A New Life Event! July 3rd 2019, I live an exciting life!!!

 I started having severe chest pains, muscle pain, not a heart attack pain (like I know the difference). I was taking loads and loads of pain medicines but it wasn’t helping. However, as long as I laid still in my recliner, I was fine, that’s where I stayed through the holiday weekend.

By July 5th, I was no better. Donna Simmons couldn’t take it anymore. She got mad at me and insisted I go to the emergency room. I didn’t want to go, but she packed some things and all but dragged me to the hospital. She saved my life.

If I had waited a few more days, I would be dead now. I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer which metastasized to my brain. I had a cancerous tumor at the top left lung which caused it to collapse and a tumor at the bottom of my right lung. I had two tumors in my brain, a small one in the back and a larger one that was 5cm from my brain stem and growing.

The doctors jumped into action and at record pace, I was immediately started on radiation and had brain surgery via a procedure called “Gamma Knife”. Both procedures were successful and then I started down the road of chemo therapy and steroid treatments.

There was a hiccup in the treatments, I suddenly became paralyzed on my left side (neuropathy on steroids) and the cancer came back in the tumor in my right lung. I also became diabetic.

The doctors at Bon Secours wanted to stop treatments and suggested we start looking into hospice care.

Donna suggested we start looking into a second opinion.

After a lot of phone calls, Donna found an Oncologist at Duke University and in partnership with doctors at VCU, we started the lung treatments again. I had a series of radiation treatments at VCU, followed up with Chemo/Steriod treatments at Duke. By late 2020, I had no more cancer.

The corona-virus epidemic brought a whole new set of dangers and circumstances. We were very careful. We stayed home 90% of the time, stepping out for doctor appointments and the occasional quick stop at the grocery store. Neither Donna nor I could afford getting the virus, thinking it would kill us if we did. In March of this year, we both tested positive. Donna spent a couple of days in the hospital with pneumonia and hypoxia. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital because of low blood pressure and high blood sugar.

Surprisingly, We survived having the corona-virus and benefitted by having in home care, physical and occupational therapy (for me). I’m still doing occupational therapy for my left arm and hand. I’m also going through a series of testing and surgeries for circulation issues in my left leg. But overall I’m doing great. Donna is doing well also, but she has a few minor medical issues she’s working through, well, minor to me.

So, things are going great except in mid-June 2021, I was informed my contract with the Veteran’s Administration was running out of funds. On June 30th, I became unemployed.

I live an exciting life!!!


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