Article Date: Sunday, March 18, 2012
By Kevin Reese
"This is cancer." The doctor's words are seared into my wife's memory. As painful as the doctor's diagnosis was, it must have been doubly worse for my wife as she waited for me to awake after the procedure so she could get the horrible little secret off of her chest.
It wasn't long after I awoke that we left the office. I had asked my wife about the doctor's findings numerous times to which she consistently answered, "We'll talk about it when you're completely awake." Now, as we made our way down the two lane highway towards home, I was finally alert and ready enough to understand the diagnosis and she knew it. "The doctor says it's cancer."
I showed no reaction to the news. Truly, very little changed as a matter of both faith and practicality, I've always handled news of this magnitude with, "Let's see what they say when they have all the information," but I admit I was ready for the fight. What I wasn't ready for was giving up my hunting season!
As a lover of God's majestic outdoors, especially where bowhunting opportunities abound, my thoughts early into this short journey shifted to the demise of my bowhunting season what a horrible time for this cancer to invade our lives and my livelihood. It's almost laughable that beyond the well being of my wife and son was the simple fact that my 2011 bowhunting season flew right out of the car window with my wife's life altering message.
The following morning, we returned to the doctor's office where he laid the details of his findings before us. "You need surgery, Kevin. We need to remove the section of your colon containing the large mass we found yesterday and it needs to happen quickly."
"How long before I'll be able to bowhunt again?"
He smiled. As a bowhunter himself he wanted to give me a better answer but it simply did not exist. "It will be at least six weeks after your surgery before your ready to draw your bow again." He noted my disgust then added, "But you can sit and rifle hunt as soon as a few weeks after surgery. You just can't do the dirty work after you pull the trigger." The latter he added with a sheepish grin.
The truth is that I did not hunt until I was able to walk out with my bow again. I was skunked on deer this season but for obvious reasons. Am I disappointed? Yes, I am. Do I regret it? Not one bit! The choice was as clear as the doctor's words, "You have two choices. You can have a couple of miserable years or perhaps one miserable year with 40 more behind it, Lord willing." So, I opted to sacrifice the season and hope for 40 more good seasons behind this one.
Baylor removed the large mass, 12 inches of my colon, approximately 15 lymph nodes and as much as four pounds of fat -- Thanks Dr. Rodriguez! Of course, I've been busy putting it back on! Pathology revealed that while the cells were closer to conversion to invasive cancer cells, they had not quite reached that point. My general surgeon suggested I had perhaps days or weeks, even offering that had I delayed my surgery by as much as a week I could have easily been looking at fighting invasive cancer, chemo treatments, etc. In the end, with the resection of my colon, I have been cured and I'm feeling better every day.
So what now? Well, it's time for me to get outdoors! With bow in hand, I've never been more ready for what the Dr. offered as the suggested choice, 40 more years of hunting! Next stop... hogs! Keep your eyes peeled, I'm back in the game!
Hunt hard, hunt often.