My world almost crashed when I heard the bombshell “Peter, you have Cancer, please come to the hospital”. This exclusive story of my experience is my Birthday gift that will benefit you .
THE TELEPHONE CALL
As we were on bed discussing, joking , laughing and sipping wine Ronnie’s cell phone rang and the caller said she would like to talk to Peter ( Peter is my Baptismal name). Ronnie asked the caller to speak on but the caller insisted ” Please let me talk to Peter your husband”. “Who is that?” I asked Ronnie , “it is the Family Doctor , she wants to talk to you , ” she responded. My heart beat increased and was pounding heavily. I stopped the joke I was cracking. I squeezed my face like a man who contracted gonorrhea. I was sweating in the cold. My legs suddenly got swollen and were heavy as lead while warm ‘water‘ streamed down my legs. My head became big as if I had just seen a Genii (Iwin) for I remembered I had just done my blood work in laboratory , and waiting for the result. I gave a heavy sigh,” hnmmmm it is finished !”
Ronnie gave me the phone. And as I attempted to go out and receive the call she held me and said ”please receive your call here”. I now knew I was dawned for , asiri tu!, HIV ? , gonorrhea ?, Syphilis?, Hepatitis? Yellow Fever? . Different thoughts flowed in my mind. When last have I been to the hospital to do medical check up? I remembered the kainkáín, ògógóró, sépè skin I used to drink in an empty stomach. Chei! kidney or liver problem?.
I became nervous and was shaking like a leaf floated on water. Yes ooo ,I was shaking like the patient suffering from Essential tremor (ET) which is a neurological disorder that causes one’s hands, head, trunk, voice or legs to shake rhythmically. I asked the female doctor to speak on, and she started ” This is the result of the tests you did few days ago ( she paused) , HIV 1 … …”, (she paused) .When I heard HIV 1 I started sweating like Christmas goat. Several thoughts crossed my mind. I am in trouble ,I soliloquized . Ha! at last I have this dreaded disease?, I soliloquized .
Hundreds of thoughts flowed my mind. I thought of those I would have infected. I thought of how I contracted it and who could have given me. I remembered those I .. … old and young, fat and slim, dark and fair complexioned ones. I thought of how I would have access to the anteroviral drugs secretly without telling anybody .Will they… …..me?. So this is what will end me?. Kai , who even infected me? But how will I know? . Well, if that is it then my life don pafuka be that”.
As I was thinking of all these the doctor said ” Negative” and continued
“HIV 2… “,(she paused again) then said ” Negative. Anyway you don’t have any venereal disease”, she said. Now my mind was settled. Let her say anything , if anything killed me I don’t care , I thought in my mind.
The doctor continued ” But please you need to come to the hospital for your PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) is too high , it is 129″. ”What is PSA? I don’t know”, I responded. . All these happened in March 2019.
MY JOURNEY TO THE CANCER WARD
I have Nosocomephobia, or call it the fear of hospitals not to talk of the fear of doctors which is latrophobia. The mere sighting that white coat called Laboratory coat instills fear in me not to talk of the stethoscope the doctors and nurses hang loosely on their neck which makes me humble.
Two days earlier we had gone to the hospital where they took my blood for blood work. All my prayers not to go to the hospital were not answered by God- this still surprised me till this day. I remember when the appointment was booked three months earlier , I prayed to let the world crash and ended before the D Day. I prayed to let earthquake occur and consume me and people would say it was a natural disaster that snuffed life out of me but none of these happened . I prayed to be involved in an accident and just quench there. I prayed to die an honorable death .But nothing happened .At last three months came .We were at the hospital .They took my blood in the laboratory for blood work .
I thought of the sexual escapades I had without protection .Haa! Oloun mu uu, Goduu catch am, would be their words especially those who thought the ‘foolish boy’ did not marry them!
We went back to the hospital and the family doctor said it’s likely I have Prostate cancer , ” but I am not saying you have it o”, the primary family doctor quickly added. We knew she was saying the truth but trying to allay my fear for it was my countenance she saw that made her changed her words .
MY MEETING WITH UROLOGIST
I was referred to an Urologist, then wahala bere. I looked up and felt sad that I put my newly wedded wife into a big trouble . Renata her sister came with me to the hospital to assist me talk to the doctor as I could not pick their words very well because of their accent . Well, I reminded them that they speak through their nose, and I am a Nigerian and with Nigerian accent. The Indian doctor examined me and said he could not believe the 129 PSA level I had and requested for another blood work .Another was done and it had gone up to 132!, the Indian Urologist said he was surprised and had never seen such in his years of medical practice seeing such high PSA and still walking on this planet earth. Later he said ”one of my friends in Nigeria said it is common in Sub Sahara region. I pray the PSA comes down after the surgery”, he said.
As for Ronnie , she would leave her job and go with me to the hospital .Each time I pleaded to her that I am sorry for putting her through all these hurdles she would console me to keep calm.
The third day Ronnie’s phone rang and the Urologist dropped another bombshell and said my PSA was now 132, higher than before .Ha!, what a trouble?. I looked up and shouted ”ha, this is a big problem’.’. The doctor said , “you possibly have cancer but we have to do a Biopsy to confirm ” Biopsy? Oh my God , my mouth was now dried.
Date was fixed for the biopsy . The biopsy was done and we were expecting the result . I was in the public library when Ronnie came to me and said ” the doctor wants to talk to you, he said you have Prostate enlargement and Cancer”. The Doctor called again and said ” all the 11 tests done were cancerous. You have prostate enlargement and Cancer!”. After hearing this I submitted to fate . I was asking secretly whether it is good and cheap to cremate or not. I was going about calling and asking questions NOT about prostate again but death! , all in case of incasity. Will I die or not?. What pained me most was that I had just married this innocent woman, Ronnie and was thinking of how I put her in a big trouble.
Playing music after the surgery , Maaa joooo maa korrin tuntun
OTHER TESTS BEFORE THE SURGERY
I was told that I needed to do some tests to know whether it had spread to other parts of my body. I went for different tests , I did MRI, brain, stomach, liver , bone, kidney and what have you. I went into some machines like tubes etc to confirm whether it had spread to my organs. Upon all these I was on Facebook writing my stories in my taiwoabiodun.com website and also cracking my usual jokes while the world didn’t know what I was going through. Yes, I believe I had to do my best before leaving this world. A wild, weird and unpredictable world.
Anytime Ronnie’s phone rang and I got to know it was from the hospital I become afraid because you don’t know what they are going to say. We received bunch of letters from the hospital telling me this , telling me that .I did several tests. Apart from calling on phone and sending emails to me they also sent letters to me reminding me my appointments with doctor !.
I now know the value of family ties. Ha! when last did I speak or see my brother and cousin? .I remember it was my wife , Ronnie who posted our wedding invitation on social media that made my distant Cousin Dr. Tayo Ojomo to connect with us . I have not seen them over 33 years! . In fact I didn’t know their whereabout as everyone faced his own life .It was like nobody cares about anybody. It was recently that I know they are in America for I didn’t know their whereabout not to talk of knowing where they were. But thank God for Ojomo was able to connect with us, he gave us my brother’s phone number , Prof Rowland Abiodun .The two are were shocked that I am in America. Then Ronnie informed them about my situation; both calmed me down and said ” ko s’iku l’oju e, you are not going to die. You will live to write the success story”. Kehinde my twin brother called every hour asking when I was going for the surgery. He explained to me how everything would go. He like the proverbial Hausa man selling his product and would ask whether you have had such disease before selling it. Kehinde has become an expert without being a Medical doctor !.He had his own prostate cancer surgery 11years years ago.
I called friends and family members and said goodbye to them all. They all consoled and prayed for me.” My days are numbered but don’t worry we shall all pass this road only at different time “, I told them . I knew how they felt .I could feel it from their voices and sudden silence .But I gave them a parting gift ” please go and check your PSA level “.
Now I began to read the Holy Bible the more .I thought of my children I would leave behind. I thought of my friends I would leave behind . I called some of them and advised them to go for their PSA. I thought of nasty people that misbehaved to me. I thought of how haters would joyfully receive the ‘good’ news of my death. I thought of what they would write about me. Yes, I know some would say it’s good riddance to bad rubbish, some would say ” alakori ti lo, oloriburuku bastard ti lo, an ingrate is gone .I know he will die soon because he talked too much” .
Others would say he was a juju man , don’t mind him, his bling bling ,rings killed him etc . But the girls would say ”Yes, he disappointed me , he deserved to die a shameful death ….” I thought of how my native land would receive the news. Some would sympathize with my family while some would say negative and positive ….Kai, eniyan ko sunwon laaye, ojo a ba ku la ndere.”
One day my eyes were misty. I went into the room and shed tears .I then remembered the song of ….this world is beautiful, so nice , beautiful this world is beautiful , so nice ,Aiye yi ma dara pupo, O dara , o, lewa….aiye yi ma dara pupo....then I played Jimmy Cliff’s music of Beautiful World, Beautiful People .. Wonderful World…….Later I started playing Bob Marley’s song of Running Away, and I said I cannot run away from myself. And the battle to live continued.
”Good news for you Peter, your cancer is located and has not spread. Please prepare and fix a date for the surgery”, the doctor said after all my MRI results had been sent to him, but remember I had accepted my fate. I had waited for the worst. Date fixed. Yes, a date was fixed for the surgery. With all these going on, my stories in my blogs and my Facebook’s contribution were ongoing, nobody knew what I was going through .Later we changed the date again saying we had engagements to do. Big risk, the doctor said, ” please don’t delay it , it is cancer and it could spread”, he counselled. Yet, we didn’t worry or care and I was doing my normal duties at home , having my normal ‘night duty’ or faka fiki, eating normally , drinking my beer etc . There was nothing to show that I was undergoing this life-threatening cancer!. Two months away. Will a miracle happen that will tell me it has disappeared?. But it was a dream never come true. I prayed for the day not to come.
In America they don’t joke with their vacation and anniversary. When we returned from Tunica in Mississippi where we spent four days for our one year wedding anniversary on the following day we landed in Washington University Hospital, for my surgery.
On the hospital bed
ON MY WAY TO THE THEATRE ROOM
You can imagine how I felt when I sighted the medical instruments they were going to use on me .Yes! I developed tomophobia ( fear of surgical procedures or medical intervention instruments) but suddenly my phone rang and a prayer message came in ” God will be with you as you are going …..”I quickly claimed it ,it was sent by my niece , Mrs. Remi Ogundowole. Now I was on a stretcher waiting to go into the theatre. I saw some nurses that surrounded me. They had fixed drip on me , and I asked whether it was the theatre they were now taking me to , they said ‘no’, they only went to prepare the place for me. I then remembered I had signed a form …..Ronnie was asked to go and sit in the waiting room.
AFTER THE SURGERY
As I raised up my eyes and saw Ronnie by my side , I asked ” what are you still doing here?. But you were asked to go to the waiting room AND wait”, she looked at me and smiled in response . As I tried to lift up my hand I discovered that my hands were heavy and I looked up and sighted the intravenous poles with infusion bag dangling like pendulum . I saw some medical machines that looked like small television monitoring my blood pressure or heart beat . I looked at myself and saw all the medical gadgets attached on me. I saw plasters on my belly and now saw the hospital clothe ,my new uniform johnny coat I wore. I saw a tube attached to my John Thomas, heeee so they had operated on me. I looked at the time and it was 20 minutes to eight . I remember we were talking at quarter to three. So they had spent about four hours on me in the theatre room! , Oloun o! Kabiyesi Olodumare ooooooooooo. It was a robotic computer machine they used on me.
MY ‘POLE ‘ NOW ‘HUMBLE’
I was discharged the next day and I went home with the catheter dangling in-between my two balls. I looked at my ‘third leg’ , kai, it has shrunk like a two- year- old baby boy. It has succumbed to humility . Wàláítàlaì I looked at it and pitied myself. How are the mighty fallen!. A one time powerful straight and long pole did not only bend but collapsed. Chei! it cannot raise it’s head like Agama agama lizard again. It has become calm and was looking down . It refused to look up and frighten the opposite sex again. Poor me!. Few days later the catheter was removed .I asked the doctor when my John Thomas would stand erect like pole or ruler again, he replied smiling ” Wait, exercise patience, your health first”.
TO BE CONTINUED