Skip to comments.Cancerís Ray of Hope
Posted on 01/25/2014 11:58:27 AM PST by Kaslin
By now you might have heard I was diagnosed with cancer a few days ago.
Our dear friends at Twitchy, my buddy Andrew Klavan, and the Daily Caller’s Betsy Rothstein have the blow-by-blow of my first trip to the hospital, my eventual admittance, and the astonishing number of prayers that have come in for me from around the country and the world. To say the attention was unimaginable is an understatement of epic proportions.
So let me just begin with: THANK YOU!
People should next know that this disease came completely out of the blue. I had no symptoms other than what I thought was the flu going around. Theres no history of lung cancer or lymphoma in my family. And although I was a social smoker in college who wasnt? I probably havent smoked a total of 20 cigarettes in the past two decades. My wife stopped in either 1997 or 1998, and never went back.
But lets take this further: Im an exercise and health nut. With the assistance of my now darling daughter-in-law, I reworked my entire diet and fitness program in 2012 to get me back to the kind of body I had when I was in my 30s. Since then, Ive largely lived my life to improve my fitness and find healthier foods that would further that goal.
But the Big C didnt care about my diet or fitness level when he knocked on my door recently, for quite obviously healthy living doesnt prevent you from acquiring this disease, and that doesnt seem very fair, does it?
A former business partner and long-time friend has smoked between two and three packs of cigarettes a day since he was 15. In the earlier years, his poison was unfiltered Camels. Hes never exercised as long as Ive known him, and he loves his meat and potatoes. Yet hes twelve years my senior living a far less healthy life than I currently do all of it free from the Big C.
How does that happen? I asked the pulmonary specialist yesterday where someone in my health with no family history of this could catch this. He said we really dont know. Some things represent genetic predispositions. In my case, heck, I could have come across a high level of radiation somewhere years ago in a medical lab, for example - and a mutation began starting the process. He wasnt claiming this is what it was, mind you, but instead, this is how random the cause can be.
Not very reassuring, is it? Most of us try to live our lives along paths that are as predictable as possible. Having your life radically changed because of some random, unknown contact with radiation decades ago has to alter your view of the world, no?
So when I arrived in Florida on January 7 for a planned working holiday with my parents - unfortunately bringing besides my daughter the remains of what I thought was a flu that started shortly after the New Year - I had no idea that some random event that had little consequence to me decades ago one that I mightnt have even been cognizant of was about to turn my life upside down.
What Ive been through in the past five days I wouldnt wish on a dog an expression Ive never understood considering Americas love for canines. To make some sense out of it, and to distract me from my pain and suffering, I took to Facebook and Twitter to chronicle the experience.
Truth be told, I wasnt doing it to necessarily publicize the experience per se. Folks know me not to be much of a status tweeter. However, as I hadnt brought my computer to the hospital I was expecting to see a physician about the lumps that had developed on my neck overnight, be examined, take some x-rays, get diagnosed, and then sent on my way to the pharmacy with prescriptions for cure - I only had my smartphone on me. FB/Twitter fit the bill during the long waits between actually being around a human being.
The response was astonishing. Prayers and best wishes started coming in from everywhere.
In a word, Im shocked, and wonder what about this incident has touched so many people. Is it the fragility of our existence, and how from each passing second something that profoundly changes your life in a positive or negative way may enter it? Will you know it when it happens, or can it lead or trail you by the tiniest sub-particle thereby having no impact whatsoever or altering someone elses life rather than your own be it fortunately or unfortunately?
And does such an event challenge your faith or strengthen it? If the Noel in the byline were your son, or your brother, or your father, or you, how would this experience be for you from a theological perspective?
Or does that miss the point, and instead, because of the internet, and blogs, and social media, I AM you? Were all each other somehow due to this electronic connection weve created, and when one of us suffers, we all suffer?
I dont know the answer to that, but let me tell you what I do know: I took a big step forward in this journey yesterday.
After the four worst days of my life, I asked Him for just one better day than the previous one to give me a ray of hope. That ray didnt come early in the day. Hell no. Lots of pain Wednesday after a horrible, sleepless night. Parents had a lot of their own doctors appointments so couldnt spend a lot of time with me.
You probably dont know this, but a hospital can be a very lonely place, especially at night when they get dark and cold and the sounds from neighboring rooms are filled with groans of pain and tears. So I had been ruing nightfall since I had awoken Wednesday much as a kid still afraid of the dark.
At about 5:30 PM, the oncologist came to tell me they thought they had concluded that the cancer was a non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which would have been good news but not the best. Hodgkins at this point would be the most positive finding due to the chemotherapy strategies, recovery periods, and levels of success. However, just as they were about to close the case at NH-lymphoma, one of the analysts involved maintained that this could also be a carcinoma of the lungs, which would be far more serious. As such, they were sending the sample to another lab for additional opinion.
I was once again stunned, and cried heavenward with tears streaming through my eyes, Well, thanks for one better day!
The oncologist asked me to explain, and after I did, she said, Well, todays C-T scan revealed no growths in the abdomen or pelvis. We saw that as great news.
And thus began my climb out of the abyss.
I already knew carcinoma was a possibility. Yes, we would rather have had this disease start in the lymph spreading into the lung and also likely impact lymph there. As we havent biopsied the lung yet, we dont know what that mass is.
If it turns out the lymph extracted from the neck is carcinoma, the likely scenario is the illness began as lung cancer who knows when? and was recently absorbed by lymph in the neck to help resolve it. If for now its only moved into the neck, well have fewer targets to go after and therefore a higher cure potential. That theres nothing in the abdomen or pelvis YET! is great news if this turns out to be carcinoma.
With that, my oncologist left me, and I was once again alone with my thoughts a very dangerous place of late. I suddenly jumped into business mode, and realized that I needed to establish some priorities.
I hadnt slept in days, and the evenings were torture for a variety of reasons. If I was going to get a hold of this illness and myself, I first needed to conquer the evening so that it could become productive: able to eat without pain; able to drink fluids without pain; able to shift positions in bed or even sit up without pain; able to get out of bed without pain; able to get back in bed without pain; able to find a comfortable position so that I can sleep without pain.
On the left side above my collarbone currently resides about an orange-sized mass of swollen lymph nodes so large its occluding the jugular vein. On the right side are the remaining swollen lymph nodes post-biopsy. They continue to swell. Combined, the swellings make the neck very tight and very painful especially if I cough. Then the pain is intolerable.
So I rang for the nurse, told her what was happening, and she suggested we go back to the morphine. I agreed, and rather quickly got back to sleep waking around 7:30.
Now thats sleeping. All totaled, I probably had between 9 and 10 hours sleep. I felt much better. I even got out of bed Thursday to write this sitting in a regular chair. Yes, for the first time since Saturday morning, I was well enough to write.
What changed, you ask? I needed light.
You see, last Saturday, I was thrown into a minefield. I had no idea where I was or what to do. Every move I made resulted in a painful explosion. Each day, the explosions got more frequent and more violent.
Oh, and it was perpetually dark. So even if I knew how to navigate this minefield, I didnt have the light by which to do it.
The negative C-T scan Wednesday turned on the lights. Once on, some of the puzzle that had totally confused me the previous days due to my pain, fears, and anxieties became a little less fuzzy.
For days I have been acting like a child because of everything that had been so unexpectedly thrown at me in such a short period of time. But with the light on, I saw what needed to be done to make my fifth night in the hospital much better than the previous four.
Maybe more importantly, I now have the tools to effectively manage the coming days.
This war is far from over, but I won a huge battle Wednesday night hopefully the first of many. Im now far better equipped to proceed, and believe fortifications are imminent as I continue to turn on more lights. It sure is wonderful to be out of the dark again.
Of course, now that Im once again visible, it would be nice if theyd let me shower, wash my hair, and shave. Im really quite concerned that one of these days Im going to look in the mirror and its going to break!
Epilogue: This was written Thursday. Due to internet problems at my hospital, I wasnt able to publish until Saturday.
Since then, not a lot has changed. Were still waiting for the results of the biopsy. For those that think this is absurd, be advised that there are at least 30 different types of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Chemotherapy treatments are specific to each type. And, chemo treatments are different if this is carcinoma. So the most important part of cancer treatment is properly identifying the type or youre not going to defeat it.
Unfortunately, I had another atrial fibrillation Friday nobody knows why that fortunately wasnt that eventful due to all the heart medication theyve got me on since the first episode early Sunday morning. But most importantly, I have a couple of possible rays of hope today.
Ive asked for a C-T scan on the brain as a well as a bone scan. I no longer want to wait on this. If these come out negative, then weve identified that the cancer whatever it is is currently only in the lymph in the neck and in the right lung.
Yes, I understand that either or both might be positive, but I need to know what Im dealing with. As I highly-doubt were going to find anything in bone or brain, well be ready to attack my unwelcome invader immediately upon discovering what it is rather than having to wait for more tests.
Poor guy. I wish him the best. I have been to the “C” show and got the Tee shirt.
‘I was diagnosed with cancer a few days ago.’
So was I..
Prayers for Mr. Sheppard’s successful treatment and full and speedy recovery.
Prayers for you, too !
Me too... cancer free since December, 2013.
Thank you..I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer..
prayers up for you and mr. sheppard. may His Spirit guide and strengthen you and your doctors.
I pray for Mr Sheppard's full recovery..
God bless you Noel. You show great courage penning this.
“So was I..”
I will keep you in my prayers. Welcome to the club, though not one we choose to join...
There is a “Cancer Warriors Ping List” that you can sign up for. Just about every cancer-related article on FR makes its way onto this ping list.
New Ping List for Cancer Survivors & Caregivers
Make a post on this thread and let them know you want to be on the list.
My Mom had cancer last year, so I know some of the emotions you’re feeling now.
you’re so welcome. so have i with a different flavor. so you know about the survivors ping list?
Pinging for the “Cancer Warriors List”
Glad to hear it. Mine was a long time ago I am happy to report.
Two of the cleanest-living women I have ever known have been through the cancer hell over the past few years. Currently, both are showing no further signs, but it has been a horrible journey, for one of them, especially.
Prayers for you and a successful treatment
My twin sister passed away in 2003 from lung cancer. Unfortunately she was a heavy smoker
Prayers up for you and Mr. Sheppard. As many have seen here, I lost Mom to inflammatory breast cancer on November 18th.
CANCER WARRIORS PING
This is a ping list for cancer survivors and caregivers to share information. If you would like your name added to or removed from this ping list, please tell us in the comments section at this link (click here). (For the most updated list of names, click on the same link and scroll to the end of the comments.)
God has his plans...
The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
And I ask Jehovah God to Bless you and all cancer warriors.
My brother, sister, mother,2 aunts, two uncles, two cousins have fought cancer and God has blessed us...
One uncle exposed to radiation during post WWII atomic bomb tests...Another Uncle, Aunt and cousin exposed to fallout in Arizona in one of the last U.S. bomb tests...
“The areas in Arizona recognized by the government as affected by fallout are Yavapai, Coconino, Apache, Gila, and Navajo counties. One out of every seven tests dumped radioactive fallout on northern Arizona.
In spite of decades of denials by government officials who routinely assured the public that radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing was harmless, in 1990 Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). RECA provides $50,000 per person compensation payments to “Downwinders” who later suffered from a specific radiation related cancers and other diseases.”
In my opinion, he has always been the most important and most insightful writer on MSM bias in the country.
This will be a terrible loss to the Conservative Movement if he does not recover.
He sounds a bit naïve about his medical condition, unfortunately.
It will be a miracle if this is not lung cancer.
And when overt lung cancer symptoms reach the level he has described, your life is in very grave danger.
He is also a bit naïve about the causes of atrial fibrillation and lung cancer.
I'm a life long runner, I have A-Fib, and it's been slowly but surely getting worse for 10 years.
Also, at least 20% of lung cancers are not caused by tobacco.
Fact is, most healthy middle aged people have never done anything to themselves that causes a severe disease.
If you are over 40, you are heading downhill biologically.
Father Time randomly picks off some of us a little earlier than others, that's all.
I can't help but reflect how death has picked off some of our most important Conservative writers in the last ten years.
Tony Snow, Andrew Breitbart, William F. Buckley, and, on foreign policy and immigration issues, the part time Conservative Christopher Hitchens.
As Conservatives, we are living in perilous political times.
Noel Sheppard would be one more irreplaceable loss.
Me too .
I have more tests to get during the next couple of weeks to determine how aggressive it is, where all it may have gone and what choices I might have.
I quit posting on FR over a month ago and now I occasionally lurk, but when I saw the word “cancer”, I couldn’t resist posting. ;>)
My mom died of cancer when she was 56. My dad died of Pancreatic cancer at 67. I kinda knew it was just a matter of time for me. I am 65 and I can now quit worrying about when it’s going to show up.
Strangely, I am just as happy today as I was 8 days ago when the blood tests started telling the story. Admittedly, I am a bit nervous about the pain that I know is coming.
I don’t want to leave, but I am ready to go .perhaps I am in shock, perhaps I feel this way because I believe that God is with me.
I’ll be logging out and returning to lurking mode.
Good luck and God Bless...
I heard so many stories like that through the years. Probably why I still smoke. Started when I was 10. Now 65. Easier to blame it on myself that way.
I’ve never even heard of this guy.
You be careful now. They aren't always as right as you may think. Money is a big motive for diagnosing someone with cancer. May God be with you as he promised.
Please do not give up..think positive and know God is there.
When I was told about the results of the biopsy I said remove the filthy mess..so my they did..I never once decided this would get me down and it didn’t..Ten years after the cancer..i had open heart surgery.I had four Aneurysm on my heart..Two on the inside of my heart and two on the outside..the cardiologist told me I had these for many years..you see I have been through it but have never lost my faith..I know God is still not finished with me so I will go on until he is..
As for my family my sister age 17 died with a brain tumor,brother colon cancer,mother stomach cancer,dad had a lung removed with cancer..and died twenty years later with a heart attack..I will in next month and get this taken care of..none of them smoked..
TAKE CARE AND IF YOU NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO JUST REMEMBER I AND THE OTHER FREEPERS ARE HERE..FREE MAIL ME AND I CAN GIVE YOU MY EMAIL ADDRESS..THAT IS IF YOU LIKE..
I thank everyone for the prayers and love you all..
The devil has tried three times now to shut me up and did not succeed and he will not this time..
Prayers for you and Noel!
These days, there are many new treatments. Many of us here have danced with the Big-C. It’s a tough battle, but God IS with you. Good luck and God bless to you, too! But, remember, there are many supportive people right here on FR, so don’t go away too far for too long...
Prayers for you, too, PLD. Stay strong!
Praying for you...
The big C has hit our family full force. Three sister’s conquered breast cancer, two with double mastecomy’s. A niece has not and is going through the chemo struggles for a second time, a nephew is having brain surgery on Thursday to remove a lesion .
Not fun... But GOD takes us through ....
No way I would be living in California now -
since this - the meltdown had penetrated the cement barrier and reached the groud water - releasing radioactic steam into the atmosphere - that is carried in the jet stream directly to the entire wesern coast - and over the country
SOMEONE has to get this in the MSM - past the powers that are keeping the lid on it, for monetary/power reasons. Do yout research - this is just one video.
The whole damn world should be on this - not leaving it up tho the totally inefficient/duplicit company in Japan.
Prayers for your health.
May God cradle you in His healing hands.
Noel Sheppard has been a writer and editor at “NewsBusters” for many years.
In my opinion, he is the best writer in the country on the subject of left wing MSM bias.
You are in my prayers. I was diagnosed in June of 2013 with stage 3 colon cancer. After six months of chemo - scans and blood-work show no signs of the disease. I go back in April for more tests. Chemo is not even close to fun. Early on, I was given two pieces of advice from a veteran. He told me to stay as active as possible - even on those days when I didn’t feel like doing anything and to drink lots of fluids. I tried to do both and I think it helped. Then again, you’ll get all kinds of advice... That said, you are in my prayers.
Prayers up for Mr Sheppard. He’s one of the good guys.
Something about Colon Cancer:
Another Humorous Essay
Enjoyed your humorous essay. :-)
I was age 46 at diagnosis. There were a few other patients close to my age, and we used to feel so sorry for the patients in their 20’s and 30’s. Then, one day, a teenage boy came into the treatment center. He was so sweet and looked so hopeful. I hope he is OK.