The First Time I Died

Posted: November 9, 2020 in Humour

It is no secret that for the past 10 weeks or so my family and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. Before I went into the hospital but after my initial diagnosis, we decided that we would share the experience, good and bad, as a way to both chronicle the journey and with the hope that perhaps it may help someone else along the way who was on their own personal health journey.

I have been humbled by the plethora of messages during this time from many friends and loved ones who shared their own experiences with me. So many have suffered in silence. I am so blessed to have had such support. Others have had equal to non existent support during their ordeals, for a variety of reasons. My wife told me going into this something which became an important soundbite… she told me to accept the help when offered despite being inclined to just lay low. It turns out I needed a lot more help than I ever imagined.

This all started when they found a fist sized tumor in my colon. My doctor uttered the word ‘cancer’ in a sentence to me ABOUT me for the first time. I was numb. What followed was two weeks of preparation for a surgery that by all accounts should have seen me in and out of the hospital in at most 7 days. But I have since learned that not everything goes as planned. Years of being on the go, not paying attention to nutrition, and ignoring signs that clearly pointed out that I was unwell led to a confluence of health emergencies that would quite literally kill me.

Everything had gone as planned with the surgery. All looked promising. The doctor was able to remove a 15 inch section of my colon which contained the cancer, and luckily it turned out that the cancer had not spread, sparing me much of the after treatment so many must endure. I was mending. I went to sleep one night knowing that the worst was over.

I woke in a confused state of lights, yelling and screaming (that was me) and trying to yank tubes coming out of various parts of my body. I had to be restrained. I was delirious. I thought everyone around me was an alien out to kill me, everyone except Anne, who was there trying to hide her obvious concern. I was in CCU, and for 2 days this state of confusion and paranoia remained, a by-product of the medications I was being fed to save my life. It turns out that while I went to sleep a staples had come out in my colon and I was going septic. They had to rush me to emergency surgery, had to repair the leak, and somehow deal with what had leaked out. We had recently re-done our wills and I had a DNR (do not resuscitate) order for me. While this was happening I flat lined, I was for all intents and purposes dead. Anne was there, my children waiting close by, and was told to say their goodbyes. A friend of hers was a nurse on duty and told her we should at least try to resuscitate. Anne agreed, thank God, and they saved my life.

What a confusing period of time. Without the love and support I received from my family I would be in an urn. You cannot imagine how grateful I am that they took the chance to save me. What happened for the next 7 weeks was a transformation of my mind, body, and soul. I have had to retire and close my business. We have moved things about to facilitate this so that we can survive financially. My outlook on life has been totally changed. I am, I think, much better for it, I have some time to go before I am healed…..but at least I will heal.

So my message in all this? If you can just hang on, do so. Leaving this world is easier for you than those who still need and want you around. Be grateful EVERY DAY. Savor life like it is….a tremendous gift given to us. Plan as much as you can without making it an obsession….but PLAN. And accept and reflect the love which surrounds us.

From the bottom of my heart, thanks each and every one of you who sent me light, love, encouragement and energy. I will never forget your kindness

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