I have been in denial for several years about my condition. I’ve kept it silent to my mother, my sisters, and close friends. I’ve spoken to my family about it. Still to this day, they have misunderstood my diagnosis. My physician prescribed antibiotics in 2009. I have been on and off antibiotics since 2009. I don’t want to get into the specifics, but I’ve been sick for a long while since 2008 and didn’t even know about it. I’m living with the disease everyday. I come to work trying to finish every task that’s been handed over to me. For the most part, I can handle the stress with co-workers and my commute. When I’m busy, I immediately feel a bit of relief. But there are days when I feel I can’t go through this and I can’t move forward. I want to take the negative thoughts out of my mind, but it’s been difficult. My current physician is somewhat baffled I am still taking antibiotics. My physician says my diet has gotten better. I have had sleeping issues since 2008. I need to sleep better. Other news is I’ve lost some weight due to my lack of sleep. Maybe because my diet only consists of gluten-free meals. My current weight is 101 lbs.
I’m in my mid-20s now and I have late stage symptoms that come and go. Sometimes the symptoms are severe. Sometimes symptoms aren’t present at all.
When my aunt came to visit New York for a conference at NYU Langone Medical Center she advised I should contact a specialist immediately. I should’ve called a specialist years ago, but I haven’t been in tuned with any type of physician or specialist lately. I have been taking antibiotics for months/years. I promised myself in March, I will see a specialist—hopefully someone who can share more insight and treatment for this disease.
My piece of advice to some whether you are young or old. Heart disease, cancer, leukemia, autoimmune disorders, bacterial infections, and other ailments can strike a person at any age. Some mysterious and rare illnesses are left undiagnosed and often misdiagnosed. There are those who don’t seek help from a physician or a specialist. I occasionally visit my physician, but at times, I have missed appointments. I thought I was in perfect health, but clearly I wasn’t. Yes, I’ll have to make a commitment to visit my physician and also see a specialist. My health is very important.
Don’t make any excuses. Don’t be stubborn. Understand your blood work and take your yearly health tests and exams.
This is what I mean by humility.
My uncle, a neuroradiologist, passed away years after he was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was an on-and-off battle against cancer.
These were some of his words I have found from a letter in 1998.
In February of 1996, I was found to have Cancer of the Colon. The entire right side and half of the midportion of my large intestines were removed. A malignant tumor measuring about 10 cm. was included. Fortunately, at the time, no evidence of tumor spread was detected. The prospect of contracting Cancer to most of us is something we do not even want to think about. Many want to believe that, yes, it can happen to others but NOT TO ME. This prospect is so scary because it connotes pain, debilitation, suffering, and slow impending doom. So if it occurs to someone we know, profound shock hits us. Well, it happened to me, not a relative, a friend, but to none other than myself.i
I have since undergone two other major abdominal operations to get at recurrent foci of cancer, the last one in the last week of May, 1998. Two separate rounds of chemotherapy using different drug modalities have left me weakened, sickly and irritable for most of the last two years. I have since learned the meaning of true helplessness and humility. Once being the doctor, who called the shots, I suddenly am the patient – now finding myself on the other side of the scalpel or hypodermic needle. The tables had been turned, so to speak. This time around, I had the chance to experience the difficulties of excruciating post-operative pain, the lancinating discomfort caused by antibiotics running up my veins, the teeth chattering shaking chills that accompany high fever, and severe depression that accompanies extreme weakness. On the other hand, I have learned to truly appreciate things I had previously taken for granted: the nurses’ gentle massage to ease the knot in my back, the comforting caresses of my loving wife, children and relatives, the kind words of encouragement and prayers from classmates, friends and colleagues, even the ever repetitious banter of my mother-in-law to do this or that. The once callous medical practitioner slowly realized that he wasn’t so callous anymore.
Extreme desperation gradually led to the realization of true humility.
With deepest apologies to my friends in Oklahoma and Austin, I will not be making the trip to SXSW this year.
I’ve been receiving emails and texts from all of you. Thank you for the love.