When I die, I’m going to have no idea how you got this, CNN’s Chris Cuomo says online
I never knew I was dying until it happened to me.
It was a slow, steady stream of painful news: I was diagnosed with cancer, a week before the election, and I was told I’d die within months.
I had to choose between living with my illness or dying alone.
A few weeks before I died, I started seeing a doctor.
She explained to me that I had Stage IV lung cancer, and that she could save me with a chemotherapy regimen.
I was stunned, but accepted.
It seemed like such a simple plan: I would be dead by the time the chemotherapy treatment was finished, and my life would begin anew.
But, it turns out, the chemo treatment was just a prelude.
For a week, I thought I was being treated for something called metastatic cancer.
I’d read that it was cancer that spreads from one part of your body to another.
But this time, the doctors told me that it would spread from the bone marrow to the bloodstream, from the lung to the brain, and then to the liver.
I didn’t understand the extent of what was happening, and it seemed unlikely that it’d spread from my bone marrow into the bloodstream.
My blood sugar was going down and my heart was racing uncontrollably.
I couldn’t get out of bed or eat anything, and the nurses at my hospital said I’d have to be admitted for a week or two.
But the chemos weren’t the end of the world, so I stayed in bed.
The next day, I saw a doctor at the hospital, who told me I had stage IV lung disease.
I wasn’t ready to be hospitalized.
I asked the nurse, “What are you saying?”
“That you’re going to die,” she said.
“You can’t die,” I said.
I got a phone call the next morning, saying I was going to be discharged.
My family and I didn and still don’t know what happened.
My mother called me that day, sobbing.
She said, “I can’t even explain it to you.
It’s like a dream.
I can’t explain what I feel.
I don’t understand.”
The day after my chemo, I woke up to a call from my father.
He said, I love you so much.
My son, he said, said, Don’t worry, Mom.
I know you’re happy and you’ll be OK.
I told my mother to call my brother, who lives in Ohio.
He called and said, Dad, I’ve been worried about you, too.
I’m so glad you’re OK.
That night, my father called me, crying, and said he loved me.
It was like watching a dream come true.
My dad told me how I’d made the right decision.
My chemotherapy had helped me stay alive.
And he told me about the nurse at the airport.
“I never thought she’d come back, but she saved my life,” he said.
We’re still waiting for our own story to come out, but my father and I were able to get a sense of how I felt, how I was feeling.
It wasn’t the same.
When I finally woke up from chemo and got to the hospital and told the doctors, I was in shock.
It took a week for me to find out that I’d been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer.
The chemo took a huge toll on my body.
It damaged my liver, lungs, kidneys, and bones.
I still have the physical scars of the cancer, which I’ll keep forever.
I feel very weak and have difficulty walking.
But my doctors told us that it wouldn’t be long before I’d be able to walk again.
I started a fundraising page on GoFundMe and raised $7,000 for cancer research.
In September, I received a call that my chemotherapy was over, and they told me to call a few weeks later to see if I could come back.
But the cancer hadn’t spread to my lungs, so we couldn’t come back yet.
So we waited until October.
But when I finally called to tell them I had cancer, they said I should come back as soon as possible.
So I started the GoFund Me page again.
In December, we got a call back from the chemists.
They said my cancer had returned and they could finally bring me home.
I felt relieved.
I could finally go back to my life.
And the chemotherapy didn’t hurt anymore.
I also had a new outlook on life.
I no longer had the fear of dying alone and never knowing how I would feel when I was gone.
I knew I’d make it through chemo.
But I also realized I had more work to do before I was ready to start living.