7 years and counting…

Well today I hit another milestone with my battle with cancer. 7 years cancer free…  In fact my doctor informed me that I am finally on a  yearly checkup schedule.  I looked back and added up that it only took 102 procedures (surgeries, CT scans, xrays and blood tests) to get me here.  That is a lot of needles, pain and mental anguish but it was all worth it.  I continue to fight for my health and for those who were not so fortunate to keep life.  This past year, my son’s basketball team had a player’s Dad who lost the battle to brain cancer.  His Dad was buried on a Saturday morning and that very player was at the game Saturday afternoon.  Life goes on despite how difficult it may be to move on.  That is courage.  I also lost my Mother-in-Law this past year.  Complications of a broken hip and Parkinson’s disease…  My wife turned to me in the car after the funeral and said "Life goes on."  That was courage despite being devastated by the loss of her Mom.  I find myself very fortunate to have beaten the odds and feel obligated to keep fighting for those who cannot.  Randy Pausch demonstrated courage and the fight in exemplary fashion.   Positive attitude is a powerful force if you need to do battle.  Taking on the fight one day at a time is the only way to deal with what appeared 7 years ago to be an unsurmountable obstacle.  Experiencing Morphine and Oxycodone was a disappointment.  The 36 CT scans all sucked because I had to have them with active contrast.  One has to drink 2 tall cannisters (see picture) worth of this ill tasting barium sulphate suspension.  It is hard to drink and you get to drink and extra cup of this slime right before the procedure. It is an important test because the contrast lights you up like a lamp on the CT scan with the iodine based IV they inject into your arm during the procedure.  The solution makes you taste metal in your mouth and feel queasy in your abdomen.  I can tell you I was scared 7 years ago.  So much so that I had to keep moving.  Staying still felt like death to me so I moved despite the pain.  I also needed a physical challenge.  I was instructed to be out of work for 1 week after my 1st surgery.  I went to work the day of the surgery, left in the morning, checked into the hospital, had the surgery and then went back to work the next day.  I had to because it was a challenge and I was moving.  1 week later I was back running my usual roadwork regiment despite still having stainless steel staples in me.  I tried to take them out because they were so uncomfortable but that is a story for another day.  So the thing for me was to keep moving and mentally distract myself from the long road going 60 months cancer free with no hotspots.  I don’t know how I did it but I managed to miss 0 days of work for all of the procedures these past years.  If you take one thing away from reading this: get yourself checked regularly because cancer *is* curable.  I wouldn’t be writing right now if it wasn’t true.  Remember 7 years ago I was a dead man walking with a sentence but decided I was going to fight with all my might.  Others have done so as well.

3 thoughts on “7 years and counting…

  1. Hi Bob,
    I’m one of the SGE guys you met in Prague a few months ago. I just want to say that you (and your wife) is absolutely right – courage is the thing that makes the bond to life in such situations stronger than any medicine.
    It’s just 5 months since my wife was struck by brain hemorrhage. There’s little that can be done, except fast brain surgery and big dose of hope. And of course, even more courage.
    Very first days I thought that our life has ended, but then I realized that nothing is lost and we started to fight.
    And thanks to her courage (and maybe also thanks to mine courage), she is here, and slowly returning to normal life.
    I wish you good luck and many healthy years.

  2. Bob,
    I have friends and family that are and have fought the cancer battle. You are correct when you say it is a tough battle but "cancer is curable" and a good attitude is one of your best weapons My best friend for 44 years is 1 year cancer free after being at MD Anderson in Houston for many months. I too wish you many healthy years. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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