My health is such that any operation is very risky. So, I must face the possibility that I could die in ten seconds, or ten months, or maybe longer. I have faced this.
I do not mourn for myself, for I have had a full, successful rewarding life. I mourn for the loss of my husband who I love more than life, and have for 41 years. Our 7th wedding anniversary is this month. I have been his sword and shield in this life because he is a gentle soul whereas, I am a warrior in many respects. For example, a landscaper tried to screw us over. Jack would have let it go. I filed a lawsuit and they settled out of court. There are many bigots in this world who have beaten and killed gay people for being gay. As former law enforcement, I carry a loaded semi-automatic everywhere we go. I pity the fool who tried to harm me or my beloved. Their day will not end as it began.
There are more serious situations that occurred in our lives that I have championed him and usually won. The outcome was never in doubt. But in dying, I will not be able to be there for him, to protect him, to love him, and be loved by him.
I have turned over all the rights to my books to him already. It wasn't necessary as the books would pass to him as part of the estate, but I wanted that to be one less possible problem for him as probate takes forever sometimes. I have also taken other steps to ease the transition. We already have burial arrangements made and paid for...a Mausoleum. I will go into our "slot" first, and then the tomb will be reopened and he will come in after me into the same slot. I'm told we will be placed head to head. So, he will rejoin me in death, as it should be as our lives have been lived. My mother was placed in her space less than a year ago and is two over from where we will be.
Outside the building is a marble bench that has stood for six or seven years, that the cemetery had build in my remembrance because they were honored that i chose their cemetery to be buried in with my husband. I was touched then and continue to be touched. This bench was erected in my real name in which I have done much good. They would never erect such a thing to a gay male fiction writer after all.
At first having just received this news 4 days ago, I was in shock as it was the last thing I expected. But this is important to whoever is reading this: I, the patient, demanded that an x-ray be done of my chest because I felt something wasn't right. My doctor assured me this wasn't necessary. I said it was. He did as I requested.
On that x-ray, what is called "A single pulmonary nodule," was found. At my age, it has a 50/50 chance of being cancerous. Another possibility is that it is caused by long term inflammation in the body. I have had that. Fine. My primary doctor said, we'll take another shot of it in a couple of months to see if it has grown.
I mentioned this to my cardiologist two days later and he flipped out. He said, "No you won't. You'll have a cat scan TODAY and if I have to make calls, I will. Go back to your primary and tell him I said, today."
I did as he said. My primary did as he said. I had a CT that very day, or "STAT."
Well, no one including me was prepared for the results. The original problem was the very least of what was found. The CT confirmed the original spot which is probably NOT cancerous. However, the CT found a nodule on my Thyroid. Cancer? We don't know yet, it's been so sudden, doctors have to respond as to how to treat that. They need to determine if it is cancerous which unlike the one in my lung, is not the result of inflammation. It is either cancer, or not cancer. Either way it must be treated.
Then the scary discovery. There on the CT was an Ascending Aortic Aneurysm, NOT there in January of this year. In fact, none of the above was present in my body only ten months ago. The Aneurysm is a very fatal condition.
My point is telling all this, is this: YOU, are primarily responsible for your own health and life. You see, once before, about 7 years ago, I didn't feel right and went to a different Cardiologist in Pennsylvania. I had a stress test, which came back rosy. No problem, everything looked wonderful. On a hunch, my cardio guy ordered a heart Catheterization. This is where the doctor enters the artery system of your heart and basically looks around to make sure there are no issues.
I wasn't sedated yet, and I heard the Doctor say just before they put me out, "Archbishop, we have a problem."
When I woke up, I was informed that they had found this same main artery, 89% blocked by plaque. That means blood was flowing through only 11% of the main artery of my heart system. I could have had a massive heart attack at any moment and be dead. They call it the "widow maker artery," because no one survives that heart attack.
I listened to my body, it told me, somethings up. The stress test was worthless. But the Cardiologist wasn't. I listen to him. Now, a different Cardiologist, that I think just about walks on water, intervened again, and we made frightening discoveries that would have gone undiagnosed for another two months if I had stopped with my primary doctor.
My primary doctor upon seeing the CT results said, "You are a ticking time bomb." Thanks Doc.
I have another appointment with the Cardio guy in two days. How long I have left to live, I don't know. Seconds, days, months, or years if they can figure out how to operate on the issue without killing me on the table. My final point is also this: No one gets out of this life alive. I've had to do some very adult things in the last 72 hours, cried a lot over losing my husband, and recovered my determination to live for as long as I have with my husband.
This Friday night, I will attend a Ricky Martin Concert, in front row seats as a VIP. This is a man that I have followed, loved, and lusted for, for countless years. When down, I listen to Ricky and I am uplifted. Music does that for me. Seeing Ricky in person, will make my spirit soar when I can look at him and witness his talent in person. I will be happy and my husband will be next to me. What more could I ask for at that moment?
Listen to your bodies and be firm in your medical care. Doctors are not God, they are not perfect and they make mistakes. If YOU don't look after yourself, no one else will.