As the days past by at the hospital and I was not getting better from “pneumonia” or any of the other array of illnesses that I was diagnosed with, I honestly felt like I had been hit by a train. It was like I was in a horrible nightmare and I could not wake up. My world was turned upside down. Nothing made sense until, finally, my blood test results came back. They shed some light in to solving the mystery that was my case. The prognosis was cancer. Well, they mentioned the word lymphoma, which I had no idea what that meant however an oncologist was in my room and I knew that he was a cancer doctor. It was all too confusing. All, I recall, is that this doctor, aka oncologist was telling me that they wanted to take a bone marrow sample and place a camera down my throat in order to see exactly what was happening since my lungs showed no liquid even though the scans were showing what they thought was liquid but might be a tumor. This caused me to be even more confused, but I agreed to these tests. He also went to explain that due to the rarity of my case if the test did in fact reveal a tumor this information may be very beneficial to study, research and develop a treatment plan for other patients with similar cases in the future. For this reason, he asked for my consent so that they could film the entire procedure. So many things were being thrown at me all at once. It was too much to process. I literally felt like I was dying which I was but then I had a thought if I was going to die, I would want someone else to benefit from my experience even if it was too late for me. Therefore, I allowed them to record the procedure. Later on, in the other hospital, I was asked once again, for my permission to share my scans and tests results to be used for their studies in understanding this particular type of cancer better. Again, I gave my consent and signed the documents granting permission.
Now, I don’t know if they still have my information and if it was beneficial to gain better perspective in diagnosing or treating others with my specific type of cancer, but I am glad that I decided to give permission. Due to many others before me who gave permission, they learned that performing surgery in my particular type of cancer would result in death during surgery. For this reason, they changed the course of treatment by the time I was diagnosed and treated. I know I was thankful to all those who were brave enough to say yes. I say brave because it is an invasive situation to a certain extend but without research, the healthcare system is unable to progress to help others in the future. I am fortunate, to be alive today to tell my story and to express my deepest gratitude to all those nameless brave souls who showed such a selfless act of kindness to strangers. God Bless!