Friday Jul 31, 2009

8 years and counting...

Another year and another milestone with my battle with cancer.  8 years cancer free.  I view it as having two birthdays: September 14th, when I came into this world and August 1st when I was given the chance to fight for 8 more years.  My life odometer is approaching 49 and it seems like yesterday that I noticed my blinking "check engine light."  I recently got my (now yearly) dose of needles, xrays and the seldom loved CT scan.  While I have had my urologist reset the engine light for another year, general health maintenance is always wise.  Not that I desire anymore needles since my second birthday, I was just treated to a cortisone injection into my left shoulder to help fight arthritis and shoulder stiffness.  The pain relief was instant but my eyes got wide with what looked like a pipe instead of a syringe.

Another year has passed and there are people who have lost the battle.  It remains difficult for me to hear of people in my local community who did not get that 2nd birthday as given to me.  Children who have lost the battle to cancer remains the most troubling for me.  While I have had the opportunity to grow into an adult, no child deserves to have their short life ended prematurely due to an illness.  Surviving over children who have lost the battle with cancer still causes me some guilt.  Knowing that I am a fighter brings some relief.  The majority of the relief comes from talking about the illness and promoting early detection via education.  Get yourself a yearly checkup no matter what is your current situation.  I'm living proof.  You are no different than an automobile when it comes to maintenance and early detection.  Continuing to drive with your check engine light on is basically denial which can prove costly for your automobile as well as yourself.

I admire Lance Armstrong for his cancer battle.  He inspired me and keeps me going with mine.  Farah Fawcett remains a remarkable woman for the documentary of her own battle with cancer that she ultimately lost.  Patrick Swayze is as courageous as anyone could be with his own battle with cancer.  With these type of people as inspirations (Randy Pausch included), I cannot stop fighting for those who have lost the battle with cancer. 

I'll keep fighting for you, one second birthday at a time...

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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.

Monday Apr 07, 2008

Randy Pausch Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Here is a clip from his last lecture.  Gut wrenching but at the same time some worthy advice.  Make it count...  I certainly do and can relate to him.  ABC News will be showing a program this Wed April 9th, 2008 @ 10pm/9 CST.  Here's to Randy.


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


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