Individual
Daniel
United States
Story

People often ask me how I found out I had cancer. The answer is that I felt a sharp pain close to my bladder when I sneezed one day as I was driving to work back in March of last year. I thought it was odd because I didn't feel the need to go to the bathroom so I ignored it convincing myself that maybe I had pulled a muscle while lifting weights. It happened again about two weeks later and I again ignored it. It wasn't until July rolled around and I took my son in for a physical that was required for band. Since our pediatrician and our family doctor are in the same building, I decided to set up an appointment so that I could get a physical myself and mention this pain that I had been feeling. On the day of the appointment my doctor checked me for a hernia and a bladder infection which both came up negative. I remember him asking me so casually how I felt about getting a CT scan done to see if something would show up to offer a clue as to what might be causing the discomfort. He set up a follow-up appointment for the following week. Before the week was over I went in because I couldn't wait any longer. I wanted to know if anything had come up on the CT scan. The appointment went fine, he went over my blood work and reassured me that everything looked great and was within normal ranges. His demeanor quickly changed once he opened up the radiologist report on his laptop. I remember his face getting very serious as he read the CT scan radiologist report. I could tell that whatever he was reading he was very disturbed by it. I asked him if it was something bad and he turned around and rotated the laptop so that I could see what he was reading. He proceeded to explain to me that the CT scan showed that I had a large mass in my abdominal cavity. The radiologist suspected that it was a tumor of some sort, possibly malignant and that it had spread from somewhere else. There were also several spots on my liver to which he suspected had already spread from that large mass. I could tell my doctor was extremely concerned as he explained to me what was going on. I remember him telling me that "We have to work you up fast. Let me make a phone call to an oncologist so we can see what we need to do." A five-minute wait turned into 30 minutes as I was asked to move from the patient room to the back room where x-rays are done. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity. 20 minutes later he came back only to tell me that he was not able to get a hold of the oncologist. He was gone for the day. At that point, he suggested that I be admitted to the hospital because I needed to work up as fast as possible. It was 5:30 pm by then and I was so scared. I thought about it and I told him no, that I would rather go home and wait for him to call me in the morning to let me know what the next step was. I was afraid for my life. I was thinking the worst. I was wondering if I was terminal. I was wondering if I was going to be told that I only had weeks or months to live. My immediate thought was that I just wanted to go home and spend one more night at home because come the next day I may never come home again. My world and my life were literally falling apart in front of my eyes. I had never been so scared in my life. I honestly thought I was going to be told that I was going to die. How would I tell my family, what would I tell my family so as not to worry them? I was alone at the doctor's office, I was scared, worried, I was wondering if I would even make it to the end of the year. I had no idea what I was up against but I knew it was not good. I remember walking out of the doctor's office and sitting in my car for around 20 minutes trying to make sense of the whole situation. The next morning began a new chapter in my life. It was the beginning of many doctor appointments, needle biopsies, laparoscopic biopsies, more CT scans and countless other exams and tests. It was agonizing to wait for results after each test and exam. The average wait time to get results was a week. Little by little the pieces of the puzzle started to fit in and the picture that was coming together was not a good one. My doctors here told me that it looked like I had a very rare form of cancer of which each doctor had only seen 2 cases each in their medical careers. Their advice to me was to seek medical care and treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. They were not experienced enough to treat me locally. That started my journey at MD Anderson Cancer Center on September 26, 2018. 

Family, friend & supporter
Image
Paul Kelsin and his mother
Paul Kelsin
Peru
Read story
Individual
Image
Katrin and her daughter
Katrin
Germany
Read story
Individual
Image
Lydia Story
Lydia
United States
Read story