The Diagnosis (Part Two)

Continued from Part One

The same week that I learned that my spine, pelvis and leg were riddled with cancerous lesions, my two boys left to spend the next six weeks with family in New England. I did not want to put a downer on their summer vacation, so I did not tell them about the latest news.

This was a difficult decision, but I still believe it was the right one. I made a similar decision when it came to my wife, however, and that was a mistake.

As I’ve said before, I love my wife so much that it hurts. I hate causing her pain or anxiety, and I knew what would happen the moment she heard the word “cancer.” Because, up until this point, I had not been officially diagnosed as having cancer (only “anomalies”) I decided to wait until I knew more.

I had an additional MRI scheduled for that Friday night, and Haley and I made plans for me to pick up dinner on the way home from my appointment. The scan went much as before, although laying on the flat surface for so long was noticeably more painful on my legs and hips. After about an hour and a half of scanning, the technician broke in over the intercom to tell me that the radiologist had spotted some “problems” with my scan, and would I be okay going to the emergency room right away?

I was a little tired of phrases like “anomaly” and “problem” at this point, and asked them to tell me what they were actually seeing. The radiologist told me that the damage to my femur was so extensive that he was concerned it could shatter at any moment, and that he wanted the ER staff to see if they needed to brace my leg with a metal rod.

I called my wife and told her I would not be picking up dinner.

She immediately drove to the hospital and met me in the ER waiting room. We were eventually admitted and spoke to a doctor who expressed frustration at the radiologist and told us that there really wasn’t much he could do. He advised me to make an appointment with an oncologist, and told me I should stay off of the affected leg.

Because of my selfish decision to not talk to my wife about the possible cancer diagnosis, this was the first time she was hearing anything about it. She went from waiting to have a nice dinner at home to sitting in the emergency room being told that her husband likely has a cancer that has eaten away most of one leg.

I made an appointment for the next week with an oncologist, and we went home to rest and worry. I told my work that I would be taking a few days off, and we spent most of our time looking up types of cancers and their mortality rates.

On Wednesday of that week, I started feeling a bit under the weather toward the end of the day. My head started to hurt, and I was running a bit of a temperature. It went away after a few hours, so I assumed that I was coming down with a cold or something similar.

The fever returned the next night, and refused to go away. I began to sweat profusely, and my head felt awful. We called the on-call nurse and told her my symptoms, and she advised me to drink fluids, take Tylenol, an rest.

By Saturday, my fever was at 102.9, and I was barely able to function. Haley drove me back to the emergency room, where they admitted me immediately. The staff seemed very concerned with my vital signs, which showed that my blood pressure and oxygen had been drastically lowered. They told us that I was in sepsis, and that I needed to be admitted immediately.

Continued in Part Three

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