Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fighting for life with the help of medicine, family, friends

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by The Press in Columns

It was difficult keeping such a rare cancer diagnosis from my sister and her family and my close friends; however, by doing so, I was able to ignore the disease and accept each day as it came.

I now look back and realize how careless and irrational my decision was to try to conceal such a disease. Concealing the disease ate away at my conscience and, ultimately, my physical body.

About two weeks ago, I began feeling ill — ill in the sense I lost my appetite, energy and sizable amount of weight. I became so weak I could neither stand nor walk. My body went into septic shock, leading me to sleep the days and nights away in my apartment, in extreme pain.

The pain turned so severe by midnight June 10 that I used every once of energy to call 911 and request an ambulance transport to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg.

After being swiftly admitted into the emergency room, the doctors, nurses and medical staff quickly took over to ensure I was stable enough to move to a room in the intensive care unit.

That morning, I was transported to the ICU and received large amounts of intravenous antibiotics to help fight off the bacteria that began ravishing my body and organs. A few days later, I was transferred to a regular room and ultimately discharged on the fifth day of my stay.

The medical staff saved my life, and my family and friends provided support and love I shielded myself from for years.

Why, you may ask?

I was embarrassed to admit my illness and my weakness and fully disclose and show to the world what I actually looked like. The cancer had changed my physical appearance and whatever level of confidence I once exuded.

Now, many individuals I know are aware of the rare form of skin cancer I suffer from and know how extensive the disease has affected my body.

Strangely, sharing with others my disease has provided me with a sense of freedom and release I have not experienced or felt in years. It’s allowed me to reconnect with family and friends whom I have kept at a distance for far too long.

I now have help from family and friends to battle and push forward to try to beat this disease. Their help and support will provide a sense of comfort I have not experienced in years.

No one — regardless of how strong you may be or think you are — can battle and beat a disease like cancer in a solitary sense.

The person battling the disease will need to share their illness with others and open their hands and hearts and allow the love of others to flow in and through them. That person must think positive thoughts, rather than negative, despite the diagnosis outlook and level of pain.

Any disease is difficult to battle, but we cannot beat an illness on our own.

If you are currently suffering from a disease and reading this, know you should open up your heart to those around you by allowing them to lend an open hand to your physical struggles.

Become vulnerable and erase any degree of sadness and potential mortality with humor and kindness.

Don’t battle life on your own; allow those around you and closest to you to assist in your path to getting well.

And always remember miracles are possible and do occur.