Monday morning, January twenty sixth, 2015 Daniel was scheduled for a routine umbilical hernia surgery in Charlotte . We checked in at reception and were quickly called back to pre-op. I could watch his progress on a television screen in the waiting room and follow his assigned number to determine when he went into surgery and when he came out and was in post op.
An hour later than I expected, the surgeon enters a small private room that I have been moved to. He quickly and efficiently states, “The news is not good. Daniel’s hernia is in fact fixed but we ran into some problems when we went in.” The surgeon stated that Daniel had several masses in his stomach. He was unsure what to make of it but upon initial report from the pathologist they believe it to be Mesothelioma.” He asked me if Daniel had ever had any asbestos exposure. “I’m not sure.” I don’t know what to say. I am dumbfounded. I cannot find my voice. “I’m so sorry," says the surgeon. Sorry for what, I want to scream! What the hell are you talking about? But instead I say “thank you,” keeping my composure, as I am known to do.
Daniel was admitted to stay overnight and I was finally able to see him around noon. When I first saw him I wanted to burst into tears but I sat down on his bed and held his hand. He smiled. A loopy smile and drifted to sleep. Sometime later when he was more alert I sat with him and explained what had been told to me. He didn’t believe me. He didn’t think I was lying but he didn’t believe he had cancer.
January 27, 2015
The oncologist and the surgeon enter our room together at the hospital. It has been a very long night but we are both anxious for some news. The oncologist introduces himself and quickly reports that he's not positive it's Mesothelioma. He states the rarity of this disease affecting someone Daniel’s age and the rarity of the cancer in general. He suggests we wait for the final pathology report to determine what is going on and then we make a plan from there.
When we arrive in the waiting room at the Cancer Center we are surrounded by people that are at least 60 years of age. Final pathology reports show that we did in fact get an accurate diagnosis last week. Daniel does have Peritoneal Mesothelioma.
He has a large conglomerate mass (11 cm) in the stomach on the left hand side and it has spread across his stomach lining. He has two smaller tumors on the right side. The oncologist reports many changes in his omentum and states that this is a very aggressive form of cancer.
“We need to try to get everything to slow down and control it. The only way to do that is with an aggressive combination of chemotherapy drugs. I recommend we start right away.” Daniel started chemotherapy on his 33rd birthday.
What Can You Do?
What I Wish I Had Done