LexieCat joined us on June 29, 2017 after taking advantage of low-dose CT screening for folks at risk for lung cancer. That test revealed a small highly suspicious single nodule that was surgically removed. She had a successful lobectomy; we all hoped she was one and done.
Lexie, a screen name for Teri Garvey, was a district attorney in Camden, NJ. In my younger years, Camden, across the Delaware River from Philly, where I lived, was an industrious town bustling with shipbuilding, soup maki
"You have lung cancer. You don't belong here. You gave the disease to yourself!" Those words represent an admonishment bordering on scorn that greeted my first and only in-person cancer support group session. It was fortunately small, populated by ladies, all who had breast cancer.
I smoked; my entire family smoked. I also served as a career US Army officer. I spent months breathing oil fire smoke during the First Gulf War; have instant olfactory recognition of "burn barrel smoke" so preva
I’ve been raging against scam cancer cures for almost 2 decades. Now I learn there is an expanding for-profit hospice industry that is transforming hospice care into a world of fraud and incompetent “care”.
Please read this November 28, 2022 expose in The New Yorker Magazine titled For-Profit Hustle.
This forum exists to provide information and comfort to those diagnosed with lung cancer. When facing slim odds at the end of my treatment rope, I was comforted knowing a reputable and car
The home phone suddenly rings startling me and causing quite a bit of alarm; we never use our land line, I don’t even remember our home phone number! My husband answers and the caller asks for me. I nervously pick up the almost archaic wired phone intrigued. Hi, the caller says, this is Astra Zeneca! My heart races and I ask, how can I help? The nice agent tells me that my Canadian province does not cover my (already approved!) targeted adjuvant therapy so far and thus I have to apply for their
From February 2004 to March 2021 I was a lung cancer patient. That is 17 years to reach the pinnacle outcome for our disease--cure! When I think of the people who did the heavy lifting but three rise to the top: wife Martha, oncology nurse Heather Belle, and oncologist Victor Horadam. Only these 3 were with me through every twist of my wild treatment ride. These are my contributors to cure.
Long suffering wife is a wholly inadequate term for describing Martha's burden. I'm not an easy going
This is a blog about lung cancer survival statistics
One of the first instincts that kicks in for almost all of us who have been devastated with a (lung) cancer diagnosis is to ask how long have we left to live. Any web search for survival rates returns dismal statistics and it is hard not to panic or at least get quite demoralized. When I told friends about my recent incidental diagnosis, one of them responded with utter shock but added “oh listen, my sister was given 3 months but lived 4
Today marks 6 years since my diagnosis. In 6 years, I've had surgery, chemo, more surgery, thyroid cancer, more chemo, radiation and SBRT. But I have survived and (mostly) thrived. The path hasn't been easy and I have a number of side effects that are trying, but I'm here. At the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Looking forward to next year's cancerversary!
Today, I celebrate 18 years of life after diagnosis with lung cancer. Normally, I'd paint my toes and post. Of course after 10 years, I had to invite more feet to the photo-celebration. But, on this day, indeed, in this week my hometown is ice-bound and my planning skills have waned because my celebratory bottle of Lungevity blue nail paint is exhausted. So, no photo this year.
There are so many lessons I've learned during my diagnostic, treatment and survival journey. Two among them bear m
It may not have been the miracle I was hoping for: shrinkage or tumor disappearance, from my most recent diagnostic scans but no growth and/or new metastases is nothing to be taken for granted. However, I did experience a miracle of sorts when the envelope I received at home from the "State of Maryland, Maryland SafeZones Automated Speed Enforcement" authority specifying and picturing yours truly exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph was for information purposes only. It was not an invoice. It was
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have provided many valuable tools to lung cancer survivors. They provide arenas for us to connect and communicate with other survivors, share our stories with a wider audience, and advocate on a grand scale. And they connect us to life-saving information about our specific lung cancers, research, clinical trials, and experts in the field.
During the pandemic, social media became especially important. Many were experiencing increases in anxiet
Life goes on. My warranty has been extended for another 90 days as all three scans from Sept. 23rd indicated stable and/or no new metastases. News with which I am extremely fond of saying, I can live. Though the radiologist's report that I received lists both non-small cell lung cancer and papillary thyroid cancer as "the indication," my endocrinologist feels what I have is thyroid cancer and likely have always had thyroid cancer. I wish I could say that will be for the lawyers to argue, but pec
My CT was on August 30th but I needed to wait till today to get the results—from a new medical oncologist. He’s my kind of guy achieving undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering before going to med school. We talked a bit on how things have improved since the dark ages of my diagnosis. I told him of my rabid scanziety driven by a 12-day dwell from test to results. He told me I’d not receive the same treatment if I was diagnosed today. I told him I was happy I was not being diagnosed tod
Speaking of side effects (at least I was in last week’s column, “Enough Already”) being a regular part of chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy; the big three non-surgical options for cancer patients, I am currently experiencing a new side effect which as it happens is a dream come true: weight loss. Which has enabled me to eat to my heart’s content without your typical consequences. Meaning, for now, I can be comfortable in whatever food I eat. As Curly Howard of The Three Stooges mi
As I approach my four-week anniversary of "the burning," I do so with cautious optimism that one day soon, I'll be walking upright once again and doing so without the assistance of my walker. No more leaning over at the waist to grab the walker's waist-high grab bars. No more pulling/pushing myself up as I try to gain leverage in order to balance my weight so as not to fall backwards or to the side. And finally, once standing, no more hopping on my right foot as I favor the left; the location wh
It all started innocently enough: on Crystal Beach in Galveston, Texas while enjoying a family vacation. Due to 11 years of chemotherapy, I have neuropathy in both feet. As a result, I never walk barefoot, especially on a beach, unless of course, I go into the water. Which on the Saturday before last, I did. When I returned to my beach chair, with my feet all sandy and wet, I elected not to put my sneakers and socks on for the 50-yard walk back to our accommodations. Oh (literally), how I wish I
(Again, not a cancer column. Given the title, it would be a pretty gruesome reference to my life in the cancer world if it were.)
No. Not even close to a cancer column. But I am writing about a similar mind-numbing experience. However, this experience has nothing to do with disease/dying. Instead, it has to do with the effort, patience and excruciating lack of success in attempting to contact, meaning speaking to an actual person, at the Internal Revenue Service and/or at the Social Securit
(Not a cancer column.) For the past six months or so, I have been the email-recipient of $50 gift cards to numerous to count/tally. They have run the gamut from Ace Hardware to Zappos.com and everything in between like CVS, Kohls, Walmart; you name it. I have rarely clicked on any of these "giveaways" because the one time I did, the answers required on the site - to claim my winnings, seemed a bit intrusive, as in what they were asking was none of their business. If they truly want to incentiviz
... stable, with a side of shrinkage, however modest. No jeopardy here, final or otherwise. Simply more of the same here, but hardly ho hum. A status quo with which I am fond of writing: I can live. Promises and guarantees left the building on that fateful day in late February, 2009 when an oncologist who I had previously never met summarized my condition and identified it as stage IV, non small cell lung cancer. A "terminal" disease if there ever was one, and of course there are many. And alon
I'm not new. In fact, my Adenocarcinoma (Pancoast) lung cancer journey began in October 2004. I was diagnoised at State IV. Mets to chest wall and liver. I was given 2-6 months with treatment and 1 to 2 years with treatment. I've had reocurrences. One time, I was told to get my affairs in order. Yes, I'm still here. Thank God. It started off crazy (as I would imagine, everyone else did too). But, what I am searching for are connections. People like myself. Someone to relate
... and I suppose life is back on, especially for those of us who have been vaccinated. No more hiding your emotions and expressions behind your face-covering as you once again start interacting with the general public. They can see you and, of course, you can see them - and you can hear/understand them, too. Conversations will flow more evenly now that they won't be interrupted by an "Excuse me, I can't understand you," or a "Could you please repeat that?" Conversations that were previously aff
Could this be the day in America whose meaning has been forgotten?
On this day, many in my neighborhood and small town knowing I'm a retired soldier will wish me "Happy Memorial Day!" While I appreciate the salutation; I'm befuddled by our collective loss of understanding and appreciation. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and commemoration for those who died in the act of serving in our Armed Forces during war.
There is a parallel of a lack of understanding and appreciation that ap
As previously referred to in a recent column, even though I am hardly cancer-free; nonetheless, I am cancer interruptus for the next four weeks. That means I have no cancer-related activities: no lab work, no scans, no infusions, no injections, no appointments, no video visits, no interaction whatsoever. Other than taking my daily thyroid cancer pill (the side effects of which are marginal at worst), with which I ingest another 50-plus pills (supplements and so forth), I am, too quote my late fa
I'm sort of invoking Southwest Airlines here, but not exactly. What I am invoking are the incredible number of television and radio commercials for legal gambling sites and for car insurance. Both offer rewards while requiring payment upfront. In anecdotal fact, if it wasn't for these two entities advertising on television especially, and on radio to a lesser degree, the airwaves would be a lot less redundant. I'm so used to seeing Flo from Progrssive, LiMu Emu and Doug from Liberty Mutual and a