March 1992. I underwent surgery to have the Malignant Tumour removed. My mom would always say to her friends ''My son has a MALIGNANT TUMOUR. Yes, it's CANCEROUS.'' I was 7 years old and I was stressed out. I'd talk to my tumour at night : ''Why won't you just leave?'' I said. I'd pray to Jehovah : ''Jehovah, could you please remove my tumour so I won't have to sleep at the hospital? Amen.'' The tumour remained unfazed.
During my last week at home, before leaving for the Shriners hospital, I finally had made peace with my tumour and decided I wanted to keep it. Anything but an operation. I had read in the Awake! magazine (I loved to read the bound volumes, 1987-1990 were my favorites, older ones were B-O-R-I-N-G and Watchtowers were even worse) that sometimes patients would lose a lot of blood during surgery and the doctors would give them transfusions to ''save'' them, but in the end the blood was contaminated and the patients would catch all kinds of potentially deadly diseases. God's way of punishing those who accepted blood perhaps? Witnesses, when confronted by the choice of either living on borrowed time or refusing blood transfusions would choose the latter. I was ready to die, I was only afraid of the surgery.
Mom didn't understand why I wanted to keep the tumour and she said ''You'll feel much better after your operation, Mommy will be with you and Jehovah will be with you too. When you're scared you just pray to Jehovah and he'll protect you.'' Suddenly I was all smiles:
''You're right Mom, now I can't wait to get rid of that goddamn tumour!''
''WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY????'' Oh boy she was seeing red. The word goddamn was for school use only.
''YOU KNOW I SHOULD WASH YOUR MOUTH WITH SOAP RIGHT NOW! JEHOVAH HATES THOSE WORDS!! THEY'RE FILTHY! JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES DON'T TALK LIKE THAT!!!!!''
...and of course I started crying. I used to cry a goddamn lot when I was young.
I arrived at the hospital and met my surgeon. Shriners hospitals are very cool, or at least my Shriners hospital was way cool in '92. They had computers for the kids to play with and cable TV in each room. My surgeon was a tall man from Vancouver, in his 40's, the kind of cool doctor you would want for your child. My first question for him was ''Do you think I'll need a blood transfusion?'' ''No no no, don't worry about it.'' ''Ok, because you know, I'm a Jehovah's Witness and I can't accept blood.'' ''Don't worry, you'll be fine.'' My parents were silently watching the whole thing. They saw how Jehovah was giving me strength and how he influenced the surgeon to accept my firm stance on blood transfusions. Looking back, it's more likely that I never needed a transfusion in the first place and that I was completely brainwashed. Whatever.
So I had my tumour removed. Great. We were told we needed to come frequently to radiology and for other scans and checkups but so far the surgery had been a success. A couple of weeks passed. We got another call, can you please come back to the hospital?
So we went there and the doctors told us ''Look, we're not sure we got rid of all the cancerous cells in his foot. It is possible that the cancer will grow back and spread through Hermit's (lol) body. We think it would be wise to amputate the 3rd and 4th toes, but ultimately the decision belongs to you.'' My dad told me ''Son, it's your body, it's your decision but if I were you I wouldn't take the chance''. Well I didn't want to die or risk losing my whole foot or my whole leg in a year or two. I didn't want chemotherapy, I didn't want to lose my hair. That would've sucked big time. I asked the doctor ''Will I be able to walk and run normally?'' He said sure. ''No blood right?'' ''No blood, don't worry.'' ''Ok. Then it's yes.''
April 1992. Surgery, take two.
Take two as in ''I lost two toes in the process.'' With metatarsal bones and all.
I received some physiotherapy, radiotherapy and MRI scans. Checkups two times a year until the age of 13. It's safe to assume that I'm cancer-free now.
But going back to the operation, the ordeal had been pretty much pain-free, thanks to Jehovah! The only thing that I remember hurting is when they removed a drain tube from my foot and much later the stitches. I guess Jehovah was busy elsewhere during those 10 minutes heh? Perhaps he had gone to relieve himself? - 1 Kings 18:27 When something good happens, praise God! When something bad happens, praise him anyway. Allahu Akbar if you win, Allahu Akbar if you lose.
All in all I've
spent two weeks at the hospital. Two weeks to a seven years old seems like an eternity. I had some visitors from the congo,
but Stomper's family never showed up. It's probable
that they felt guilty. They could've just said that they were sorry.
Like I said in part 1, my father was a pacifist, he was not going to
kill them. Cowards. They never took the blame for anything, instead when confronted, oh, it was
not their daughter's fault and sooner or later the tumour would've
shown itself, I just had it in me. Maybe, but I'll tell you what: it's not about the
tumour, it's not about the amputation. It was just wrong what she did
to me. So who cares if we were just kids, from parents to
parents couldn't they have just said they were sorry for their daughter's behavior? Make her apologize or something? My mom had lost
15 pounds, she looked like Job (she was always very slim to begin with). I had seen my father cry
for the first time of my life! And nobody ever came to ME to
apologize. I had turned the other cheek that night and it made me
lose two toes, WTF? Maybe I was not important. And that my friends,
that is something I will never forgive.
Nobody took our side
at the KH. There was a vague form of general sympathy but it was very short-lived. What had happened to me was indeed unfortunate, but let's
not hold grudges against our brothers and sisters, especially when
their bigshot family is in the VIP's. VIP's can do no wrong. I would have to grow up with roughly 2/3 of my right foot remaining but that was fine, just fine. There we were sitting in the back while they were sitting in the front row. Now let's all eat our Spiritual Food in harmony shall we? In contrast, when I went back to
school I was love-bombed by my friends and it was 100% genuine love and
appreciation, I can tell you. They had missed me so much, they were
throwing themselves all over me to help me carry my books and my lunch box.
From that point on I knew where to find true friends.
Stay tuned for PART
4, where I will talk about my father losing his faith in the
Watchtower and my mother diving head first into depression. Good night!