California, Chemo, Cough discussed on OC Talk Radio
Of light. I bet you said a couple of years ago. You've been there right so it's been employers. Did it take you a while to unwind from the crazies busy southern California madness or do you right away no I noticed it I notice it right away and you know I would frequently travel back and forth for work and I noticed when I would be an Oregon I would have that mindset. It'd be like okay. This is a much calmer way of life. And then when I came back to California especially when asked to drive on the way out of my way when I'm in California I I'm California Oregon Oregon. It's like turning on that different okay. Road rage right. I'd WANNA say road rage but that's it is kinda crazy out here and I would know I've only Vinh from here so I I'm sure it's different somewhere else. Yes we'll we'll tell us a little bit about your cancer journey. If you don't mind I know that you have quite a story story that I want everyone to hear so I do so when I was I was actually eighteen. I noticed That there was something wrong with like this spot on my face and I went to the doctor and they told me I was being self conscious and that there was nothing wrong so I believe leave them but then three years later the same spot was still there and it was bothering me and I felt like it was growing so I went I had actually started started my junior year. it's no mistake university and I went to a doctor there and I said look this has been bothering me for three years and no L. and seems to think anything is wrong but that doctor said well. I don't think there's anything wrong either but will biopsy. We'll see what we're dealing with. So Oh he biopsy that and called me and said you have a really rare form of melanoma and most people think of melanoma as a You a lot of exposure to the sun right you can actually get it from no exposure to the sun which was what mine was and it was A cancer that I usually affected sixty year old men a new twenty one. At this time I was twenty one but they original tumor showed up when I was eighteen. So there was like a a thousandth anthem percent that I was going to get this kind of cancer. So at that time I had surgery to remove it and then it was pretty deep because it had been growing for three years so whereabouts whereabouts. You said it was on your face. Whereabouts on your face was it? It was like my cheekbone cheekbone sheikh bone so it was deep Left a really big scar and then after that They wanted to do radiation and they said that if they did that it would most likely never come back so I said okay. I did radiation kind of show. The head and neck and How many readers and treatments did you have to go through I? I did a month of the high dose radiation. Okay Yeah and I lost only here on half of my head. So I- Shave my whole head at that time. 'cause it's ridiculous to have one full side of hairier side rocker so I shaved my head and And then then I was fine and how I mean and you're in college you're going through this. I can't even imagine what this was like to go through it at such a young age. When you're thinking of all you're thinking about is your future at this point I mean how was that for you? It was definitely hard and like I said I had transferred. My family was in southern California and I was in northern California so it was really hard. I knew I didn't know anybody at my new school cool but luckily I had a a wonderful roommate and then when I was sick she would like make me dinner and they were always there for me so that was great having not little family up there and then my family would come when they could and My mom took me to the surgery and I had friends. That would take me to the radiation appointments so I built a little community lady up there and were you able to study. I mean were you having You know to take a hiatus from classes or I think I took an incomplete in one class but I finished it within spend two months I I went to a very small school so my professors were amazing. Actually had one that would she's like if you can't get to class just do the reading and I will come to your house like after we can discuss what you read and you can submit your stuff that way but I I didn't miss too much Too many of my classes and that's good because I mean going through that kind of treatment. You never know how. It's you hear so many different stories of it didn't really affect me or you know I just couldn't even get out of bed so so I'm glad to hear that you were able to rest but you could still kind of function to do you need to do so. Yeah it was I mean it was hard but it wasn't that hard. Yeah yeah well and then fast forwarding. So this was your twenty-one you go through radiation treatments they tell you that it's not gonna come back and then at that point what happened so They said like once you hit the five year cancer free mark. You're you're really good and once you hit the ten year mark like no way. It's coming back so I hit. I hit the ten year Mark Mark and then I noticed in my jaw some smiling and it was hurting really bad. So I I went to the doctor and Doctor told me There's no way it's your cancer. I would know if your cancer where back it's been ten years. It's just not possible that you saw previously no because I had moved back act to southern California at that point so this was a new doctor. Um so I said okay You know I'm going to trust you know your years of experience. France of course so He told me that it was probably Like a secondary infection you can. I guess you can get that from the radiation treatment. So ooh he gave me antibiotics and I think two or three weeks. Later at the the mass wasn't getting any smaller and it was still hurting a lot so I I called him. I said I need you to order a scan The antibiotics didn't work. This thing is still here. It's growing and I. I need to know what this is so he ordered it and then he called me and said you're right. There is a a mass there. We need to do a biopsy so I think a couple of weeks later They did a biopsy and then They called me and confirmed that it was a recurrence of the cancer. And I when I got that call. I remember exactly where I was and I just dropped to the floor and started crying. 'cause I I was in the medical field at that point and I knew that if it comes back and just the way that it came back that it wasn't good news right so They said we're going to do. Do we have to do like a radical surgery on your face and what they wanted to do. Let's take everything off of my face. They were going to take the skin the bone. So he's basically GonNa be a skeleton on the left side and I asked the doctor. I said if you do that can you one hundred percent guarantee that it will never come back again. And he's like I can't guarantee not that so I said I want you to preserve everything that you can. So they did the second surgery and they. They took out the tumor. It was huge huge and it grew. It grew really fast the second time around the first time it grew really slow but when it came back it was just like taking over half of my face. Oh Gosh I mean were. Are you getting headaches. And having that in your child and your face were you able to see. I mean we have another issues at that point. I wasn't and one of the things they found When they did the surgery The doctor said I don't know how you've been blinking. Because the tumor had completely wrapped around the the nerve that was leading waiting to my eyes and they had to take that out and they had to Put an implant in my eyelids so I can blink so I can't blink on my own. I have a gold bar in my eyelid. So it was you know we we all knew it was bad but once they got in there and you know saw everything that was going on it was like kind of even worse than they thought. Thought it was about a twelve hour surgery but he preserved everything he could. He was an amazing doctor. He listened to what I wanted even though all of his colleagues were saying. No you just need to take everything. Yeah so you knew you knew what you wanted to. You knew what you needed. It's the you spoke up and said let's do it this way and what I feel comfortable with. I'm glad they lessened so then after the surgery. They decided to do Chemo. So I did Chemo for a year. The first month you go like four four hours a day five days a week for an infusion and that was just miserable miserable and I had a bad reaction the first day and a couple other times I got it. It's like having like the worst case of the flu for a whole year and then the next eleven months. Give yourself shot three times a week so I did that but coming up on the end of the Chemo I would. I developed a cough and I'm the respiratory therapist so I knew I knew something was with miss so I went to my oncologist at the time. I said Hey I have this cough. And they're like yeah you you know not. It's probably nothing Mike Okay. So I finished the Chemo and I was fine for two months and then It came back in my lungs. The cancer the cancer did after. I stopped the Chemo. Came back In both my lungs and addition on the cancer was gone from your FA- from the spot on your face. It was gone from my face but it had metastasized alongs bilateral lungs and they and this was after basically a year and a year of Chemo. And then the eleven months of doing the shots this is after two years. Yeah wow so it came back to long so the cough was actually because I had tumors in my lungs long and they. They told me okay. We're going to start you on this New Treatment and you're going to be coming. You know this many days a week I and I said Okay Great I like another opinion so Please give me your thoughts on on everything we've talked about. So I got the notes and the doctor didn't tell me see that he was scheduling me for Palliative Chemo. which basically means? They're going to make you comfortable until you pass a heathen me. He already given up on you before. He didn't tell me that I was dying. He thought that I was dying. Any he wrote that I had a poor prognosis and your respiratory therapist so you we know the lungs you know Wow Yeah so. At that point. I made a decision and I said I'm I'm not staying with this company anymore. I'm going to go find somebody that will help me so I went to a new doctor My sister is an oncology nurse and she asked her doctor Franz where should she go like. She's lost all hope to somebody that will help her. So they sent me to the the right guy and he he said well. There's this new treatment and we'll start you on that a- and I said okay so they started me on it and It was rough. How how are you emotionally feeling at this point? I mean I can't even imagine it's like a treatment here treatment. Let's try this. Let's try that. I can't imagine how it's you know. It was just really hard and I I remember before each treatment would start well off. I think it may be after the second treatment I was like I'm not doing anything else. I'm tired of ceiling sick Nothing is working like. Just please stop but I didn't I don't I don't know why didn't you knew so.