Democratic Party McHenry County Coroner candidate Dave Bachmann is telling how his experience with cancer led him to decide to educate people about the disease in his campaign. Bachman has just been told by MD Anderson Cancer Center to come to Houston. He has an appointment in two days.
If you are just dipping into his story, here is Part 1 and Part 2.
There I was alone, at the World’s largest cancer center, surrounded by sick people.
When you arrive, you pick up your schedule and a map of the campus, its very pro-active.. The day before you see your doctor, you complete all your tests. I started at about 0800 in the morning, and they kept me going until 10pm that night. They do things there, that are not even on the books at a regular hospital.
The blessing in what I had come to call my “Field Trips” where all the wonderful stories of hope, and miracles I heard from fellow patients.
They send you to testing in groups, so we all sat around and told our story. I heard stories from people from all over the world.
Of how they were told to go home and die by their local hometown physician, and found themselves alive and well some years beyond their anticipated expiration date.
This gave me hope as I waited my turn. I had a total of 4 “Field Trips” from 2002 to 2003.
One man, in particular, just happened to be from Lake in the Hills. Mr Jack O’Connor.. a great man, bald headed from his treatments, but with the most infectious smile you ever saw. My being from Florida, and meeting Jack from back home, what were those chances?? Another Sign? Jack and I remained friends and have kept in touch since.
I met the following morning with my surgeon. I was told the tumor is bad, BUT, it appeared it had not spread yet and if I survived the 12 hour surgery, I had a good shot at making it. I was young, strong, a non smoker, I had a shot.
But he also warned me, the recovery is hell.
I had no choice, I had to do it. My doctor scheduled me for 2 weeks out. Instructed me to go home, relax, put things in order then get ready for war!
The one thing I really found out about cancer is… nobody else can fight your battle for you! Reality in its most raw form!
I did in fact survive the surgery obviously, but what was to follow could have never been anticipated. Tubes extending from my body, everywhere, no ability to eat food except via tube feeding, pain that was unbelievable, I was indeed in the fight of my life.
I remember walking through the Houston Airport, after my hospital release, with 3 tubes still protruding from my body. I met some wealthy folks there in Texas, oil people, in the rooms on my floor, and I was supplied Neiman Marcus and Marshall Field shopping bags, the type with the horse shoe shaped handle. I placed by “fluid bags” in these shopping bags to conceal my “carry on luggage.”
Although, since it was so soon after 9-11, I was seriously searched by Airport Security… I was in a wheel chair barely able to walk, and they made be get up, life up my shirt and reveal my “packages” content.. Well, needless to say, they believed me and let me through.
I was determined to fly home to Pensacola alone, and walk myself up that jet way when I arrived, so my kids could see their dad looking strong. That was my first accomplishment since the operation.
I did it!
My kids needed to see that.
The weeks that ensued where full of unexpected twists and turns.
I ended up back in the hospital on life supports just 12 days later, suffering from a serious pancreatic infection from the surgery. I was given blood transfusions and drugs I cannot ever pronounce the names of.
The pain was horrendous in my mid back…They had me on Morphine, phentonol patches and shots of Demoral and Phenergen at the same time…
Tomorrow you can read Part 4.