When Things Go Wrong!
Two days after surviving a fall down the hill after a morning bow hunt on October 8, 2023 in Brown County Illinois, my visit to Cancer Care in Decatur Illinois to review my latest scan completed three months after completion of seventeen Immunotherapy Treatments to reduce the risk of reoccurring Spindle Cell Melanoma Cancer did not go as expected! Dr. Wade, Chief Oncologist, advised the scan revealed a potential Cancer spot on my lung! Earlier, after successful surgeries to remove a tumor from my chest, I was remarkably declared Cancer free!
During earlier treatment, I was advised this Cancer was aggressive with a thirty percent chance it would reappear within three years, more than likely in my lungs! The Immunotherapy described was to reduce this chance of reoccurrence to ten percent. Now it seemed my good fortune had come to an end! Dr. Wade would order another scan in three weeks to confirm this potential diagnosis! My thoughts were those only a person receiving a Cancer diagnosis can relate! Although I have survived two bouts with Prostate Cancer and one against Melanoma – my ability to pull another rabbit out of the hat may have come to an end!
I advised Dr. Wade; I would reenter the Whitetail woods the next day in pursuit of the big one. Absolutely not, was his reply! You have jumbled your brain much more than you think and you need to take five days off to ensure no concussion issues surface! His advice was heeded as my body needed the rest to heal the swelling and soreness present.
Back on stand, as fate would have it, a large Buck appeared, although no shot was offered, his 2nd and 3rd tines appeared to be in the twelve-inch category! Since the Rut was still not underway, he was in his home territory! Throwing caution to the wind, I set up the following morning for a potential encounter. The air was crisp with no wind, with the dry leaves nothing could move unnoticed. Finishing my set up, a cardinal rule was broken by fiddling with my phone prior to scanning the landscape for any movement. You guessed it! After pocketing my idiot box, movement caught my eye – then a nose appeared- an eye and as he slicked away large, tall tines! Opportunity lost was an understatement!
Later that evening a young Coyote gave me a picture perfect shot, when to my surprise, I was unable to pull the bow to full draw! Big strong David could not perform! The swollen and sore joints would not cooperate! I took a few days off to allow my body to heal further, finally having success at home in T-shirt in the heated comfort of my home! Back in the woods later as fate would have it, a 3:00 PM encounter with a big bruiser gave a beautiful quartering away shot opportunity! The bow would not cooperate! Dejection was my first thought but now action needed to be taken after a call to a good bow hunting friend, Doug Brown, the poundage was backed down until the draw could be performed with control. We deduced the drop in arrow flight, confirmed by practice shots at twenty-five and thirty-five yards, respectively.
The three weeks passed, now the time of the new scan was upon me. The scan performed on a Friday afternoon would be followed with visit to the Oncologist the following Tuesday morning. This would be an agonizing wait, very anxious to say the least but both I and spouse, Kelleye, chose to not look at the finding until at the Doctors’ office! The suspense was cut short by a phone call by Dr. Wade advising him the scan was clear! This news was emphatically great!
Hours later, it was learned my soon-to-be ninety-one year old mother had taken ill, to assist, in her recuperation, I returned to my boyhood home accordingly. After her needs and situation improved – I returned to the woods to resume my whitetail pursuits.
Hard hunting since, has not produced another shot chance on a sizable animal! Despite differing locations, serious thought on tactics and making sure I stay within the distance abilities of my old bow, nothing has materialized to highlight my season.
While somewhat disappointed with my results so far with the deer season, one realizes this is only a minor worry when compared to life events with real meaning.
I am truly grateful for the good news on my screening, my mothers’ continued improvement and the opportunity to reenter the woods for continued pursuit of the whitetail.