This blog isn’t about our colorful designer pillows or decorative ottomans. It isn’t about how many pillows you can sell or how much profit you can make. It isn’t about pillows, ottomans or business at all. It’s about LIFE.
I learned something important and I want to share it with you. I just recovered from what I consider a horrible illness. It all started on January 4th. I had just finished dinner and felt a terrible stomach pain. I thought it would go away, but it only got worse until I was lying on the floor in agony. I called for help and ended up in the emergency room. I had never been to the hospital except as a child for my tonsils. I have rarely been ill, so this feeling was strange. At first everyone thought it was appendicitis. As it turns out that would have been great, however it was much worse than that. At the hospital they took a CT scan and found a softball size growth in my abdomen. That was scary to hear but it got worse. Then they did a biopsy and told me it was Lymphoma Cancer. Now it was serious. My surgeon came into my hospital room, my family by my side, and told me it was in a spot that if they operate I will probably die. I was not expecting to hear that. Then after studying the biopsy further they decided that it may not be Lymphoma Cancer after all, so they decided to do exploratory surgery. After this operation it was determined that I had a Desmoid Fibermytosis Tumor. Lucky me, only 600 people out of 300 million in the U.S. get this per year. My friends all told me to buy a lottery ticket with odds like that. The good news was is that it wasn’t cancer, but it was strangling my bowels and located in a very dangerous place to remove. I was told by my doctors that since this tumor was extremely rare they really had no experience with treatment. Even so, later that same day I had other specialist come into my room and offer their treatment plan such as chemo or radiation and then surgery. Everyone had a different treatment option, but none of them were on the same page.
I lost all confidence but my family came to my rescue. After much research it was discovered there was one hospital that could treat me and it was right here in my own backyard. With the help of my son an appointment was set. I went there with little hope, but when I sat with the Oncologist and the Surgeon I was told they knew how to handle this type of disease. They have seen it and successfully handled it. I left feeling relieved that finally I was with the right team. I started with chemo to shrink the tumor so that it would be safer to remove when we did the surgery. This entire time I was limited to a liquid diet since I couldn’t digest anything. Throwing up multiple times every day and nervous that it was getting worse. It was now March and I had lost already about 20 pounds. Normally I would be happy about this kind of weight loss, but this was horrible. Not the kind of weight loss you ever want to get. At this point I was feeling pretty depressed. I didn’t think so, but my family and friends could see it. I had been stuck with so many needles, operated on, been in the hospital for weeks and weeks, starved, throwing up like a college student on a weekend bender and overall so weak that I couldn’t even hold my telephone.
Finally after four weeks of Chemo I had a turning point. I thought it was for the worse but it turned out it was for the better. One night my temperature spiked, I was throwing up uncontrollably and just felt worse than I had ever felt. I was rushed back to the hospital where they did another CT scan and found that the Chemo had worked. My softball size tumor was now the size of a baseball and that it had shifted a little bit away from my artery making surgery safer now. Finally a little bit of good news. We scheduled the operation two weeks later so I could regain my strength before surgery.
I had my surgery at the end of March. It took 8 hours but they corrected everything. My surgeon was amazing. She did the impossible. She cut and fixed two places on my intestines and removed all of the tumor. I then laid in the hospital for another 10 days or so to recover until I was finally sent home. This was not the end of the story. I was told to stay on a liquid diet so my bowels and stomach could heal. I did this for the recommended two weeks and was excited to start eating again. It had been 3 1/2 months since I had eaten. But every time I tried I threw up. I couldn’t keep anything down. I felt depressed and hopeless. I didn’t think I would ever eat again. I didn’t think I would ever be able to eat lunch with friends or dinner with family again. My doctors told me to give it time, easy for them to say but very difficult to do. Finally, it was 5 weeks after the surgery and I started to eat a little. I still threw up but I was eating. Then finally it happened. My stomach started working and I was able to eat some foods carefully without the fear of throwing up. I was so excited that I actually had tears in my eyes the first time I ate real food. It took me all of April and May to recover and I am still recovering from this today.
But please lets not lose the point of this story. This can happen to anyone. At any time. There is no way to prepare for it. I was in great shape, healthy and feeling good. Getting an illness can happen to anyone no matter how much money you have, where you live or what you eat. It happens to everyone even celebrities. Angelina Jolie with her double mastectomy, Selena Gomez with Lupus, Tom Hanks with Diabetes and Kim Kardashian with Psoriasis. Maybe not terrible life threatening problems, but problems that interfere with life. They too didn’t expect it. Didn’t prepare for it. Back to the point. Remember it is very important to live every day to the fullest. To enjoy the small things in life and not just wait for the big things. Stop and smell the roses. It’s important to take vacations, be with friends and family and really really enjoy life. I hope this helps you open your eyes just a little. It did mine. With my second chance on life I now try every day to make the most out of it. Take care and enjoy your day and your life.
Larry Meer is COO of Defy Brands, Inc. Defy Brands, Inc. is a home decor online and wholesale manufacturing business that specializes in bringing to their customers unique art and colorful designs offered on everyday products people love. Products such as designer pillows, decorative ottomans and beautiful purses. Proudly manufactured in the United Stated. Defy Brands, Inc. can be found at www.defybrands.com, in many retail stores, and enjoyed in many homes threw-out the United States.