Cancer Wages War (Part 1: Celebrating Three Years of Victory)
The bleeding started in January.
I didn’t say anything to my wife, Jen, didn’t say anything to anyone because I thought it was some kind of intestinal bug, nothing more. No big deal. But after two weeks with no letting up I gave up on the bug idea and presumed hemorrhoids to be the cause of the blood in my stool. It couldn’t be anything more serious, it couldn’t.
But weeks passed and the bleeding only worsened. Still I said nothing. Yes, I Googled rectal bleeding and read the sites stating it was a symptom of colon cancer but come on, I mean, I was only thirty-five and all the sites said the at-risk group was over fifty. And besides, there was no history of cancer on either side of my family. It couldn’t be cancer. Impossible.
Two more weeks passed and the bleeding had gotten so bad I was passing blood clots. Finally I said something to Jen. As any dutiful wife would, she ordered me to make an appointment to see the family doctor.
That was my first experience with a rectal exam. I didn’t like it. The doctor said he didn’t feel anything abnormal but didn’t see any hemorrhoids either. He mentioned colitis, maybe irritable bowel syndrome, gave me an order for a colonoscopy just to be safe.
I wanted to convince myself it wasn’t cancer, couldn’t be, but there was a nagging voice in my head that kept saying, “Yes, it could be.” I pushed it aside. No, it couldn’t. I was only thirty-five. Had a wife and three precious daughters. It couldn’t be.
The day before the colonoscopy I drank the prep and marveled that anything could taste so bad. It was like drinking bleach with a hint of lemon. My stomach rebelled and three-quarters of the way through the gallon I almost vomited. The rest of the evening was spent making hurried trips to the bathroom.
I went in to the procedure fully expecting, hoping, it would be nothing more than a case of colitis. Treatable. No big deal. When I awoke, still in that groggy, foggy, otherworld of anesthesia I remember the doctor coming out and saying, “Michael, you really surprised us in there.” He held up a full color photo of a mass the size of a golf ball. The thing looked like some mutant alien from a bad Star Trek episode. He said they couldn’t be sure if it was malignant or not but they did a biopsy and we should get the results in a couple of days.
From that moment on I knew it was cancer. How could it not be? The thing looked monstrous, malevolent . . . evil. Just like I’d ever imagined cancer looking.
From March 18, 2008
And how do I handle all this? I don’t. I give it to God to handle. This one’s much bigger than me. You see, I realize full well that God knows my body better than anyone, and I know full well that nothing catches Him by surprise. Psalm 139 says God is an author. He wrote a story titled The Life and Times of Michael William Dellosso where every day–every triumph, every failure, every hardship, every mundane thing–is chronicled and detailed. And He wrote this book before I was even born!