Friday Aug 01, 2008

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.

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The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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