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  1. #1
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    Dealing with Cancer : My version

    I am a regular here (over 10 years) but am using this new account name as I want to be anonymous and some people here know my real identity. I got diagnosed with stage one throat cancer last week after getting a biopsy done the week before and started radiation treatments today. When they told me last week I was there with my wife. I teared up instantly and thought " sh*t, it's just sad the sh*t I'm going to miss out on" The doctor gave me two courses of treatment and as for getting a second opinion, no way, I want it treated as soon as possible. I haven't looked up the prognosis for my disease but at the moment I don't see it as a fight with cancer. I see it as living as long as possible with cancer. I am 50 yrs old, my kids are in the 6th and fourth grades. I was born with cancer and my lifestyle (light periodic smoking and hard drinking, not so periodic) gave it the opportunity to bloom. I will always have cancer, we all do, in our genetic footprint. The luckier ones of us just don't meet it. I met it last week and outside of my wife, only my siblings know( no doubt they have told their spouses). I like coming here and hopefully I can get some advice and maybe get pointed towards some good online forums for support. I will need it so my wife doesn't have to carry too much of the burden. I got told today that I can still exercise, just make sure the lines they drew on my body for lining up the radiation machine don't get washed off. That is great cause with the pain in the throat I am off all hard food and just this week I have lost nearly 10 pounds. I am looking at getting back to near my best BMI which is 35 pounds away. I passionately hate what LA did with his cycling career but oddly enough I am drawing some inspiration from him. Might re-read "it's not about the bike". I last read it in 1999 and gave it to a buddy who had a friend with cancer. Well I'll check in later. Next round of radiation is tomorrow.
    Any of you survivors feel free to add your experiences please.
    Last edited by sookpuppet; 06-30-2015 at 04:34 AM.

  2. #2
    pmf
    pmf is offline
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    My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. We sought out two opinions and went with Johns Hopkins for treatment. It was an hour away in Baltimore, but I think it was the right choice. Doctors vary quite a bit. Don't be timid in getting a second opinion. The guy we didn't go with wanted to do stuff that the guy we did go with said wasn't necessary.

    My wife was, as you certainly are, scared. It was a tense time. I wanted to slap the nurse who gave her a pink bag with cancer literature in it and said "face it, you've got cancer". She had surgery (a lumpectomy) and it came back pre-cancerous (whatever that means). She still goes to Hopkins for monitoring, but they've found nothing to worry about. If I ever need any serious care, I know where i'm going and it ain't Fairfax Inova Hospital.

    Try keeping a positive attitude if you can. Easy for me to say. They did catch it early. I wish you good luck.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    F*** cancer. Hard to think of anything else that can be said.

    My grandmother had died at age 42 from Hodgkin's. Finally, just recently, got my father to tell me her age when she died (he never talks about it).

    Other grandmother died in her eighties or so- jaw (?) cancer, something unusual. I figured as a farm woman, she must've smoked or chewed, but I'm told she had none of that. Crap......yeah I got all kinds of dormant, genetic time bombs.

    Best of luck with all this fighting. Damn effing cancer.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    These guys are reported to beat it often.

    Gerson Institute

    Cancer sucks

  5. #5
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    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    You are young and being stage 1, it sounds like it was caught early. Hang in there and fight. Look at this as an opportunity to re prioritize. None of us know when the end might come. My dad was 54 when struck with a heart attack. I wish he had worked less and enjoyed the family more. (I was 10).

    All my best.

  6. #6
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    First off I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

    Secondly, Attitude matters. The whole thing is scary as hell..... it easy to let yourself get stuck living in the future, try to live In the present...... control what you can control.

    Finally, surround yourself with energy givers & avoid energy drainers.

    Wishing you the best.

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  7. #7
    We have met the enemy...
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    I'm sorry to read this--

    Agree with PMF (second opinions are worth it, always...) and with Len--attitude does matter a great deal--and I think finding inspiration from LA is a good thing.

    You are young, relatively healthy and they caught it early--stage one.

    So you need to focus on the project at hand--getting healthy and cancer-free. You have to be able to imagine the future--seeing the kids graduate would be a good goal and visualize that happening, visualize health, and visualize letting the cancer leave your body while you are being treated.
    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
    John Rogers

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    In completing due diligence for suspected heart issues, (whilst being reasonably sure it was my ulcer), a routine CT scan (and sharp-eyed radiologist) discovered a small lump on my thyroid that they felt I should have looked at. Having had experience reading scans, I had already determined that what was there likely was a malignancy. After further scans and a subsequent biopsy it was determined it was in fact cancerous. Having already resigned myself to that prior to the results of the biopsy, I was not as stressed as you may think.

    What really sent me for a loop was the nature of the malignancy; while most people get one of two, typically easy to treat variants, I instead got diagnosed with medullary thyroid carcinoma (no radiation and little chemo effectiveness). Worse, there typically was a genetic component associated with it, so I had the added stress of awaiting pathology's determination as to which variant it was and if it would affect my children (thankfully it was sporadic, not genetic). The worst part is this cancer never truly goes away, requiring monitoring for the rest of my life, the proverbial waiting for the shoe to drop syndrome, every few months.

    So, even having prepared myself I still had that "ah, f*ck", kick to the gut moment, just like you did. And it sucks. And it's likely no one will understand just how much it sucks other than you or someone who has gone through it. And it will suck afterwards, when you beat it, that people will ask "how are you feeling" with that morbid, walking in a cemetery tone. But you know what? You'll eventually come to terms with the whole thing and will likely look at EVERYTHING somewhat differently.

    I wish you the best in what is sure to be a taxing (mentally, emotionally and physically) challenge. As someone said earlier, the right attitude helps, positive, pragmatic and realistic. Good luck and keep us up to date.

  9. #9
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    Best wishes and Prayers for you and your family. You are correct in that we all are living with the disease, just don't know it. My father passed fighting this sh@#6t way to young and I am sure I will too. Live strong and never surrender.

  10. #10
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    I wish you the best and that you will be able to beat this and watch your kids grow up and your future grand children.
    While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. - Stephen R. Covey.

  11. #11
    Eddy 53:11
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    Best to you. Stay positive and focused on your future. You can beat this.
    Live vicariously through yourself.
    There are no physical laws that govern the will.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the sage advice and best wishes. I feel positive but as with life there will be highs and lows I am sure. Second opinion I am not really sure about as the next hospital is hours away and I have a busy job and such. The radiation treatments are standard first stage treatment so that should do it, fingers crossed. If that isn't enough then yes second opinion time. Len J as usual your advice so often mirrors my own thoughts just in a much better style of writing.
    Bluecheesehead, yeah I hear you on prioritizing. I want to hug my kids all the time but I'm not a hugger so that will scare the **** out of them. Just keep chasing them and a lot less getting angry over, in the end, trivial ****. Plus shouting isn't good for my voice box. Lucky them.
    Wetworks thanks for the firsthand account. Yeah I hate pity and charity, that's why we aren't telling anyone, I'm alive and kicking and I don't want to be pitied, for both my and my family's sake.

  13. #13
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    Wishing you all the best and looking forward to reading your reports about riding and stupid lounge stuff. Kia Kaha!

  14. #14
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    Wishing you the best in fighting this. There is something to be said (esp. in cases when there is a well established protocol) with getting on with the treatment and not delaying and causing additional stress by second guessing. I understand completely what you are saying about Lance. Lance's book came out about the same time my wife was facing chemo and radiation. It certainly helped me to see a guy who went through chemo winning the tour at that time.

  15. #15
    Master debator.
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    My brother is almost able to go back to work after dealing with lung cancer for a couple of years, apart from numbness in his hands from chemo he is cancer-free. My sister died 2 years ago from pancreatic cancer, she chose not to tell the family except for one sister. Ny father didn't die from cancer, but he had spots on his lungs, COPD got him first.

    I would also get a second opinion, and I would learn and study up about your particular type as much as possible. I had atrial fibrillation a while back, and I armed myself with as much knowledge of what it was and the possible remedies as I could. You want to educate yourself so you know what the doctors are talking about, and so you know the correct questions to ask, and it helps mentally to know what you are up against so it's less scary.

    If I have learned anything from my own and others experiences, it's to try and educate yourself, and tell other people important to you. You'd be surprised at how much your friends and family really do care, how much they would want to know, and how much support they can offer you.

    Good luck!
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    And it will suck afterwards, when you beat it, that people will ask "how are you feeling" with that morbid, walking in a cemetery tone.

    My neighbor just got over breast cancer. I made this mistake at first- "How are you feeling??" It was sincere but I could tell by her reaction, basically just brushing it off, that it's past history. Sure, most cancer is an ongoing battle, but at the moment it's GONE, so I'm savoring that. I get it now!

    John's friend is starting treatment for his brain, and it's frustrating b/c 1) they don't talk about it (his wife will talk to our mutual friend, who is acting as the gatekeeper of info) and 2) John only talks about regular stuff with his friend. He lets his friend bring it up.

    This is understandable, they don't want to make it the focus of everything, and his wife doesn't want to repeat the same story constantly. But also difficult to not know exactly what's happening. They know we're here for any help they might need, that's all we can do.

  17. #17
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    Great Perspective IMO

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joannamontgomery/why-i-no-longer-say-fck-cancer_b_6801334.html


    "You know that icky feeling you get in your stomach when you're fighting with someone ... when the conflict hangs over your head like a dark cloud, robbing you of feeling joy at any given point in your day? Well, that's how I often felt when I was in the mindset of "fighting" my disease. It was stressful, and at times exhausting."

    "Having done it both ways now, "fighting" disease with a battlefield mentality vs. dealing with disease from a place of knowledge and gratitude, I can say that, for me, the latter is a much more peaceful, joyful way to live. This doesn't mean I'm not a fighter. I am. Until my last breath I'll continue to pursue the best treatment options, going wherever I have to go, doing whatever I have to do to get them. But I'll do it with love, for myself and my family, grateful for the opportunity.

    And cursing cancer or anything else, particularly something powerful and dangerous? Why poke the bear? Why muster inside me that kind of anger or negativity?
    For me, cancer is a chronic illness. I'll treat it wholeheartedly each time it flares up, and do whatever I can between occurrences to keep the disease at bay for as long as possible. And I'll live my life with joy and gratitude in the meantime. Because peace is less stressful and more sustainable than war, and love is more powerful than hate. Always."



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  18. #18
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    I am going to get a tattoo after I get an all clear from the docs. Some really tacky designs out there but who am I to critique other cancer sufferers' tastes. The wife has promised me a dirty kinky weekend away as well, she knows what motivates me. The pain in the throat has subsided, the irony is the radiation will slowly lead to more pain again. this is what the mask that they screw your head down to immobilize it looks like.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dealing with Cancer : My version-radiationmask.jpg  

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    My thoughts are with you, SP.

  20. #20
    Non non normal
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    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have a cancer infused family. My Dad lived with peace and joy for the most part of his last cancer which took his life. He fought off cancer two times before and lived a full life for 78 years. For survivors, cancer is often a gift of clarity. Every day is a beautiful gift and when you fight your way through this you will remember just how special TODAY really is.
    Last edited by bigrider; 06-08-2015 at 01:30 PM.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  21. #21
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    Hell Ya, **** Cancer man. Fight ON! God be with you and your family and I wish you the very VERY best.

  22. #22
    half-fast
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    That head mask sort of freaks me out. Be strong.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10ae1203 View Post
    That head mask sort of freaks me out. Be strong.
    It freaked me out at first as I am sometimes a bit closetphobic[sic]. Mr first MRI sent my heart rate into zone 1 Now I see it as my friend. When the machine fires up I always tell it "Do your magic please" When the radiation is going on you can't swallow or move your throat. I'm paranoid about that and feel like every heartbeat is moving my face inches, the brain is a strange thing. Thanks for the wishes.

    I have found it helps to keep your eyes open. More sensory perception controls the panic a lot. I see why they blindfold prisoners to unsettle them.
    Last edited by sookpuppet; 06-07-2015 at 06:29 PM.

  24. #24
    Misfit Toy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christine View Post
    And it will suck afterwards, when you beat it, that people will ask "how are you feeling" with that morbid, walking in a cemetery tone.
    This is so damn true. Once a week a friend of mine back east calls, it's the same thing. "How are you feeling" I think he expects me to announce my impending death one of these days.

    I'm a stage one ovarian cancer survivor. Sock, you and I are very lucky people -- early detection! Treatment may suck, but you can and will come through this.
    It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.

    Don't make me go all honey badger on your ass

  25. #25
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    Do whatever you need to do, but don't let people tell you that have to be optimistic and think positive. They do that so that they can feel better.

    I loved this video

    Barbara Ehrenreich on Optimism (and experiences with optimists while she was suffering from breast cancer)

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