Medical Leave Mimosas
Have you ever wondered what a doctor recommended medical leave looks like? Imagine leisurely days sitting by a pool sipping mimosas and eating bon bons. The key word in that last sentence is imagine, as in imaginary. Medical leave, at least my version, has not yet reached those leisurely levels.
Before I pull back the curtain on what a medical leave actually looks like, let me try to explain why my doctors believe a medical leave is in my best interest. For over 30 years I have danced with an adorable little ailment called Crohn’s Disease. This part of the medical party negatively impacts the entire gastro-intestinal tract. When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I decided to go with an All-American Varsity version that included the surgical removal of my entire colon. I got to party for a significant amount of time in an ICU unit hooked up to more machines, tubes and wires than Frankenstein and his bride combined. When you are having this much fun, it obviously makes sense to crank up the party and add a humdinger septic emergency with a “code blue” crash. This triggered multiple doctors and nurses rushing to my bed side working their medical magic in order to prevent me from taking a dirt nap. For these and other reasons I prefer not to share, Crohn’s Disease had been enough on the medical party plate for several years. However, just like the TV ads that proclaim that if you act right now there’s more, the medical party was about to get bigger. A lot bigger.
The new medical party is larger and louder than Crohn’s Disease. This is not a holiday dinner party with a few friends, rather it’s more like the Mitch-A-Palooza sponsored by Speaker City from the movie Old School type party. Don’t think Cataracts…think the C word. The, you’ve got to be kidding me, isn’t Crohn’s Disease enough, C word? Yup, that C word: Cancer!
For several months, we executed a plan that included radiation, oral chemotherapy pills, infusions and multiple shots of various medications. The idea was to punch Cancer in the mouth and keep punching, not giving Cancer a chance to breathe. An unfortunate side effect with this type of aggressive treatment is the destruction of non-cancer cells. Healthy cells and organs were attacked right along with the hideous disease that my doctors called the “scorched earth” approach. Inserted into this plan were the doctor’s frequent and consistent recommendations that I take a medical leave of absence. The thought was this would create the…