It was 2005 and I was very busy with life which included caring for my mother who suffered with Huntington’s disease which is a genetic disease. If you are the son or daughter of someone with HD, there is at least a 50% chance that you have it too and it is a horrific diagnosis to say the least. After learning of my mother’s diagnosis, I found out that my mother’s only sibling, her father, all of her aunts, uncles, & cousins with the exception of one had HD so my chances of having the gene was pretty high and although it appeared the deck was probably stacked against me, I made the conscious decision NOT to be tested because there is no cure and my only son is adopted so there is no chance of him carrying the gene. I simply did not want to know it if HD was indeed, my fate. I did not think I could live with knowing this especially after watching the absolute torture that my mother suffered with this excruciating, debilitating disease. Eventually, with the encouragement of my neurologist, I made the very difficult decision to be tested and thank God, I do not have HD. Whew…that was an unbelievable relief.
So back to 2005, my gastroenterologist, whom I was now working with as the clinical manager, ordered a routine MRCP which is a special MRI to visualize the biliary tree. I put this test off for months because I honestly did not have time to fit it into my busy life & it was however, “routine”. It was a Friday afternoon and I took off work early, to go check out a couple of nursing homes for my mom as her health was rapidly declining so I ran by the hospital to get this “routine” test done in between stops. On the following Monday, I was back to work and had not even thought about checking on the results of my MRCP. I was very busy at work when my doctor caught me in the hallway and pulled me into an exam room to explain to me that my test results indicate multiple lymph nodes around my liver, pancreas, & biliary tree. He said that several radiologists looked at my scan & they all feel that I may have lymphoma. My mind was spinning… Lymphoma!? Cancer!? This cannot be possible!!This was supposed to be a “routine test” to follow up on my liver disease that in my opinion was stable. There had to be a huge mistake!! He scheduled me for a thin slice CT of the liver the following morning. I went back to my desk & continued working but I was in complete shock & denial and did everything that I could to finish the day without completely falling apart. Blake & I prayed for good results but the following morning we went to the hospital for my CT scan – it only took 20 minutes & we were out of there and on our way to work when the nurse practitioner called me and said that I needed to return for another CT to visualize the chest because they found numerous, large lymph nodes and things did not look good. Blake turned the car around and began driving to the hospital but in a few minutes, he stopped the car & began sobbing….through my own tears, I tried to comfort him & told him that we have to be strong and trust in God to get us through this… although I was a wreck inside. We were both scared to death. Long story short, I ended up having an intra-operative lymph node biopsy which was negative and the final diagnosis was “benign, reactive” lymph nodes to my diseased liver & I went for a second opinion with my very brilliant hepatologist at the transplant center in New Orleans who concurred….well, I already knew that my liver was not in great shape this is “old news” so I can live with that…I thanked the good Lord that I did not have cancer & kept on trucking! I have since changed jobs and gastroenterologists but that is a much longer story – let’s just say that I consider myself stronger for this experience too.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13