When my Mom needed chemotherapy for colon cancer, I took her back and forth to her treatments. We would often stop for lunch or dinner after these sessions and this time together gave us a chance to know one another better and have a closer relationship.
Then, during a trip to the Bahamas with my wife, I felt something on my back as I toweled off after a swim. I thought nothing of it, but it grew larger. Two months later, I was diagnosed with stage IIIC malignant melanoma.
I tried to stay positive throughout the whole ordeal. My war cry was “Cancer schmancer — at least I’m healthy! I’ll either beat it or die trying!” I was offered a clinical trial. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
After a monthlong course of daily IV chemo, I gave myself injections at home three times a week.
My mother passed away.
A second lump metastasized into my lymph nodes.
After my fourth indoctrination ( that’s what I call an operation), a clown friend told me that I had been “blessed ” with cancer so that I would know what patients feel — inside and out. I believe him.
Another friend, a nurse, asked: “Do you know what makes a good nurse? A sense of humor and an incision.”
I had a lymph node section under my right arm, and stopped all chemo treatments. That was in 1999.
Humor in the healing process really works, and I have the experience on a personal and professional level.
There isn’t much fun in medicine, but a hell of a lot of medicine in fun.