The Ultimate Challenge: Part 2

David Dominguez is a Marfa resident, born and raised in Alpine, Texas. He worked in construction and did local distribution for The Big Bend Sentinel. On June 12, 2019 he was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. Here he tells his story.

After the port for chemo injection was put in place, I took a class on chemo, possible side effects and the meds to be injected into my I.V.

The Texas Oncology Patient Advocate tells me I need to apply to a state program to pay 20% of costs not covered by Medicare. The application goes through online.

The next day, I go for a personal interview at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in Odessa. I qualify. The coverage begins August 1, 2019.

The waiting game ends August 8, when I get a call to be at Texas Oncology at 8am to begin chemo and lab work. The chemo continues Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s an eight-hour day Monday and two hours Tuesday and Wednesday.

This time The Sad Room is way different. I was the first person there. Next are Don and Susana Fuentes. Mr. Fuentes asked me if I am from Alpine. He says his younger brother is Salvador, who I’ve known since my college days at Sul Ross. So the small talk begins. No negative feelings in the chemo room today.

Before the chemo drugs are injected in the I.V., other meds such as Benadryl, Tylenol and steroids are injected. I didn’t fall asleep until 5am the first night.

As soon as the chemo drug is injected, I get a rash on my chest and I start sweating. They stop the chemo and inject more Benadryl. The rash goes away. Dr. Bajaj says to continue the chemo.

After lunch, I feel the left side of my face. People around are staring at me. Mrs. Fuentes asks me if she can pray for me. My face is red with a rash. The chemo is discontinued. I feel better.

I am sent home early, about 2:30pm. Dr. Bajaj will try a different chemo drug for the next two days.

The next two days of chemo injections go without any problems or side effects.

My sister says I no longer have to go by myself; one of them will accompany me. The other patients are glad I no longer have any side effects.

Back in Marfa, my sisters call every day, checking to see if I’m okay. Everything goes well in the end.