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A Humorous Look at the Bright Side of Cancer... and There Is One

November 17th, 2015

Tell Me Your Story #2 (Update 2)

Cancer BookDear Marie,

Attached is my latest “My Story” update.  Also attached is the cover of my latest book, which I refer to in the piece.  Love your blog and would love to contribute to it again!

Steve

Endings as Beginnings

When I last updated “My Story” (March 2014), I had recently “beaten” cancer only to learn that chemo had caused me congestive heart failure (CHF).
While cancer had been a full-blown battle, CHF would become a truce, a stalemate, a kissing-one’s-sister diplomatic compromise; on doctor’s orders, and by commonsensical dictate, I would need to exercise moderation in most things—food, drink, moods, physical activities. No problem—except that I had always purposefully lived life to the fullest! How might one live fully in a moderate way without slipping into a quicksand pit of sticky contradictions? This problem inspired the tongue-in-cheek title of my most recent book—“I’d Rather Have Cancer.”
One way in which I did “battle” CHF was by walking. It is a moderate exercise generally, but I did not walk in a moderate way—three to five fairly brisk miles daily. Intuitively I sensed that this could be the way to ease my heart back to health despite the “irreversible damage” wrought by chemo. As a bonus, the mood-calming, idea-sparking, slow-motion-sightseeing qualities of walking soon made this my favorite activity irrespective of health benefits. My CHF symptoms (such as labored breathing while supine) steadily faded. Then, four months ago, an echocardiogram revealed that my heart now functions somewhat normally. I walk on…
However, several weeks after that, a routine CT-scan evidenced that cancer had snuck back into my picture, having reestablished itself in two tiny lung nodules. To my self-prescribed immoderate walks I now added immoderate amounts of vitamin C—my heart condition, even improved as it is, severely limits my traditional treatment options, so I would have to fight it largely on my own.
Then last week I had a follow-up CT-scan: in three months, the smaller of the two nodules has not grown and the larger has shrunk in half!
Perhaps I ought to title my next book, “I’d Rather Be Alive.” Meanwhile, I’ll keep on writing, keep on walking, and keep on wolfing down vitamin C.

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4 thoughts on “Tell Me Your Story #2 (Update 2)

  1. Glad to hear again about Steve! Honestly, the first post had me worried, but trying to be positive, praying for a stranger who writes posts on friend’s blogs! I always want to rush to people with cancer issues in their lungs to look up the treatment that was done experimentally (at first) on my step-father, and has been a success for many ever since! Some “epi drug”. It is now on the market and they are looking at using it for other cancer types. Originally, it was for melanoma cancers that spread to lungs and other areas. Just glad to hear Steve is pressing on. Hang in there!

    1. Hi B,

      I know what you mean about being worried. I correspond quite a bit with people I have met because of our common experience of going through cancer. I do not always get a response.

      How is your step-father doing?

      I’m glad to hear that Steve is pressing on as well. He’s a good writer, don’t you think?

      -Marie

  2. I think some days you’re right about that, Marie, but some days not–can we blame those days on chemo brain? Why not? (ha-ha) I have appreciated, though, the chance to spout off on your blog, and to make your acquaintance via it. And B–I am glad to hear about the “epi drug,” (And that it helped your step-father) info that I will keep at least in my back pocket–so, thanks!

    1. Steve,

      Like I said on Facebook recently, “Trying to write a book with (permanent) chemo brain is like trying to swim with half your arms and legs.” I’m having a much harder time on my second book than I did on my first. I guess thinking I was going to die gave me no excuses and I got my bahookie in gear. Oh well, I am alive, so who am I to complain?

      I’ve enjoyed getting to know you as well, so spout away.

      I hope you never need any sort of epi drug, Steve, and can keep that blasted cancer in remission.

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family, eh?

      -Marie

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Marie de Haan

Marie de Haan

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