Okay, this one is a pretty mind-blowing post for me, and I’m still not sure where to put everything. These are the facts as I know them, and knowing them for less than 3 hours is pretty numbing still. A bunch of you know I spent more than 20 years with the LAFD. Okay, I’ll admit it was 20 years and ONE DAY more, but still. I’m dang proud of that one day. After, I worked for the Avalon Harbor Department for 5 years as a harbor patrol officer, and then went on up to Santa Barbara and worked for them for another 5 years doing similar work. Loved every minute. After that, I was DONE! I spent about 6 months preparing Willow to head south, and south I went. Most of you have read of those adventures. Loved every minute of that, too!
I’ve been home about 5-6 months, and noticed recently my breathing was not quite right. Some of you know I spent a few weeks working at The Pile, NYC, immediately after 9/11. When I got home from New York, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, and went for care. Fortunately, I have been followed since then, most recently with the good folks at UCLA. I’ve been doing quite well, and been seeing my doc every 6 months for checks and follow ups. My doctor transferred to Texas and Rice University, so in August I was seen once by an overwhelmed young doctor from the East Coast. He conferred with his attending, and decided to add another special inhaler to the mix. I was to follow up again in October, having a pulmonary functions test first.
Shortly after the August appointment, I began coughing alot, and started to wheeze. The inhalers just didn’t cut it. I called my young physician and explained that with the cough, I was having right-sided chest pain. He shrugged it off to musculoskeletal pain, and still didn’t want to see me until October. Okay. My wheezing progressed, and I denied it, not wanting to clutter an ER with just another asthmatic. Today, I couldn’t hack it anymore, and went on in. They were wonderful, and after 2 nebulizer treatments, I was sent off for a chest xray. I had a third nebulizer treatment and some ‘roids while the xray cooked. An hour or so later, feeling much better, I sheepishly asked if I could go home. The great ER doc came in and said, “Tell me more about your chest, and when was your last chest xray?” I answered my last film was when I got the plate put in my arm after I busted my humerus in 2010, and it was normal. Well, it wadn’t no’mal no mo’. So, I was set up for a CT, and that confirmed it. My right lung is just full of a crappy, big ol’ tumor, and it kinda sucks.
I’m beginning to process it all right now, and have the worst headache doing so. I’ll have a bronchoscopy tomorrow or Thursday, and since the tumor’s compressing my right mainstem bronchus, it should be pretty easy to get a biopsy at the same time. With that information, it should speed up the determination of where I go next. Whew! Yeah, I’ve cried a little, haven’t told my mom, and shrugged my shoulders at the wonder of it all.
A new and different adventure is in front of me now, and I think I’ll just approach it as I did with sailing:
GO FOR IT! Or, with my favorite paddling motto, SHADDUP AND PADDLE!! Don’t worry, I don’t give in that easy…
And if anyone doubted it, I love you all. Keep doing good things!!! (I’ll let you know what happens…)