My girlfriend seemed more concerned than I was. She thought wrongly that I didn't like doctors because I had studied natural medicine. To cut a longer story short I went to my local medical centre straight after work one evening and saw a general practitioner whom I'd met once before.
The practitioner was different to other doctors I had met in the past. He was gentle, soft spoken and spent more time with me and his patients than other doctors whom I had known. He also explained the problem to me and his other patients in a way that wasn't confronting or full of incomprehensible medical mumbo jumbo. In the long run I was glad that I developed a good relationship with this particular general practitioner.
When I told him my symptoms he said "we'd better check if there are any nasties there."
"Nasties?" I'd never heard that expression before and I assumed he was referring to parasites. That made sense! If I had somehow ingested some kind of parasite, it may have been sharing my food with me, or worse it may have been feeding on me from the inside. This would certainly cause weight loss.
The good doctor recommended I undergo some tests: Chest X-ray, ultra sound, blood tests. A bit extreme for parasites I thought. Anyway, I booked it at a local centre and underwent those tests. The following day I returned to work as usual.
A week later I returned to the doctor. He went over my blood test results and pointed out some the results that were over the normal range. He indicated there was a "nasty". Now I realised this no longer referred to parasites but to something else altogether. He also said my X-ray showed emphysema.
I was in some kind of a daze, and the first thing that came to my mind was "Well, I'll get to travel to the other side and discover what's there!" The "other side", life after death and reincarnation were all topics I had taken an interest in, and had become part of my graduate studies. I was referred to two specialists: One was a haematologist, the other an oncologist. Both these specialists concurred there I had some kind of "nasty" and that more investigations were necessary to determine exactly the kind of nasty it was. A day was set for my admission into hospital.
At this stage I thought I'd take a break from my job. I remember it had been more difficult to summon the energy to get into my day's work. On a few mornings I had sat in a nearby park after my bus and train ride to absorb some sunlight in the hope of absorbing some energy. The weather had been excellent. It was bright and sunny, and early enough in the day for it to not be too hot.
When I took a break from work I found that staying home offered little relief except that I didn't have to put up with public transport, and I suppose was a good thing. And then I was living with that underlying feeling of malaise that expressed itself as a confusion between extreme hunger and lack of appetite, and the feeling of weakness was there too.
Writing is a source of encouragement when battling cancer and I would like to write more about this particular experience.
Alfred Bellanti is a published author and webmaster of http://www.mindbody.biz/