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Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Death Day To Me


Yeah, I know....the title is a bit morbid.

But apt.

8 months ago, a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist gathered Diane, my ex-wife and youngest daughter around him outside my emergency room treatment area and told them simply:



 "Take him home and make him comfortable.  There's not much more than we can do."  Needless to say, this is crushing news for loved ones.

When my ex-wife later pushed him for a more detailed prognosis, he told her, "Eight months on the outside".

Diane, not being one to trust doctors in the first place, demanded a second opinion and soon, Dr. David George, an Oncologist from Texas Oncology had me examined and ordered a battery of tests.  This time, the news was a bit better.  I was indeed a candidate for radiation and chemo therapy.  My treatment began the same day the results came in...a mere 48 hours.  Immediate treatment turned out to be the key.  I am alive today because of it.

That was 8 months ago, and as a Platinum Member of the Captain Obvious Club, I can report to you that I am indeed, not dead.

Had me or my caretakers taken the initial diagnosis of late stage 4 throat cancer as gospel, I would be.

I've never been one to place any significance on my birthday...It's always seemed a bit arrogant for me to assign any significance to my existence, or the random day my existence came to be.

I do however, acknowledge them now, but more so, I will acknowledge this date as well, from here on in.

It marks the day that I was told I would be dead.

This is an aggressive cancer, a mean, unrelenting son of a bitch, and while I am seemingly getting better and the cancer is due to be surgically and successfully removed from my body, it has a nasty ability to reoccur.

So I take nothing for granted, and every day means I have a chance to make a difference, big or small, some sort of difference.

And on this day, annually, I will choose to remember this specifically.

All-Righty Then...

14 comments:

David Lally said...

I'm so very happy your 1st Doctor wasn't as smart as he thought he was. :)

Your persistence is what has gotten you thru so much to date Ken, and I don't see it quitting any time soon. And for that, I (and I'm sure, many others) am glad. You're a wonderful human being my friend, and you're not allowed to leave any time soon. :)

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Diane for not buckling under the "authority" of this doctor. Many of us see doctors as the ultimate authority on our health and well being. They are human just like us and can fail just like us. I am glad she had the courage to demand a second opinion.

Jim in SC said...

As my wife says, "That's why they call it PRACTICING medicine!"

Amenditman said...

Ken
You and Diane are an inspiration to so many of us. You will never know most of our intimate stories of struggles, perseverance, and pain; but you inspire us to stand fast and keep moving forward.

Love you man

Gavin said...

Huh... And here I thought all other days are known as "unbirthdays". ;)

Keep it real, Ken. As long as there are people like you in the world, I will always keep one eye open to those in need (as well as my other 7 senses).

Dean Pannell (aka dinotrac) said...

Hey Ken --

Whatever combination of Texas ornery and cussed it takes, may you have many happy death days to come.

PS -- I would stick with that second doctor.

Andrew Cater said...

Go, Ken, go :)

If I need inspiration to keep going and that the world is worthwhile - I read this blog.

Keep on keeping on :)

Santam said...

The first thing we are taught as oncologists is never ever given a "figure" to any patient. 99% of the time we are wrong and that is because the data from which we speak is essentially based on clinical trials of large number of patients and the the median value is presented. These values are useful so as to estimate the actual benefit of a given treatment and cannot predict what will happen to the an individual (the greatest pitfall of evidence based medicine).

ebrke said...

We're all very glad you're still with us, Ken, and hope to have you around for some time to come!

James Dixon said...

Ken, you've made a difference every day as long as I've known you.

If anyone can pull through this, you will.

Chance Griffitt said...

Just wanted to say that what you do is amazing, and it sucks that it would be someone like you who this would happen to. Still, rather poetic that it was due to all the work you've done, at least in part, that lead to your survival and access to the special monitor. If it were me, I'd think I would mark the day after the day they claimed I would die, but you having been the one to survive it, it really doesn't matter what I think.

Ken Starks said...

Chance, thank you and don't give it another thought. This Captcha on blogger sucks, but disabling it gets me about 500 spam comments a week.

No worries and again, thank you.

Stephen Green said...

My wife and I are both cancer survivors. And the world is full of us survivors. Tech or no tech, what saved us was our luck (good Doctors)
our faith, and having something to live for..
Love my wife, and Linux too.
And thanks for sharing, it's the best thing we survivors can do!

V. T. Eric Layton said...

Ken,

Keep kickin' ascii and taken' names, my friend!

Whip it. Whip it good!

We're still pullin' fer ya'!

~V. T. Eric Layton AKA Nocturnal Slacker