Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet. I am kinder, friendlier, more patient & understanding. I appreciate everything in life: people, family, friends, art, music & poetry. I mentor other cancer patients.
Looking back to that day in November 2019, I should have listened to my body. Aches & pains sometimes are telling you something is wrong. Walking around with a slight limp for a few months was not arthritis - it was a walnut-sized tumor growing on my femur. A few months later, my beautiful wife hears me coughing and wheezing and says "go to the doctor." I was thinking it was my mild asthma. A simple X-ray showed 2 golf ball-sized tumors in my lower left lung. An MRI of my skull showed a pea size lesion on my cerebellum.
I wasn’t a candidate for lung surgery as the tumors were in a bad spot (is any spot good?). A four hour surgery was done on New Year's Eve 2019 to scrape out the tumor and insert a 15” metal rod in my femur so it wouldn’t break. Next was ten sessions of radiation to my leg followed by 1 treatment of high dose targeted therapy (radiation) to my brain. On my 30th wedding anniversary (1-20-2020) I started my first treatment of chemo & immunotherapy. Two and a half years later my scans showed NO measurable tumors anywhere! Ok, the doctor wouldn't say “ remission or “ NED” , I get it. Cancer is a sneaky SOB but I’ll take it any day.
I am currently on KEYTRUDA (thank you MERCK!) every 4 weeks for life, as maintenance, so I won’t be "ringing the bell “ anytime soon. I spend my days being a volunteer for LUNGevity & Cancer Hope Network as a mentor to cancer patients. It’s part of my healing. I currently have 25 people throughout the US that I stay in touch with. I’m a retired sales rep and enjoying playing my guitar and harmonicas, tending my vegetable garden (weather permitting), going to concerts, listening to music and seeing my three adult children once a week.
I appreciate each day that I wake up even more than before, and am so grateful for the amazing life, family, and friends that I have been blessed with.
I live each day to the fullest. I realized that I am only in competition with myself! I can be the best version of myself! It's ME vs. ME!