The past 12 months


The past 12 months

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Wow a lot has happened in the past 12 months. Some good, some bad, and some of it ok. We scheduled on a routine removal of a 4 centimeter polyp October 29th, 2013. The night before was a typical and predictable night before surgery no food or drink after 12:00 midnight. I was a smoker and I smoked my last cigarette that night. We went to bed thinking that it would be a quick in and out and life would return to normal.

On our way to the hospital for the surgery roughly 5:30 AM Suzy and I chatted. We had no idea what was around the corner. All I can say is Suzy is one of the strongest women I have ever known and will ever know and I am ecstatic that she is in my corner and in my world. After the surgery we discovered that they found cancer in my colon. They removed 22 lymph nodes and 21 of them were cancerous. There was more left inside the colon. However we still had no idea concerning how severe and impacted our lives would become.

The next 5 days in the hospital recovering from colon surgery the surgeon kept on saying; we did not catch it in time? I kept asking what that means. The surgeon would repeat himself saying we did not catch it in time. No one could tell me what that meant. Every time I have an appointment with him, he repeats that phrase and every time I ask what that means. During the hospital stay I did not know if I would be coming home from the hospital and I still do not know today what we did not catch it in time means. All I know is here am I today.

After being released from the hospital we were advised to meet with an oncologist. We were extremely lucky with the person we chose. The choice was random. We met with a local oncologist that we really liked. However every place we visited suggested that we get a second opinion. There is a cancer help facility that has volunteers and they pushed hard for us to visit a cancer institute in Tampa to receive a 2nd opinion. Finally after a few months of this particular place pushing for a 2nd opinion I said ok. Suzy and I set the appointment and sat with an oncologist from this center. This fellow sat in the middle of the room slouched in a chair and asked: what do you know. We told him, he said WRONG. He said you have a 5% chance of survival. He also made it perfectly clear that the oncologist was not doing what she should have been doing. He told us his diagnostics and what he would be doing differently than our present oncologist and if I expected to live I would be with him.

Obviously we had many questions and many more that could not be answered. Tic toc, tic toc, time ticking and slipping away. There was and is so many things that we want to do, know, and now we discovered there is not enough time for us to complete the bucket list. If you get anything out of this forget the bucket list for the future. Start fulfilling your bucket list now your future is now. When your decision is to wait the wait may never mature into the right choice.

We drove home that long lonely Thursday night, the hour and half seemed like an eternity. It was the longest drive I think we have ever made. Both Suzy and I cried most of the way home. We were not sure what we were going to do or how we would break this to our adult children. Then we decided to wait until the following Monday when we would be visiting with our original oncologist. Sometimes the best thing is to sit and relax before making decisions that you believe are life changing .

Friday afternoon while walking I had an epiphany that hit me square in the jaw. I started to analyze the original oncologist statements and this new person we visited on Thursday. When you are in that situation you reach for whatever is available to change the circumstances. However the circumstances did not need changed. My direction and beliefs went back to the original oncologist’s remarks and diagnostics. When I arrived home Suzy had the same idea. How could we possibly allow someone that did not know, understand, or was vested in our wellbeing adjust our thought process.

Finally Monday arrived, our tears were dry by now and emotionally we were spent. Our emotional stance dressed our bodies. I dislike when a customer seeks a second opinion from me. I can only imagine how a Doctor feels. I explained what I had done by getting second opinion. We have a fantastic oncologist. She looked at us and said I work for you. If I missed something I am more than happy to get you in a treatment that is better for you. We love her spirit, her professionalism, and her caring attitude. Her name is Janice Eakles and we trust her explicitly. Better yet we have entrusted her with my life which should explain everything that you may want to know about her ability.

Here is what we found: The second oncologist from Tampa was making a diagnostic on 3 month old data. Second he recommended a treatment that destroyed cells that were rebuilding the area of my colon that had undergone surgery. His prescribed treatment would have destroyed my colon and not allowed it to heal. Who knows what he meant by a 5% chance of living? This man tried to convince us that our world had stopped spinning and it was time for me to step off.

We have consumed a full year brawling all the way with aggressive treatments. Having a year under our belts is huge especially when I did not know if I would be coming home from the hospital. I did not know if I would be there for my granddaughter’s birthday in February, or Valentine’s Day, our kid’s birthday. It has been an extremely tough year for Suzy and me. You know what, we made it and now are looking forward to next year. We forgot a major force in our lives and that is God. When it is our time it is our time decided by God and no man has control over our destination and will not determine time. Through faith our strength and resolve became so strong and has led us to where we stand today. We are now so much better prepared for the future. We have discovered that we and more specifically myself am ready and ok with the end. However at this time I am not ready and have more to do.

Over the past 12 months I have noticed my tolerance of people and their stupid remarks has dropped considerably. I cannot believe how many people try to reduce things to the ridiculous which helps no one and is of no value. What each person requires are people that surround them that add value and are valuable to the growth and wisdom that is necessary to live each day. I am no longer interested in how a person reacts when they should sit back and respond. I no longer am tolerant of people who see the same results yet they continue to repeat the same activates then deny that another idea or concept will not work in their circumstance. Stop being afraid to accept change especially when change is the exact answer to your circumstances. The problem is whether you change or not is your choice and it is amazing how badly some people choose.

What is amazing is we do not know when the end is near. We can speculate but then again why would you want to know? There is too much to share especially the events that have happened in everyone’s life to date is more exciting than discussing the things you may or may not have the ability to experience. Decide to live each day as if it were your last. Express gratitude by professing your faith in God, articulating how valuable and important your family is to you and the unconditional love that surrounds the family. Then lastly to have continued gratefulness for the people that encircle you. It is extremely important to remove all obstacles and negative people from immediate environment. There is absolutely no reason or rhyme why you should endure people that are not happy or joyful.

Richard Hilliard
Practice Better Business

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Posted on October 29, 2014, in How to sell plumbing, HVAC sales, Life, Living Life, plumbing sales, Selling Plumbing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Quite a sobering story, Richard. There is nothing anyone can say that will make anything different, or better. Trite remarks are just that; trite.

    I agree with your thinking that one never knows when the end will come. It will for all of us. For some it will be sudden and unexpected. For others it will be long, slow, and painful. And for yet more it will be after a slow and natural decline. We can never be sure so it makes no sense to spend a whole lot of time thinking about it.

    Like you said, live each day as if it is your last for you never know. It might be.

    Cheers,
    Marc

  2. Richard, thank you for sharing a very personal story and putting a human touch on a sterile subject many will not talk about. Have a great weekend.
    Robert

    • Robert thank you. You are so right many people believe that they must shut down and keep this to themselves. I mm here to shout that no one of has to live this alone. We need to educate people that are not experiencing this illness to understand that life is joyful.

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