The Cancer thread...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by CalWizrd, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. CalWizrd, Dec 2, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015

    CalWizrd Suspended

    CalWizrd

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    #1
    OK, following Renzatic's advice, I'm starting up the Cancer thread.

    To reiterate what I mentioned previously, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer on July 6th, 2014. My thoughts immediately went to "How soon am I going to die?". The oncologist there told my significant other "4 to 8 months".

    I was diagnosed in a hospital in Raleigh, NC, but knew I was going to go to Sloan Kettering in Manhattan to have my best chances. My first visit there was in August 2014, accompanied by my significant other (we might as well be married, but just didn't bother) and my 2 kids. The doctor was pretty noncommittal as far as longevity guesses, but he was (and remains) pretty upbeat.

    Since it had progressed to Stage IV (multiple tumors on other organs), surgery was a non-starter, so I immediately began a chemo regimen. The first "mix" worked for a while, but in February 2015 the tumors had reversed from shrinking to growing. They changed the chemo formulation, and that has been working ever since.

    Oddly enough, I have not experienced a single minute of discomfort from the chemo (they give you some steroids first to combat nausea, and that stuff really does the trick), with the exception of neuropathy in my hands and feet. That is a condition where your nerves get generally f**ked up, causing numbness, tingling, pain and loss of feeling. I'm taking Lyrica for my feet, and it is a gift from heaven! The feeling in my hands generally sucks (I drop stuff a lot). It's a real bummer especially since I love to work with my hands.

    As for the progress, the last CAT scan showed many of the tumors continuing to shrink, while the rest had not grown at all.

    I'm a firm believer in playing whatever hands you are dealt, and doing the best you can. So far, I consider myself very lucky.
     
  2. lobeyonekenobi macrumors regular

    lobeyonekenobi

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    #2
    Good luck with your journey CalWizrd, it's an inspiration to see you are dealing with this with such positivity.
     
  3. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

    haxrnick

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    #3
    This so much. I'm a firm believer that even in the worst of times, if you can stay positive, it helps tremendously in every way.
     
  4. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #4
    Like MSU -vs- OSU? Bwahahaha....;)
     
  5. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #5
    Cancer gives you prophetic abilities? Maybe it isn't so bad.
     
  6. CalWizrd thread starter Suspended

    CalWizrd

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    #6
    Oops! Fixed it.
     
  7. BradWould macrumors 6502

    BradWould

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    #7


    I'm by no means in the same situation as you and I wish you all the best in your treatments.

    But I'd also like to share my story. In early August this year I got a referral to see a dermatologist about severe dry skin on my hands. Where this was my first visit, he did a full body skin exam. He noticed a spot on my shoulder and said he wanted to take a biopsy "just in case. It's probably nothing..." (Understandably, I'm sure this is a common statement before results are back). He prescribed some cream for my hands and sent me on my way. About 10 days later I got 2 independent pathologists reports and was diagnosed with a rare form of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It's called Marginal Zone Lymphoma and it presents itself (oddly enough) outside of the lymphatic system. I had no other info at the time, just the diagnosis. I was floored. I'm 34 years old and at the time my wife was 7 months pregnant and we have a 3 year old daughter. It was very stressful, to say the least, waiting for answers. After a whirlwind of scans, blood tests, bone marrow biopsies, and 2 minor surgeries I recently received my prognosis. It was all good news (well as good as cancer news gets I suppose). It has been determined that my cancer is very slow moving and only presenting in the skin. While it's not curable it is highly treatable. I am scheduled to start radiation treatments next week and the doctors tell me it has a 95% chance of success. I will need to see specialists every 4 months for the rest of my life because, however slow moving it is, it's essentially a form of blood cancer and could eventually spread. But an appointment a few times a year is a small price to pay. In terms of length of life they are talking in decades instead of months or years.

    Last week I went in to get the marking and tattoos required for my radiation treatments. As I sat in the waiting room in my hospital gown and green housecoat I looked around at the people there with me. I felt guilty. Me sitting there feeling basically healthy while others were visibly suffering. Cancer has touched almost everyone in one way or another. But it's not something I ever thought about as a reality much less a possibility. It's incredible what a little perspective can do for a person. I look at my 3 year old and my 6 week old and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world.
     
  8. CalWizrd thread starter Suspended

    CalWizrd

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    #8
    Best of luck to you. The best advice I can give you is to live your life with as much joy as possible.

    F*** CANCER!
     
  9. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #9
    This is the key right here. We can't control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we react to and deal with it.

    My thoughts are with you. Keep up the fight!


    I was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer in February. Living in Houston, I definitely have access to great cancer care, so that was definitely a plus.

    I completed 16 weeks of Chemo, had a double mastectomy (and 21 lymph nodes removed), and 6 weeks of radiation ended in mid-October. The plan is to take a pill daily, a shot once a month, and a check-up every 3 months.

    Chemo was certainly a bitch, and my body still hasn't recovered fully from it. Bone pain and plain old exhaustion are left over, but as I said in the other thread, it certainly beats the alternative. My hair is growing back, which makes my kids very happy (though, having no hair during the summer in Texas was awesome!). They're 8, and I'd do it for another 100 weeks if I had to.
     
  10. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #10
    I totally get this. When I was getting chemo, there would be 4 or 5 others in there at the same time. Most of them were a lot older, and some were going through it a second or third time. The fight and the strength they all showed, even under the direst of circumstances, was inspiring.

    I definitely feel luckier every day. The support I received from everyone in my life, and many I didn't even know made everything so much easier to deal with.

    I wish you luck with your fight. My thoughts are with you and your family. I'd tell you to stay strong, but it sounds like you have plenty of motivation!
     
  11. CalWizrd thread starter Suspended

    CalWizrd

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    #11
    Thanks for your thoughts. I hope everything goes great for you for the next 50 years!

    Yes, M.D. Anderson would have been my second choice if I couldn't have been treated at Sloan Kettering.

    Sadly, my first wife was diagnosed (too late) with breast cancer in 1994. Things back then weren't anywhere near where they've advanced to now. She was successfully treated for about a year and a half with Tamoxifen... she was too advanced for surgery since it had already spread to the bones in her back. After the 18 months, it just stopped working. She went through chemo for a while, but when she was ultimately switched to the drug Taxol (on a Friday), she was violently sick all weekend and was admitted to the hospital on Sunday night. She died the following Friday.

    It was the most horrible day of my life... and the day before our 28th anniversary. She was 49.

    F*** CANCER
     
  12. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #12
    I was diagnosed in June of 2012 with stage 4 breast cancer. Chemo, double mastectomy, and radiation. Two weeks prior to the mastectomy, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and we went through radiation together.

    I never experienced any nausea during chemo. But I was left with neuropathy, like some of the others above, and need to walk with a cane even though I take Neurontin (which has helped considerably). After removing 26 lymph nodes, I also have lymphedema in my right arm and have to be very careful. The slightest scratches or bug bites will cause swelling.

    Shall we discuss chemo brain? Nah.

    In March I'll celebrate 3 years in remission, but the scars (both literal and figurative) are still with me. I have a pink ribbon tattooed on my left side to cover the port scar, and have since had an entire chest tat to cover the entirety of the mastectomy scar. My daughter is waiting for me to go to a topless beach. :)

    Life is good. It's an adventure that changes you, but you get through it the best that you can.
     
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #13
    Thanks all for sharing your stories. You guys rock! **** cancer!
     
  14. CalWizrd thread starter Suspended

    CalWizrd

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    #14
    I am happy that you got through the ordeal OK. Keep up the good spirits, and definitely go visit that topless beach!

    F*** CANCER
     
  15. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #15
    This thread really opens up a lot of feels for me. I lost my mother-in-law to cancer a year and a half ago (actually, her death was more attributable to an unfortunate side effect of her treatment). While it makes me happy to hear people's stories of recovery and triumph - and I do sincerely wish everyone all the best, I really do - it's also really hard to read such stories and be left to wonder, "Why? Why couldn't Barbara's story have had a happy ending?"

    God bless you all, I say with much love and happiness that I'm truly happy for everyone here who has overcome this terrible disease. But right now I think I'm gonna go close my office door and cry for a while.
     
  16. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

    haxrnick

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    #16
    We will see you in the playoffs. :D
     
  17. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #17
    Go Bucks!!!!
     
  18. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Statistically, you're just going to beat us by at most a few decades. We're all dying, and it doesn't matter who get's there first. The only thing that does matter is your state of mind. It's better to be a clear-headed person who's dying tomorrow, than an idiot who's living to 100.

    So to you—and really anyone on this forum—here's to a little clarity of mind and insight into our existence and how little it means. But in this brief and meaningless moment, let's also rejoice over the boundless love and joy we can feel and share with others. Hopefully the flip side of unfortunate circumstances is that it can make us more aware of that good side in all of us and hasten our journey towards it.

    I've been listening to the podcast Jesse vs. Cancer, a very funny and insightful look at some of things you folks are dealing with ... that we're all going to deal with in one way or another. I highly recommend it.
     
  19. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #19
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    We're here as caretakers of this great earth, let's make the most of it.
     

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