Thursday, October 4, 2018

MY HEALTH STATUS-HURRY UP AND WAIT

May/2018 I attend my regularly scheduled biyearly wellness appointment to monitor my colon-rectal cancer.Although I feel well, a blood test to detect cancer is elevated.The test known to have many false positives,is of concern. The decision, is to repeat the test in 4 weeks.
Emotionally I am convinced I have cancer and a limited life span. On the outside I remain calm, continue to practice my craft,while living  my daily life as best as I can.
I take stock.Facing these circumstances,one's priorities become readily apparent.. Life is all about one's relationships.
I travel to B.C. to partake in an important family tradition , namely my grandchidrens' Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Afterwards I take my entire family to the Okanogan,where my spirit is re-newed, spending time with my 6 grandchildren.
I arrive home filled with intense  fear and anxiety.The test is repeated, with the same results. My health providers decide to take a proactive approach by ordering a series of intense scans.
 Unfortunately, I am  an informed patient and realize they are looking to see if the cancer has spread. Suddenly, this crisis is all to real.
My anxiety soars.My body hurts everywhere.I try my best to maintain my dignity and live a normal life knowing it could end at any time.
What is it like to have a PET(Positive Emission Tomography)scan?You enter the hospital attached to the Ottawa Cancer Centre like a man condemned to the gallows.Outwardly I appear calm and in control, inwardly I am fighting negative thoughts,fears and anxiety.
 People react differently to stress. Some panic,others internalize their stress.Over the years, my stress tends to follow a pattern.Approximately 2 days before the event my anxiety reaches a crescendo. Racing thoughts,inability to concentrate,irritability and emotional liability are experienced
To combat the stress,I follow a routine that has been very helpful to me over the years.,Firstly,I talk about it to trusted friends and family, I exercise intensely, and I pray to a higher power .
 I arrive at the hospital,ask for directions, and quickly find my way to the waiting room.At precisely the scheduled time a male technician accompanies me to the preparation room.
The technician,a warm,kind and considerate man in his 40's,explains the procedure,verifies my identification and proceeds with the length preparation for the PET scan.The preparations involves drinking a radio-active cocktail, monitoring blood sugar levels and introducing a dye into the bloodstream.Despite my outward calmness  I feel jittery,and I accidentally knock over the cocktail. The technician reassures me all is well and helps to calm my nerves.
Exactly at the promised time,the technician places me on a table and repeats to me  the instructions of the PET scan. Essentially my task is to keep still while the machine moves over my entire body at times coming within inches of my head.
Having been the recipient of many scans I have learned how to cope with this procedure.I close my eyes and go to a happier place. For me that is on a beach with my grandchildren or a golf course where I shot my finest round.
 Finally the test is over. The technician indicates the picture are clear and after removing my Pick line I am free to go.As is my way, I engage the technician in polite conversation hoping to get a hint of the results.
I leave the hospital not knowing what will become of my life. The wait begins.
Unfortunately,unbeknownst to me the nurse and oncologist responsible for my care are both away on holidays.For over a month I do not hear the results of my test.Fortunately my personal physician received a copy of the test and to my great relief I remain cancer free.
However, there is a secondary problem with my prostate that needs further investigation..Today I learned that everything is OK., I feel blessed and grateful to begin my life anew.I intend to take full advantage of my good fortune and plan to make  the world a better place.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

TRAVELS WITH DR.DAVID

Recently I had the pleasure to fly to Vancouver to celebrate an important family event,namely the Bar-Bat Mitzvah of  my eldest grandchildren.
As most of you are aware,flying is no longer the elegant white gloved experience of our parents.Today, it has become a major hassle,from being exposed to an embarrassing and sometimes questionable body search,to being confined to a space fit for a child,while being encapsulated in a long mental cylinder,flying through space at 550 miles per hour.
 Upon reaching Vancouver, we made our way to a beautiful suite in a Victoria home,located in Point Grey, a tony enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean.That weekend we participated  in our family's simcha(joyous event) and bonded with family and friends.My grandchildrenn  did their zaidi(grandfather) proud as they performed the traditional Jewish ritual that marked their passage to adulthood.
 Following the simcha, I was fortunate to be able to take my entire family to a beautiful resort in the southern Okanagan town of Osoyoos. Here we did what  all families do.We ate,drank,swam,golfed and visited the  famous  wineries.It was a time for Zaidi to spend quality time with my fast growing grandchildren.
All too soon  we departed, each going our separate ways.For the third leg of our trip. my partner and I drove through Roger's and Kick Horse Pass and the majestic Rockies.The scenery, arguably the most scenic in the country, is a mosaic of snow capped mountains,lush pine forest, and glacial feed lakes that radiate beauty and tranquility.
The ever popular Banff and Lake Louise are visited by millions of international tourists each year.This year,due no doubt to Megan and Prince Harry,we met countless Brits,who are coming over in record numbers.
 However, my personal favourite ,was Lake Moraine,located some 15 kilometers from Lake Louise.This turquoise coloured glacial lake gets it's beautiful  colour as a result of being filtered by it's sedimentation Tranquil,with less pediatrician traffic, than it's more famous neighbour to the East.it was an opportunity to be in the mountains and to be one with nature.The purity of the mountain air is intoxicating.Hiking, the preferred mode of travel, is an experience boarding on nirvana. The fact that this scene appears on the back of the twenty Canadian bill,is testimony to it's beauty.
 After,reluctantly leaving the Rockies, we made are way to Calgary and after a short plane ride home,we felt refreshed and rejuvenated by our trip.
 .

Monday, May 14, 2018

TWO YEARS AGO

Friday,May6/2016,I went for a routine colonoscopy that dramatically changed my life. I was there because.a  friend ,whose daughter in law is a physician, had recommended he undergo a colonoscopy. Thinking that was good advice,I arranged to have one myself.
Thus, I found myself being wheeled into an operating room,where I was explained the procedure and given a mild sedative. The nurse, in good spirits ,knowing I was a P.hD.,explained I was getting the VIP service,and then promptly fluffed my pillow.
 The procedure was painless and proceededwithout incident. Little did I know what  awaited me. After I was taken to the recovery area ,I was told to dress and wait for the Doctor..When the Doctor arrived heasked me to follow him to his office. This was not good.
He told me there was a 50 percent chance thatI had colon rectal cancer. The results of the biopsy  would confirm or deny it. I knew then I had cancer.
 I was shocked. It felt like my whole life was flashing before me.Thoughts of death dominated.What to do,who to tell and how to cope seemed overwhelming.. I returned home,where alone, I no longer had to play the strong role. I let it out ,crying uncontrollably,for what seemed like minutes but was actually seconds.Somehow, I regained control and gradually begin to address the issues I faced.
 I contacted my support system, my family and friends,whom I had been there over the years. Many stood with me during my 2 year ordeal, however others whom I had expected to be there, simply went their own way.At a time of crisis you quickly learn who has your back. Surprising I met a number of compassionate and caring people,including a remarkable cadre of cancer healthcare professionals,whom I have the upmost respect, and I proudly call colleagues today.
 Secondly I utilized all of my personal and professional contacts to get the best medical advice possible, including  circulating my medical file to other cancer centers in Canada. .Although I choose to have my surgery and treatment in Ottawa I did not preclude the possibility of going elsewhere.
Thirdly I did my own due diligence. I spoke to friends,colleagues and any medical professional I respected. I researched colon-cancer on the internet and became very familiar with my options.
Looking  back 2 years, after having endured 2 operations,chemotherapy and 30 radiation sessions I am pleased  to report I am now cancer free.
Psychologically I am a changed person.As my eldest son, who recently went through a coronary by-pass surgery  says,"when you face your own immortality, ever day is a blessing".You know who and  what are your priorities in life.
As I continue to cope with the new limitations placed upon me,I remain grateful that I am able to live a full and meaningful life.




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MARCH 7/2018-My Health

Today I received the most positive news a survivor of colon-rectal cancer  can receive. Namely, my most recent CAT scan  was entirely clear.. To say I feel blessed and a sense of spiritual renewal is only to touch the extent of my joy and appreciation.  It has magnified my sense of gratitude and heightened my perception of the joys of life.
Yesterday for example I was able to go X-country skiing. Despite the less than stellar conditions, I was able to experience the terrain and river in  a new way. It felt very similar to the joy that one experiences when a child is born .
I am thankful for the tremendous support I have received from my partner,family and friends who have been there for me in so many ways as I dealt with a period of my life when the results of the CAT scan where not at all certain.
Today,10 days after my Cat Scan, I called my oncologist who had previously given me his private cell number.He answered immediately and told me he would get back to me latter in the day after he had a chance to review my file. Not 30 seconds later I received a call from him confirming the CAT scan was clear. My response"Thank you for making my day: His response " You made my day."
I thanked him profusely for his professional and his most compassion care. It is Doctors like Dr.C.who are a credit to their profession.I feel blessed over the past 2 years to have been seen by highly competent surgeons,GI specialists and various oncologists all of whom have demonstrated  a high degree of skill but perhaps equally as important a sense of compassion,empathy and kindness. I wiil forever be indebted to them.
 Having just recently received this good news how did I sustain myself during this time of uncertainty.Firstly I learned to let go of control and have faith in a higher power. Whatever your personal beliefs or fundamental values it helps to cope when you acknowledge there is a plan for you. Thus in my case I did not believe that I had completed my life mission to help others.
 Secondly, I reached out to others in my community and received a tremendous outpouring of love,emotional and spiritual support.In deciding ,to go public with my illness, I received encouragement,information and support that helped me understand the process  and procedures I needed to cope with. My decision to work through my treatment was the right decision for me as it allowed me a sense of normalcy and structure . It also allowed me to cope by listening and helping others thereby distracting me from my issues.
Thirdly it is important to re-visit your life plans and to make new goals ,consistent with your values and limitations.Facing death, one quickly learns what and who is important to you.Put your energy into the people and issues that matter most to you.
I remain thankful and blessed to be able to continue my life mission to help and emotionally heal my clients.
G-d Bless
DavidNozick