Now that is a silly question. Of course not. Or can they? This is a story about my recent exploits with the medical profession concerning what turned out to be Cancer. Scary word isn't it. Well don't get your hopes up. I beat it ( cancer) this time.
I am getting ahead of myself her so let me start from the beginning. It was a cold dark stormy night when I noticed 2 black spots on my back which I concluded might be melanoma cancer. A quick visit to the Dermatologist revealed it was only liver spots ( age thing) so I asked the Dr. to check my arm that had a growth that would not heal from a severe burn I got over 4 years ago. After spraying my whole face with Liquid Nitrogen and me grimacing from the stings he took a look. Bingo! It was cancerous big time. The only lucky part of the diagnosis was it was only Basal Cell. The bad part was it was really big and needed a surgeon to do his handy work. Kaching goes the cash register.
Next meeting was the surgeon at the hospital. A rather jolly fellow with a good bedside manner and a hearty laugh. He took one look and said "Holy Cow! That was a monster!" Next in came every doctor at the hospital with cameras wanting to take pictures. I asked if I needed to smile for the cameras, but I only think they focused on the arm. In walks the surgeon with a tray loaded down with needles to numb the pain. All I could see in his eyes was dollar signs rolling over at a fast pace. Kaching! During the numbing process we had idle chat on how I got the burn which he states that cancer could pop up if a burn is not treated properly. Now he tells me.
He finally got off the first layer and had it taken to the lab for test. After two hours and 19 slides later he came back with another tray of needles for some more numbing. He says the cancer went pretty deep down and wide. All I could hear was a cash register ringing up in the back ground. Kaching! Kaching! More skin was removed and taken to the lab. After another hour he came back with more needles. You guessed it. More cancer in the skin still even wider and deeper. About this time here came the other doctors with their cameras again while the Surgeon was cutting out more skin. Feeling no pain I asked was I supposed to be smiling for the cameras. and that ever haunting register sound Kaching ! Kaching! Kaching! started up again. I also prayed to the Lord to help me with the intercession gift to stop that cash register from ringing up. And out he went with the removed skin for more test.
Now being there all this time ( 5+ hours) I was really hungry and asked the nurse could I get something to eat. She looked at me with disbelief and asked what I wanted. I said A skyline chili 4 way would be nice. I sat up on the side of the operating table and said you could send my wife out for one. I didn't think it would be good for me to walk over to get it my self. Out goes my wife ( I love that woman) to get me a 4 way. They actually moved me to an adjacent room and wrapped up my arm so I could eat my 4 way. As I was eating my 4 way the surgeon came back in and said we got it all. He then looked at me eating and asked what in the hell was I doing. All I said was I am eating. He let out a loud laugh and said why didn't I get him one. Sorry Doc. Now I am ready to "get er done".
He took some samples of the muscle tissue to be sure the Cancer had not spread into the muscles which were also visible. Looking at the arm did make me wheezy but I was going to eat no matter what. I was a bit hungry. Next came the "pig skin tissue to lay over the open wound to help it heal. Yes pig skin folks. It is used to speed up the process so they can do a skin graft later. Kaching! I ended up with a hole down to my muscles and bone 6inch x 5inches wide. Never again will I ever let a rash that pops up go unchecked.
The surgeon and nurse wrapped up the wound ( or should I say canyon)and immobilized my arm with instructions to keep it elevated for two weeks. They shouldn't have had to worry about that. It was wrapped so that I couldn't even use the arm.
Next visit 3 weeks later I get the skin graft. Horay! No more bandages, or so I thought. This Visit the surgeon and I get into an argument on where the graft is coming from. I am saying stomach as I have a lot of skin there. He is saying off the upper arm. Unfortunately he won. I knew I should not have let him give me the shots until we both agreed on where. As looped as I was from the numbing I didn't care where he took it. 5 hours later here I am with the blasted arm wrapped up from my arm pit to my wrist and no way to lower it. I mean it was positioned to stand out away from my body and the only comfortable position was over my head so that the stitches would not pull out. Yep again I have to hold the arm up over my head for 18 days this time. Can you imagine me walking around when I am not laying down with the arm hanging over my head almost for 18 days. People are going to think weired things. What am I supposed to do walking around waving at everybody? I can sense the guys in the white coats coming for me right now.
Well here I am with only one working arm and telling this story with one arm over my head feeling looped with pain medication and antibiotics powerful enough to make an elephant sick but there is a moral this story. One should never let a rash or festering any where on your body go as long as I did with out getting it checked right away. I waited almost 4 years before getting it checked. I was lucky it was only Basal Cell Cancer. It did not spread into any vital organs or muscle tissue. I can be thankful to the Lord for that. It could have been much worse.
I would also like to thank the friends that were praying for me on this adventure in the hopes it could be caught before spreading too far and the wife for waiting on me hand and foot since there isn't much I can do yet. Oh yes I would also like to thank my surgeon for the work he and his staff did to make this event as bearable as possible considering the circumstances.
Let me reiterate quite strongly no one should let any thing that shows up on your skin go unchecked for any amount of time. Basal Cell is a slow growing non invasive cancer. Squamous Cell is a fast growing deadly and invasive cancer. Melanoma cancer is a deadly fast growing invasive cancer. Don't risk your life by ignoring any growth on your skin. By the grace of God I was spared this time or has He spared me in the past also?
As I look back in my life at critical moments, I begin to see a pattern. As a young child 2 years of age I developed a serious respiratory condition that didn't allow me to breath on my own and the Drs. told my Mom they didn't think I was going to pull through. This was the second time in a year that I had this. He suggested that she should have a priest give the last rites if she was Catholic. A few days later I began to respond to treatment to the surprise of the Doctors. After a month in the hospital I was back home healthy as can be.
As a rambunctious teen, I was always full of life and was always pushing the limit. I had become interested in go kart racing. I had one I built for racing in a series that used twin Mc Collough MC 10s for engines. I raced at a local track every week end but ended up in a freak accident that split open my so called racing helmet. I ended up in a coma for three weeks. The Doctors again saw no chance of me ever pulling out of it. If I did I would be a vegetable. Again I proved them wrong. I recovered with no side effects except for an occasional head ache and some memory loss.
As a young manager of a local Kmart store in Charleston S.C. on River Road, I stopped a irate shoplifter from beating up one of my assistant managers that stopped him. He pulled a gun and started shooting at me. I was able to jump over a counter as he continued to shoot through the peg board. I was hit in the neck by one of the bullets but I kept running. The police arrived in time to stop his rampage after shooting him. They were looking for bullets as evidence and I pulled one of the bullets out of my neck which was just under the skin. Should have known it since I was bleeding from my neck.
In the late 80s, I started up a professional drag racing operation with me as the owner and driver for what is now called the Pro Modified class ( 200 MPH door slammers on Nitros). A near fatal 200 MPH crash ended that venture two years later. Again I beat the odds and survived.
It was then that I started to get the feeling I was not immortal any more. It was during a 6 month recovery that I found God telling me He had plans for me one day while out photographing nature at a wild life sanctuary. I could have sworn I was hearing things but it was real as it could be. Verses from scripture started flowing through out my thoughts and references from my earlier misadventures came into my mind. I was terribly moved from what I was thinking I was hearing.
More recently nearly three years ago I started having prostate problems as most men my age do or so I thought. I finally went to the Urologist. They found a tumor on my prostate and the issue of blood in my urine confirmed I had a real issue to face. Surgery was ordered after a barrage of test. During the ensuing time waiting I prayed feverishly for a cure. Never had I done this before. As I went in for surgery, I felt an inner peace and left it all in Gods hands. After the surgery I was advised they did not find the tumor that was plainly shown from the MRI test and the biopsies showed no cancerous cells. The doctors were amazed and I felt my prayers were answered. It was then that I took up the cross in earnest and started on a new adventure now knowing God had always been there saving me from my self and showing his Love if only I would surrender myself to Him totally. That evening high on Morphine injections I prayed again giving glory and praises to God for once again saving me.
Know I do know what wonderful plans God has in store for me and I am eternally grateful. What time I do have left I will serve only Him and He has given me more Gifts in order to serve Him fruitfully. For that I am a humble and lucky man.