if you can.  You do two a day work outs if you could so maybe a run in the morning following by weight training in the evening.  You will even do crossfit if you can if somebody is hosting one.  During this phase you are still focusing on work but you realize that now is the only time to get into better physical shape and that being round is not the required shape.  You may give up a sleep in day but you won’t, instead you will run 10 miles during the same time as the actual Army Ten Miler located in Washington D.C.

Another phase is that you will start attending a church service, reading your bible and praying everyday.  For me, being a Christian, that was me, but I saw others who focused on their own beliefs.  Personally, of the three, I enjoyed this one the most.  I re-read some passages in the Bible and I felt a certain peace in what others would describe a very stressful period.  I felt I grew closer with my faith as I prayed daily and when I went to service with fellow service members.  It was like a community within a community and a way to learn about one another and help one another with the tasks at hand.  It was also a way to share your problems and issues and to help carry each others burdens.

Now it was based on my experiences that typically you progress from one phase to another and vice versa.  Sometimes you started off strong in your faith and then moved to workaholic and end up with physical fitness.  Other times one can experience two at the same time or maybe even do all three simultaneous but that required a lot of skill and time management.  Personally, I find myself always in one of the above.  Prior to my diagnosis with Cancer, I was doing more workaholic with no physical and very little faith.  Now I have an opportunity to increase both my physical and faith and focus now on a different career in which I can do all three.

Ruby Red Grapefruits

I grew up in a beautiful agricultural along the border in South Texas town of McAllen.  And by agricultural I mean there were acres of all sorts of foods being grown with the two being citrus; oranges and grapefruits.  A neighbor town, Mission, even had a parade to celebrate the citrus called the Orange Parade.

In our first home we had two trees; a peach tree and an orange tree.  This was back in the 1970s and I remember Jimmy Carter was president and times were rough economically for the nation as a whole.  My dad, a Vietnam Veteran, had one of his old Army buddies come down and visit, whom me and my brother affectionately called Uncle Jeff.  Well on the first day of his visit, me and my older brother go outside back to get a snack.  You guessed it, we brought back a couple of oranges.  Uncle Jeff just freaked out that here we are just eating the fruit from the back yard as if we had no care in the world.

Growing up, I would spend time with my grandfather working on the yards since he was a yardman.  It was easy work and it was just to make sure that nothing happen to Papa Nene during the heat of the day.  Now, a couple of the yards had orange trees and every now and then Papa Nene would just stop work and cut up an orange to snack on.   The owners didn’t mind as we were throwing away rotten fruit just as quickly as we could pick them.

In Junior High, I ran cross country and the route we took from the Junior High out to the old Reynolds Metal fabrication on 3 mile line was a long a large groves of oranges.  Now I never stopped, but a few of my teammates would stop and grab one and quickly eat it.  Of course our coach would check our hands after each practice, but I was never caught because I had one in my own back yard still!

The freeze of 1983 really did a number in the citrus industrial but eventually everything came back.  It was during the 1970s and even today, that the Ruby Red Grapefruit is still one of the better fruits out there.  But I did not care much for it and it is not for lack of trying.  I did try it more than once; first with salt then with sugar then plain but the tartness was just too much for my tastebuds.  All that changed one day when I was out helping my dad mow some yards out in the sticks for a lack of a better term.

It was me, my older brother, my dad, and two other co-workers and we mowed somebody’s acreage.  We loaded up the truck and started to make the trip back home when the truck wouldn’t start or just gave up the ghost.  Either way, we were stranded and had to wait for someone to “rescue” us.  In the meantime, my stomach is grumbling and I was starving.  For those who know me, I love to eat food and unfortunately we were all out except we were parked by a grove of Rudy Red Grapefruit.

Now let me tell you, when you are hungry, that was the best tasting Ruby Red I ever ate.  It was sweet and delicious and was just enough to make me fill full.  I only took one and I hope the farmer didn’t know or if he reads this I am really sorry for stealing.  I can now stomach the tartness of a Ruby Red and I love eating it plain or with some salt and nothing else.  I enjoy it cut and peeled in different ways and I really miss eating this fruit.

We are faced with a lot in our lives and I know that I am faced with a lot these days.  We get used to living a life a certain way, such as eating oranges.  But we have to learn to adapt when we face a crisis or a different situation and we have to learn that sometimes we have to eat a Ruby Red Grapefruit in order to survive.

Are we done yet?

Apparently not, today was only Thursday and I don’t recall getting a hump day.  I first want to give a huge shout out to SAMC and the doctors who work there.  If anyone who knows me, I am about executing a 75% plan.  I don’t wait to get all the facts and figures.  If I did, I would never execute.  These doctors on the other hand were like, “hey you got cancer and we need to get you treated like yesterday.”  Don’t ask me what happen the last two weeks because it is a blur at best and I still have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow after lunch!

I had appointments with just about every specialist you can think of; from the ENT doctor, Radiologist, Oncologist, Speech Pathologist, Nutritionist, and more Education you can shake a stick at.  We were given an empty 2 inch three ring binder.  It is now filled with information from all the appointments.  Some days were spent all day at the hospital, others were more like just want to make sure all is ok and we were done.  I still need to read that information.

Today was one of those long days with 2 hours of educational information on chemo therapy with the Nurse Practitioner followed by a pneumonia shot and some blood drawn.  Not to mention a quick bite for lunch at the grab and go; another cheap under 10 dollar meal it’s a steal of a location, no wonder it is always busy.

Let me break it down Barney Style for those who don’t understand chemo therapy.  When your body is injected with chemo, it blocks any more cells from reproducing, both the cancer cells and your normal cells.  So your white blood cells are destroyed, hence why people feel like crap after treatment and why one is more susceptible to getting an infectious disease.  But at the same time your good cells which you need to live are dying, so are the cancerous ones.  With flu season hitting full swing, the Nurse Practitioner was like, “you are now getting a pneumonia shot” as a preventive measure.

That was today’s business and boy was it taxing on my body.  I don’t know if it was the shot or just always having to go to the hospital for this or that appointment.  I came home after that and pretty much laid down for the remainder of the day.  Each time I see a doctor, I am wearing masks and I quickly tell them, I am not sick, I just don’t trust everyone else here in the hospital.  They applaud my effort.

Finally, I am grateful for the combination of treatment; the chemo and radiation.  As chemo wrecks havoc all over my body, radiation comes in just with the affected area and zaps it for a few minutes.  For those who study military operations, this is more like a anvil and hammer operation.  The anvil holds the enemy in a static position and then the hammer drops and kills them all and let’s God sort them out.  Chemo is my anvil, Radiation is my hammer and I am looking forward to them to kick the crap out of this cancer.

Slightly Bent but Never Broken

In my military career, at one time, I was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery based out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.  Yes, it was a tough hard assignments with weekends spent on Wakiki Beach smoking cheap cigars and drinking Mai Tais.  The unit’s motto was “Never Broken”, given to the regiment during World War I by a French General.  The official motto is Never Broken thru hardship or battle.  Somebody along the way changed it to the current title of this blog.  But it was in this unit that I learned three critical components when it comes to being a resilient person; your faith, psych and physical fitness.

Now, I never had any issues with physical fitness.  In fact, most of us don’t.  If we take the time to count the number of steps we take a day, or all the activities we do, we would discover that we are actually fit people.  Our issues; fast foods, alcohol, and smoking are all bad contributors to our health and physical well being.  Most people take it a step further and do things like swim in a very large bath tub, or instead of walking they run around the neighborhood and some even take it to the extreme by trying to attempt to lift their own body weight with weights.  Crazy I tell you.  Personally, I enjoy working on my yard and walking to the mailbox and back.

Our mental ability is just that.  The ability to cope with the cards we were dealt with.  Currently, I was dealt a very bad hand but I rely on a saying I learned as a young lad in ROTC at my university; Everything ends in time.  A simple philosophy which I learned and apply it to many a situation I find myself end.  But as opposed to the Hakuna Matata, which is more carefree, I do believe everything has some good or bad consequences.  But, even if the situation changes, the philosophy doesn’t, because everything ends in time.  Because of that, I have learned that I must continue to live each day regardless of my situation.

I leave faith last, because I believe my faith to be a very personal matter, and it should be for everyone.  I tend to line up my faith along the Judeo/Christian values and I will keep it simple too.  I believe in the Bible and I don’t go around judging anyone.  I go to church on Sunday’s, I believe in Jesus, I pray daily and try to read my bible daily.  But that is me, and I believe that each and everyone of us have our own faith and we should exercise it. So what is faith?  Let me explain it this way, when my grandson asks for some water, he knows where the cups of water are at and knows where the purified water is located, but he is not big enough to serve himself.  He sees me grab a cup for him off the cabinet, he can see me go to the location with the purified water and he can hear the water hitting the cup.  When he takes the cup of water from me, how does he know that it is good water?  How does he know it is not soda? or coffee?  He doesn’t, he takes it because of his faith.

And that is how I view my current situation in fighting this cancer.  I may not be the same afterwards.  In fact, my doctor’s appointment today pretty much stated that.  I am going to change.  Hopefully to a mutant with super powers, but I doubt it.  Most likely, I will lose some hearing, the hair under my chin due to radiation, the left side of my lymph nodes and saliva glands, taste, numbness of my extremites and rough skin around my neck.  All this due to my chemo and radiation treatment plan.  But I am ok, because I have a plan to continue my physical fitness regime, my mental health, and my faith.  So in the end, I will be slightly bent, but Never Broken!

Biopsy Day

Nothing good can come from hearing the words, “biopsy” and when I heard the doctors had to do a biopsy on my lymph nodes, I was pretty much nervous about the results.  Now I have had a biopsy done before, on my liver, and that came out ok in general terms.  You see, I drank my liver away in Kosovo in 2006 because I was assigned to the NATO Headquarters which allowed me to consume alcohol.  To give you an idea of what the evenings look liked, for the older generations, it’s the movie Animal House, for the younger generations it’s the movie Neighbors.

So my liver biopsy was easy.  In fact, it took the nurses and doctors more time to prep me than the actual procedure.  The actual procedure was less than a second.  I felt a slight pinch on my side and that was it; I was done!  But, deep down in my gut, I knew that this biopsy done on my lymph nodes was not going to be as easy.  And it wasn’t.

So let me backtrack here for a bit.  My doctors wanted to do a biopsy on Monday, however they couldn’t because it was just past 3pm.  Apparently, the pathologist is off on Monday’s at 3pm.  Coincidently, we were going thru the government shutdown process and my conspiracy mind took over.  When my doctor told me they were unable to do the biopsy on Monday, I quickly replied, “damn politicians and the government shutdown.”  He laughed.  So we had to wait to Wednesday, and no it wasn’t because of the government shutdown as to the reason I wasn’t able to get it on Monday.  I think he either has bankers hours or had a tee time at the country club.

So I waited for the pathologist to stroll in with their fancy machine not knowing really what to expect.  The pathologist explained how they were going to stick a needle in my lymph nodes and extract some fluid in order to view it under their machine and also to take some samples up to the lab.  I was ok with that.  I really don’t mind needles as long as it’s not like the one they use on Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope.  So the good pathologist asks for his “gun” and I happen to see it and commented with, “you call that a gun!? I played with bigger ones.”  Being the old Artillery man that I am, I played with about every artillery system we have in the US Army.  Same basic principle in firing pistols and artillery.  But it made the pathologist smile a bit and my wife to smile.  She explained the whole Artillery bit to the doctor.

So they grabbed the tube with the needle and told me to expect a pinch.  I felt nothing.  Really, I didn’t feel anything at all.  If I did, it was very small like if you pinch yourself as lightly as you can.  My wife is freaking out with, “Are you sure you are not feeling anything?”  I was like, “yeah, in fact do as many as you want, and if you suck out all the mass all the more better.”  The pathologist chimed in with, “Well I might have to hold you on that comment.”  And he did.  He drew about 3 tubes worth of liquid goo out of my enlarged lymph nodes.  The technician kept some samples for further study, and they examined some of the goo under their microscope.

It was during this time they I didn’t really understand Doctor’s speak.  If you ever want to learn Doctor’s speak become one because they have their own fancy language; one which I really don’t care for knowing and it was at this point I wish I had.  They mentioned the term “carcinoma”, and I had no clue what they said.  The technician told the doctor a statement like this, “this plate has some carcinoma cells, can you confirm?”  Luckily, my wife, now she learned herself in the ways of the Doctors English and quickly caught on what they were talking about.  Me, nope, just a clueless fool making jokes about playing with bigger guns.

When they left, and they were nice about leaving and saying I did a good job and all, my wife informed me then that I have cancer.  My life as I knew it, was changing fast.