People have asked me how this all started. So, this is how it all started, and I feel I have been blessed by GOD that I had the Appendix cancer. On Nov 01, I was in San Diego, CA with my oldest son Adam. We were there to talk marketing with a internet marketing guru Frank Klesitz w/ Vyral Marketing. We just were getting started with our mastermind about 2:00pm in the afternoon, I took 1 sip of a drink they got me from 7-11 just down stairs and all of a sudden I felt a small pain on the right side, below my belt line. I thought this was strange, maybe because I haven’t had this drink for some time. This pain continued onto the next day. We continued to meet back up on Sat afternoon all day as well. We went to dinner, and I could tell my appetite was starting to decrease, so I just had a very small dinner.
We came home that following morning, on Sunday, I told my wife what was going on and that I had this pain in my side. We didn’t think much about it and hoped it would eventually go away. This went on all week. I did celery juice in the morning, took Alka Seltzer which both seemed to help a little, but it was still there. The following Sat (11/09) my wife was done with me complaining about my stomach pains and was done with me not listening about going to the doctor. So, on Sunday 11/10 She asked me to at least call the TeleHealth doctor. I finally relented and called them. They told me it didn’t sound like I had the flu, which is what we thought was going on, and told me I needed to be seen by a doctor and get some bloodwork done. I decided to skip church and go to InstaCare. That was a JOKE, about 90 minutes later they sent me home and said they were not sure, it was just normal stomach pains.
Nov 12 – The pains continued. On Tue I always go to lunch with my wife. She came to pick me up and couldn’t believe how sick and worn out I looked. We went to lunch and Andrea mentioned that she thought I was having an appendicitis. After lunch she would not allow me to go back to work. She said “you’re not going back to work” and so I asked her where we were going? She ended up taking me Back to InstaCare were I went just 2 days earlier, this time she was with me and made sure she asked questions, She wanted answers to what was going on with me. After waiting an hour, the doctor came and Andrea said she thought I had appendicitis. He agreed but said, unfortunately, they didn’t have the right equipment to check that out and sent us on our way to the ER. We got there about 3:00 in the afternoon. While we were there they were trying to let us know that we probably would not have a diagnosis that day, they kept explaining to us 25% of the patients that come into the ER come in for stomach pains and 50% of those they are not able to have a diagnosis and that would probably be the same with me that there would be no diagnosis today regarding my stomach pains. I felt like they were almost taking bets that they would just be sending us home. They took me back to do a CT scan. They still weren’t hopeful, but we did it anyway. They said I get will back the CT scan results in about an hour. Well, no more than 15 minutes the nurse comes in and says he needs to prep me for surgery. Once he said this, I hear my wife say YES! I was like what, you wanted me to have my appendix out? I didn’t realize she just wanted an answer to why I felt the way I did, to her it was an answer so we can get it resolved and move on, so I can feel better. This was about 5:30 so needless to say about 20 minutes later I’m getting wheeled down to the surgery room to have my appendix removed and taken out.
The surgeon that did this was very good. She went in not knowing what she was getting into. As she went into remove my appendix she noticed there was a tumor that had actually pierced my appendix. So, essentially my appendix had burst and that is why every day I was decreasing 5 to 10% every day. It did not burst like others where fluid goes throughout the body and you have to go to the ER ASAP but just a small piercing from the tumor. After surgery, I had to stay overnight. Needless to say I was very disappointed and wanted to go home that evening just after I woke up. I’m not new to hospitals. I’ve been to hospitals and I’ve been in the surgery room at least 20 to 25 times throughout my life; especially from the time I was born to the age of 17. Everything for my cleft palate, cleft lip, tubes put in my ears, my broken ankle from my motorcycle when I was 16 years old to plastic surgery and reconstruction of my mouth and jaw when I was 17. I learned early on what I needed to do to get myself out of the hospital. However, there was no talking the doctors into letting me go home after surgery. They wanted me to stay overnight for observation. Andrea said I had to stay as well. She told me, “Don’t make me take care of you in a way I don’t know how.” What could I say to that? Actually, I still tried to come home.
Nov 18 – This took me a week or more to really recover from having the appendix removed. Needless to say, I had a business trip I was already scheduled for on November 18 with my wife. She was coming with me on this business trip since we were staying just a block away from Disneyland in California. So she came and helped bring my bags and luggage and she was a great help. By the end of the week I was able to ride more of the rides and able to get around a lot better than how I was beginning of the week. My doctor/surgeon was very surprised I was still going and when we talked the following week, she was surprised I went and well I had done.
Nov 26 – Two weeks after surgery we were supposed to go in for our post op doctor’s appointment. I thought it was at 12 noon but apparently the appointment was at 11:30 so needless to say I was about 45 minutes late which was not good. My wife almost ended up leaving because she had another appointment she wanted to get to but decided to stay there and be with me. WE thought it was weird that they didn’t reschedule the appointment and were willing to wait for me. Once I got there they brought us right back into the patient’s room. The surgeon came in and did the typical look at the wound thing and then proceeded to sit down and tell us that she had sent in my appendix to be biopsied. The next few minutes were a blur as we heard words like cancer, chemotherapy, surgery. We both were shocked and were not sure what we needed to do. Andrea looked at me as asked if I was okay. She said I was sweating and all color had gone out of my face. We asked what the next step was and Dr. Chung told us we needed to get some bloodwork and get a petscan scheduled. We went down to get blood work which I was instructed to do from the doctor. Andrea and I just sat and held each others hand. In the other hand, we were frantically googling Mucinous Adenocarcinoma. By the way, I don’t recommend googling that. Scary stuff! Right then and there I decided to put myself on a raw vegan diet. I have heard and read prior that sugar and other non-healthy eating habits feed cancer and this was one thing I could control and help fight against my cancer which was inside of me. Up to this point since November 1 to November 26 I lost 13 pounds and that was mainly because of the lack of appetite from appendicitis.
Well we ended up leaving the hospital/doctors office about 2:00. We headed home and on the way, I called our bishop from our church and a few neighbors to come over and give me a blessing. Before they came over, we had to break the news to our children. That was hard. They immediately hugged me and Andrea. They had so many questions to which we didn’t have a lot of answers for. They just kept saying “This isn’t real.” The Bishop and neighbors came over and gave me and Andrea a Priesthood blessings. The blessings brought about a little peace. Right after that, we packed up and we headed down to Las Vegas for our annual Thanksgiving trip.
It was a rough and long road going down. Just the day before we had bought a Hawaii trip with our neighbors that will be in February and we paid 100%. What were we going to do with that? We had so many questions and unanswered questions. Over the course of a few days down there, we had so many ups and downs. I poured myself into researching. I lined up calls. I scheduled appointments and tests. I researched. We had only told a few people about the diagnosis – my parents and Andrea’s parents. We weren’t going to share with anyone else until the following Thursday when we had appt with the oncologist and a pet scan done. However, Saturday night, a member of our church texted me and asked if I would like the church to fast and pray for me. At first, Andrea and I thought no. We wanted to find out more before we let everyone know. However, after discussing it further, we decided we needed all the help we could get. We needed answers, we needed peace, we needed a miracle. So, the email was sent out to the church to fast and pray for us, and I sent out individual texts to friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family to fast and pray for me. It was a humbling experience. One I am grateful for. We decided to drive home late Saturday night so we could attend church with our ward family. That Sunday was the first time in 5 days that we felt peace.
That Thursday 12/05, we went in bright and early to get the petscan done. We then met with the oncologist. Thankfully, the results came back quick and we were able to find out that not only did I have appendix cancer, but there was also cancer showing in my colon and in my liver. Because it had spread to the liver, the cancer diagnosis went from stage 2 to stage 4. Not what we wanted to hear. We scheduled surgery to insert my port and then scheduled chemo to start the following Monday, on 12/16.