Choosing the right doctors in a situation like this is absolutely critical. It may literally be a life and death decision. I am so blessed to have the supporting cast that I do, making it possible to meet with a handful of doctors before making my choices final. Credentials were not the only things we looked for during our search. I am sure all the doctors we met were extremely intelligent and fully capable of providing us with quality health care. That is not enough, though. If somebody is going to be pumping my veins full of poison, blasting my body with radiation, or slicing my abdomen into two halves, I want to make sure that I get a great vibe from them as a person, not only as a physician. I was not only searching for somebody that was completely confident in their abilities, but also somebody who was completely confident that they could return me back to family with a future. If I am ever in a position to give advice to somebody, I would tell them that they need to meet with as many doctors as it takes until they are completely comfortable. This is your life, your body, and nobody else should be making these choices for you, except maybe your wife.
Our team is selected at multiple locations and we are set to begin our journey. On Monday July 19th, I had a port surgically implanted in my chest. This port looks like a miniature computer mouse. The base of the device is about the size of a water bottle cap. From this base, there is about 10 inches of very thin tubing. The port was implanted about two inches under my right collar bone right under the skin. The tubing runs up over my collar bone and into my neck. It is fed directly into my jugular vein and is threaded down several inches where is rests just above my heart. The port acts as the primary access point for the chemo to be injected and also keeps the nurses from having to stick me in the arms every time they need blood.
Today is Wednesday July 21st and time couldn’t be moving any slower. I feel like I am six years old again and tomorrow is Christmas day. I am so anxious for chemo to start, I wonder if I will get any sleep tonight. The doctors have spoken to me about how I may feel after the treatment, but of course everybody reacts a little differently. The uncertainty is a little freaky, but I am still so excited to get these treatments underway. If Trudy responds well to the chemo, not only will the disease become more manageable and the surgeries become less invasive, but most importantly at this moment, the reduction in overall size should help greatly in terms of pain relief. Currently, as Trudy is all large and in charge, she is compressing on several nerve endings. For anybody who has ever had any sort of nerve pain, you know just how excruciating it is. Too bad I can’t inject Jim Beam directly into my port tonight, I am sure that would help me get some sleep.
The battle of my life begins tomorrow. There is message that has a tremendous amount of meaning to me, and I have been clinging to it since I originally heard the news. It comes from the “Jimmy V acceptance speech from the ESPY awards,” which I highly encourage you to read. I actually can’t even speak the words without getting emotional. I am adopting it as my own and will live by the message not only through this fight, but for the rest of my life.
don't give up...DON'T EVER GIVE UP!