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  • How Cancer changed my life..

    If there ever was one single moment in my life the altered the course of the rest of my life it was cancer. Who knew that I would look back and say I know the exact date where my life met the cross roads and took a turn. The exact day that would change my path forever.

    Up until I was diagnosed I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to be a Marine. Career day in high school when the Marines showed up, that cemented it. I spoke to the recruiters and I was hooked. No problem for them recruiting me when I graduated. Well that was until I heard the words "you have cancer". This was Nov 18th 1988, I was 16 years old and in 11th grade. Anyone that has dealt with recruiters knows that they call you every so many weeks to keep you interested. As I was under going treatment they kept calling until one day I said to the recruiter that I had cancer. He said he would call me back. Not but a few minutes later he called back and said I would not be able to join. I was not happy but I knew when I was diagnosed that the Marines would not take me. I finished 11th grade with the help of home tutors and attended my Jr. Prom wearing a wig. I started my senior year and relapsed soon after. Due to the high dose chemo I decided to drop out of school. The work load was to much to handle during my treatments. After I recoved from the high dose chemo and the bone marrow transplant, I decided to return to school the following year. For me a GED just didn't feel right. To be honest it sucked to have to attend school after all of my friends had graduated. To make matters worse I would graduate with my younger brother. But this is where fate had brought me and I met my future wife. That single point in time, that fork in the road had changed my life from that of a Marine to a life where I would marry a girl I would have otherwise never met. Cancer is a terrible thing, no denying that. But I look back and say if it were not for cancer I would not have the life I have today.

    While you undergo treatment for cancer you may question Why? Why Me? Why Now? That I cannot answer but I can say follow the path, stay stong and positive, you never know where it will lead you.

    This thread is for everyone that wishes to share their story.
    If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away. ~ Tung-Shan
    If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. ~ Bruce Lee
    Please sponsor me for the 2011 LiveSTRONG Challenge Philadelphia.
    My Blog

    Diagonosed 1988. Left I/O - 3 rounds of chemo
    Relasped 1989. RPLND - 3 rounds HDC - Bone Marrow transplant.
    There is Army Strong, There is Live Strong and then there is me. Crazy Strong

  • #2
    I loved reading this Jay and it really helped me understand your ordeal.

    Boyce and I were driving through a tiny town called Bath, North Carolina and we stopped for breakfast at a little country kitchen. When we got up to leave, we saw a jar on the counter collecting money for a woman who needed money for cancer treatments. Then we noticed the woman's picture on the jar was the one ringing us up for breakfast. We took a lot of time with her, talking about cancer, praying with her and allowing her to tell her story. We wrote her a check to help with her treatments and left. Yesterday we got a letter from her, she remembered us (must have gotten our address off the check) and said she was cancer free. It lifted my heart and reminded how cancer has changed my life.
    Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
    Current DVT
    Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

    "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

    Comment


    • #3
      Dearest Margaret...small acts of kindness have such BIG rewards on the heart. What a great story!
      Maria
      *Hubby Andy diagnosed 02/13/07, Left IO 02/16/07 *Stage 1A Non-Seminoma (65% Immature Teratoma / 35% Embryonal Carcinoma) *RPLND 04/27/07 Lymph Nodes-ALL CLEAR
      *Complications from Chylous Ascites so Laparotomy 05/03/07 *No food for 10 weeks, TPN only *07/18/07 Removed drains, tubes, picc line *CT Scan 07/31/07-ALL CLEAR
      *CT Scan 02/12/08-ALL CLEAR *Hydrocele surgery 06/19/08 *CT Scan 9/30/08 and 03/06/09 shows <cm left lung nodule - under surveillance

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm struggling with this

        Past two days were interesting. My career (yuck, I never wanted one of those) is resource management for Preclincal pharma. One of those higher in the food chain decided it would be beneficial to do a site visit to upper NY to go over issues in the updating of our timelines (translation, the muckity mucks wanted to take the corporate helocopter and needed a body for a full cargo to justify-and yes, I was even told that). No harm, no foul, and I thought wow, someone like me King for a day, cool. The meetings went well, although very basic. My SME's (not the guy who hung out with Capt. Hook, but Subject Matter Experts) were receptive, appreciative, hell they were nice. The person who set this trip up for me was great the whole time. I like him and have a great respect for him. I was on cloud nine. I'm back from my hell, back to work and making a difference. Right before we left I was confronted by the coordinator of this who asked, do you think this is a lack of training? I naively said, yes, but I think we're on our way to a clearer understanding of what's required and the data should sure up fairly soon. Off we went to the helicopter to fly home and the head muckity muck asked me how things went. I said well when Mr. coordinator said fess up and put it on the line. There's a huge gap in training. For those of you who know me, I'm not timid, but I am quiet until I have something to say. This is no one's fault, and it can be easily worked out. I let it go and we flew/drove back to work in silence. I called my Boss who was very supportive and even asked what he could do if I was feeling overwhelmed. That's when it struck me. I am doing my job and I'm positive I'm doing it well. It's corporate so sh*t like this happens all the time. My Boss is great and I am more than grateful (Boyce's [email protected] ex-boss comes to mind as the exact opposite). This should be water off my back, but I'm not a victim, I'm a [email protected]^^n Warrior. Higher food chain guy was out of line, but that's why they get paid the big bucks and I know it will smooth over in a short time. My Boss is fantastic and we have a mutual respect. But what is it they see when they look at me now? Cancer has changed my life. I'm just not exactly sure how right now.
        I Love My Pack!

        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          From Boyce

          Hey Mark,

          Sorry you went through the gauntlet today. A word of caution (nothing more) from me. Prior to my situation, my boss and I were Very close. He invited the whole family to his house for a weekend and we talked daily about a lot more than work. However, when it came time to do what he felt like he needed to do, all that friendliness went out the window.

          My nerves are understandably raw about this issue, but as a friend, I would suggest that you do what the boxing referee says and Protect Yourself at All Times.

          Best to all,

          Boyce
          Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
          Current DVT
          Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

          "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TCLEFT
            ...and I thought wow, someone like me King for a day, cool.
            You can be King for all time in my book.
            Scott, [email protected]
            right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jay68442
              But I look back and say if it were not for cancer I would not have the life I have today.
              Great post, Jason. Thanks for telling your story.
              Scott, [email protected]
              right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since


              Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!

              Comment


              • #8
                Jason, I second Scott's comment!
                Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Margaret
                  Hey Mark,

                  Sorry you went through the gauntlet today. A word of caution (nothing more) from me. Prior to my situation, my boss and I were Very close. He invited the whole family to his house for a weekend and we talked daily about a lot more than work. However, when it came time to do what he felt like he needed to do, all that friendliness went out the window.

                  My nerves are understandably raw about this issue, but as a friend, I would suggest that you do what the boxing referee says and Protect Yourself at All Times.

                  Best to all,

                  Boyce
                  I truly love you guys. Don't get me wrong. I fully anticipate this kind of thing. I've lived it for many years. I'm torn between, sorry I couldn't get to your needs, I was busy trying not to die, and give me hell, I don't want to be treated different. Seems I have the best excuse for any shortcoming I may have, but I freakin hate excuses. It's not them that's got me puzzled, it's my worst critic, me. And Scott, if I'm a King it's because I have true wealth, all of you. Crap, that sounds corny, but it's true. Boyce, believe me, I'm ready to rip the head off of anything that threatens all I hold dear. In short, I'm all over the place. I'm sure this isn't hormonal, trust me I'm sure. I seem to be dealing with a transition into someting else. I really don't know how to describe it. This feeling has been with me for a while now. It's not even necessarily bad, just different. Karen, it ain't a demon this time. Oh hell, I told you guys I was nuts (now I'm just nut), I think I'm just in a figuring out stage and I have a unique support I've never had before. Lucky you. Sorry for the rambling. I am OK. Much Love for your ears, shoulders and hearts.
                  Mental Me
                  I Love My Pack!

                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey Mark,
                    Sorry you had a rough day at the office. From the wording of your post it seems you are a little down and frustrated at the moment. Not quite your normal kick a$$ and take names attitude. Shrug it off and continue forward. Don't let some out of line suite get you down. Your way stronger then that.

                    As for this transitional period, you have many people here that are more then willing to talk and help you through it. Maybe one of us have already been there and can offer you that small glimmer of light that will make you see a little clearer.

                    PS. Your not the only "Nut" here. I was thinking of changing my avie to a picture of one ball.
                    If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away. ~ Tung-Shan
                    If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. ~ Bruce Lee
                    Please sponsor me for the 2011 LiveSTRONG Challenge Philadelphia.
                    My Blog

                    Diagonosed 1988. Left I/O - 3 rounds of chemo
                    Relasped 1989. RPLND - 3 rounds HDC - Bone Marrow transplant.
                    There is Army Strong, There is Live Strong and then there is me. Crazy Strong

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jay68442
                      Hey Mark,
                      Sorry you had a rough day at the office. From the wording of your post it seems you are a little down and frustrated at the moment. Not quite your normal kick a$$ and take names attitude. Shrug it off and continue forward. Don't let some out of line suite get you down. Your way stronger then that.

                      As for this transitional period, you have many people here that are more then willing to talk and help you through it. Maybe one of us have already been there and can offer you that small glimmer of light that will make you see a little clearer.

                      PS. Your not the only "Nut" here. I was thinking of changing my avie to a picture of one ball.
                      You better not Jay, I love this picture.
                      Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
                      Current DVT
                      Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

                      "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To pick up on this and steer this thread back to where it started....how cancer has changed my life...

                        Cancer has brought me to this forum, and I have met people I would never have known. I look at things with my eyes and mind more open and accepting. I am learning from everyone not just about cancer but about how we all look at life. I have learned that the muscular guy with tats has the most gentle of hearts. I wish to god that none of us needed to be here, but being here has brought a level of humanity to my life I am greatful for.

                        ...and I will never look at a tattoo the same way again (unless it's a steaming cup of coffee...which is still meaningless) Based on the description, the coyote fits what I know of Scott...but not an ounce of sly or a trickster.
                        Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Karen
                          Cancer has brought me to this forum, and I have met people I would never have known.
                          I second this my Jersey Sis! How has cancer changed my life? I've found great comfort in the words of members of this forum...from people I've never met, but feel like I've always known. It's amazing how the span of miles seem incredibly small as we share a common burden so unimaginable. Thank you to my newfound Forum Family...hugs and kisses from Cali (and a special kiss on the cheek for Joe "Already Bald" to make him turn ten shades of fuschia!)

                          Mark, you should write for Animal Planet or National Geographic or something . I was completely mesmerized about coyotes for a second there reading through your post. Scott, now I understand the avatar...remember what I said, polka dots would look great against that fur!!!
                          Maria
                          *Hubby Andy diagnosed 02/13/07, Left IO 02/16/07 *Stage 1A Non-Seminoma (65% Immature Teratoma / 35% Embryonal Carcinoma) *RPLND 04/27/07 Lymph Nodes-ALL CLEAR
                          *Complications from Chylous Ascites so Laparotomy 05/03/07 *No food for 10 weeks, TPN only *07/18/07 Removed drains, tubes, picc line *CT Scan 07/31/07-ALL CLEAR
                          *CT Scan 02/12/08-ALL CLEAR *Hydrocele surgery 06/19/08 *CT Scan 9/30/08 and 03/06/09 shows <cm left lung nodule - under surveillance

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MRMRSU
                            I second this my Jersey Sis! How has cancer changed my life? I've found great comfort in the words of members of this forum...from people I've never met, but feel like I've always known. It's amazing how the span of miles seem incredibly small as we share a common burden so unimaginable. Thank you to my newfound Forum Family...hugs and kisses from Cali (and a special kiss on the cheek for Joe "Already Bald" to make him turn ten shades of fuschia!)

                            Mark, you should write for Animal Planet or National Geographic or something . I was completely mesmerized about coyotes for a second there reading through your post. Scott, now I understand the avatar...remember what I said, polka dots would look great against that fur!!!
                            I didn't write it Maria, I referenced it. I can barely read. Maybe I could try Highlights childrens magazine to start composition.
                            I Love My Pack!

                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My two cents on how my life has changed......I know I’m not the oldest (in age) member here but I believe I’m one of the few having been diagnosed with TC at the ripe old age of 44. And because it was so recent, I can tell how it has changed my life already. As a devoutly religious man, I clung to my faith to get me through this and I am thankful for the continued blessings in my prognosis so far. If you can believe it, I was actually more scared about the I/O than about the pathology results – you guys on this board got me through those fears!

                              Before the news, I was already planning out the rest of our lives as our son started High School and my career has so far given me financial stability to plan ahead. We'd even purchased decent acreage of land to build our retirement/vacation home in the North Carolina mountains (watch out Margaret and Boyce!). My attitude was “I have no health issues (ha!) and I don’t need some stupid doctor to examine me for anything. I’m not overweight, never get a cold, sleep and eat well and I have no real pain anywhere so I’m good, thank you very much. Oh yeah! Almost forgot….. there’s this freaking MASS growing in my right testicle, but it’s really nothing…it will go away with time". Incredilbly, my own brother is a doctor and I chose to say nothing to him, knowing he’d be nagging me to get checked immediately. My life was on easy cruise control when…….. KABOOM! I’m thrown into this whirlwind of emotions and fear I had never experienced before – I mean, why should I have? I was INVINCIBLE.

                              The first Urologist I saw was very blunt… no prep talk, no easing in…. he just came out and said YOU HAVE CANCER AND IT NEEDS TO COME OUT. What?!?! What do you mean?!?! ……….. Today, I’m actually thankful for that doctor because if he had put sugar on the top of his diagnosis and made it less urgent, I may have ignored it and kept going, even though my testicle already felt like it weighed 50 pounds.

                              Today, I am a COMPLETELY different individual, taking my health and that of the ones I love VERY seriously. Because I believe living with cancer in any form becomes a lifestyle, I am now more conscious than ever to eat right and exercise – I know that’s hardly a guarantee, but it makes me feel better knowing that I’m doing what I can to help myself. The Good Lord eventually guided me to a great cancer center and an even better doctor. And for those poor souls who believe nothing can ever go wrong and that as long as there’s no pain they’ll be OK – I am living proof of what I preach. Thank you to all of you who contribute to the healthy exchange of ideas, support and camaraderie on this forum and believe me when I say that no matter what stage of the fight you are on, I keep you ALL in my prayers every day.
                              "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". Heb 11:1

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