The Ultimate Challenge: Part 3

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. In this new column, he tells his story.

The routine for the next six months is two days of chemo on the second week, followed by lab work on the fourth week. The lab work will be to check the progress of the chemo drugs on my body.

Dr. Bajaj says the chemo drugs will melt “the C.”

“The new C cells?” I ask. No, he says both the new and the old C cells will be melted.

Dr. Bajaj says the blood counts are low, so he is prescribing an antibiotic. Take one a day for seven days. Start right now, not when you get back home tomorrow. He says I have a weak immune system. Do not be around people that are sick. So I stay home.

The family relationships are the most painful to deal with. My granddaughter and her nine year old daughter are the hardest.

So we’re outside my granddaughter’s home sitting on the porch. Her brother is there also. We’re talking about my medical problems. I tell them, maybe the kidney or acute renal failure will kill me, before the pain of the cancer gets me.

Just then, her daughter walks out the door and hears me. She’s in shock.

She goes and hugs her mother. Seconds later, she jumps into my arms. We huge each other and we all start crying. I tell her, “Mija, I am not going to die right now.”

It’s the beginning of summer, so a few days later she goes to stay with her dad for a few weeks.

She comes back and I don’t get to see her. She goes to Odessa with her aunt and family. Days later, mom gets a call. She has to go get her daughter in Odessa. Her daughter woke up one morning crying that her grandpa is going to die.

We’ve been real close since she was two, when I would babysit her while her parents were at work. It breaks my heart.

A few days later, she spends the night at the house. We openly talk about my medical problems. I tell her that for now, I am still in good health. We go bike riding to show her.

Phew! I breathe a big sigh of relief. She’s her old self again. Playing tricks and punking me and her grandmother.