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About this blog

A blog by lung cancer survivor Tom Galli

Entries in this blog

Contributors to cure

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

LexieCat, Esquire Rests Her Case

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, were I lived, was an industrious town bustling with shipbuilding, soup makin

Eighteen Years but No Toes

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

Scanziety Builds Character

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

Tom Galli

Tom Galli in Stay The Course Blog

On Memorial Day

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

Trekking The Green With Seventeen

Today I celebrate 17 years surviving lung cancer. COVID is a nightmare. But, I am celebrating nevertheless. Life after lung cancer is precious and most worthy of celebration. You might note I’ve run out of toes to paint. I do this to honor Phillip Berman, MD, a radiologist with Stage IV lung cancer, who was instrumental in my survival. Phil resolved to paint a toenail red for each year he survived “this madness.” He painted 5 before passing; I continue the tradition using LUNGevity Blue. My

Tom Galli

Tom Galli in Cancer Anniversary

A Day of Thanks

It is a beautiful Thanksgiving Day in Texas. Amid COVID mayhem we are suffering, Mother Nature decided to intervene and give us this gorgeous day to remind me about the important things in life. I've been blessed in so many ways since my surprise lung cancer diagnosis in February 2004. I married the love of my life, walked my daughter down the aisle, experience the birth of my granddaughter, enjoyed glorious vacations, and perhaps most important found meaning and purpose for life after lung

Tom Galli

Tom Galli in Stay The Course Blog

Celebrating Sixteen Years!

I continue the tradition of anointing my toes with paint for each year I survive this horrid disease. Till year 14, I applied red paint; now it is Lungevity blue. The tradition of painting a toes was started by Dr. Phil Berman, a never smoker radiologist diagnosed with Stage IV, NSCLC. He started RedToeNail.com, an early online cancer survivor blog and painted 5 toes of life before lung cancer claimed him.  My tenure of life is a message of hope. If I can live, so can you. Stay the course.

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Twice A Veteran

I’m an armed forces veteran. Also, a late stage diagnosed lung cancer survivor veteran. A smoker, I once had little doubt that smoking caused my lung cancer. Yet almost everyone in my immediate family smoked and none developed the disease. Could the unique hazards of armed forces training and warfare played a role in my disease?  Looking back, early in my career were demolition projects involving World War II era structures that were filled with asbestos. On deployment, burn pits predominat

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Cursin' On a Sunday Afternoon....

We are "locked and loaded" for our fifth Transatlantic cruise since I was diagnosed with lung cancer. This Sunday, we depart from Ft. Lauderdale and fifteen leisurely pamper-filled days later, arrive in Southampton, England. Along the voyage, we'll visit Bermuda (a first), the Azores (an other first), Lisbon (been there), Bilbao, Spain (a first), and Le Harve, France (been there). And best of all -- no jet lag! We are serious cruisers and are thrilled to cross the pond in a brand new ship (Celeb

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

A Picture is Worth 15 Years

I'm the guy who paints a toenail for every year I live beyond my February 4, 2004 diagnosis day.  This year our toes are LUNGevity Blue to honor the foundation that is dedicated to changing outcomes for people with lung cancer through research, education and support. There are many people who've been instrumental in my survival and making a life after; none are more important than my loving wife -- Martha Galli. If I can live, so can you! Stay the course. Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Acme Elixir - The Miracle Cure

Remember the western movie scene — the debonair dressed pitchman rides into a small frontier town in a wagon whose canvas sides are emblazoned with Dr. Arturo Pedic’s Acme Elixir.  He sets up a stage, draws a crowd, and delivers the pitch. Yessireeebob! My specially formulated Acme Elixir is a sure-fired medicament for any illness. One bottle of this miracle wonder is guaranteed to cure any malady.  It is an antidote for ablepsy, ague, apoplexy, barrel fever, biliousness, dropsy, camp fever

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Comprehending the PET

Almost every lung cancer survivor has a positron emission tomography (PET) scan these days. Now, a PET is often given with a computerized axial tomography (CT) scan.  The diagnostician is a radiologist; a discipline that does not write in lingua franca. What do the report words mean? Here is a summary of my August PET-CT to interpret radiology speak. INDICATION: (Why am I getting this scan) “The patient…with non-small cell lung cancer of the right main bronchus diagnosed in 2003 status post

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

A Life Well Lived

A lady with lung cancer passed early this morning. I knew her well. She survived two surgeries claiming a lung, radiation, and many many infusions of chemotherapy. Indeed, her disease was being treated like diabetes or heart disease — a chronic but controlled condition. Lung cancer did not claim her and death is not a celebratory event, but living a full and meaningful life despite lung cancer is indeed praiseworthy. In characterizing the lady’s life, full and meaningful are an enormous und

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

My Thoracic Surgeon Comes to Dinner

I've survived a lot of medical treatment. The most sophisticated and creative was while in the care of an extraordinarily gifted, courageous and talented surgeon. We invited him and his wife to dinner to renew our acquaintance and review the bidding.  The dinner was memorable. I could launch into the details of my 8 surgical procedures performed by this brilliant man but that story is told elsewhere. Of more interest to this community is what are the indicators of brilliance in a surgeon? 

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Free and Invaluable

Using the words free and invaluable to characterize lung cancer medical care is a hard sell. I’ve seen so many scams promising this, that, and the other thing that deliver nothing more than a money pit.  So I was indeed skeptical when Dr. David S. Schrump introduced his National Cancer Institute Intramural cancer treatment program, at our April 2018 LUNGevity Summit, with the words “no cost to patients, including travel and lodging.” Why didn’t I know about this resource?  I’ve encountered

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

The Cadence of Scan Days

"Count-off...One, Two...Count-off...Three, Four...Bring it on down now...One, Two, Three, Four, One-Two...Three-Four!"  My life is filled with counting.  As a young soldier on the march, we counted cadence to stay in step.  The rhythm of the cadence was an elixir to the mile-upon-mile-upon-mile of forced march in full combat load.  They always scheduled the forced march on the hottest day, or the wettest day, or the coldest day of the year.  One memorable march was the day after a hurricane

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

And Major Means What?

“Drug-related deaths have grown to be a major US public health problem over the last two decades.  Between 2006 and 2015 there were more than 515,000 deaths from drug overdoses.…” This from a March 26 article in Science Magazine. The death rate averages 5,722 per year over the cited period.  Further, “the drug epidemic is a pressing concern among policymakers.” This concern translates to a $865 million research budget for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This budget funds $151,117 per indiv

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

My Friend Randy

It was mid-morning on a beautiful February Sunday in Texas when my phone rang.  Randy’s name flashed on my phone screen and on realizing who it was, my mind raced to recall the last time we spoke. Pam his wife greeted me, a mild surprise. Randy and I grew up in the same Pennsylvanian township and attended high school together.  Our lives parted with college and after an Army career took me everywhere but home. Randy settled in our hometown.  We had many things in common including surviving

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Know The Enemy -- The Cure Scam Artist

The modern world is full of scams, lies, untruths, and junk science.  Indeed, for a lung cancer survivor or caregiver, finding truth about lung cancer in our Internet world of mis-information is extremely difficult.  How do we know what to believe?  Perhaps you've heard of Belle Gibson, the health food purveyor and wellness guru, who spent years convincing us she had a cure for cancer.  Don't know the story?  Read it here.  How did we buy into Gibson's claims?  How do we avoid another scam trap?

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Fourteen Years, Three Right Feet!

This is my fourteenth anniversary surviving a lung cancer diagnosis.  Granddaughter Charlett's decorated toes join mine to keep our right feet forward! I paint my toes every year as a celebration of the joy life brings. In early treatment, there was no joy.  There was fear, frustration, pain, uncertainty and scanziety. I'd not yet discovered Dr. Phillip Bearman who taught me the reason for lung cancer treatment -- achieving extended life.  Phil decided he would live every moment to the fullest d

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Tis The Season

Today we pause to celebrate new life, life continued, and hope renewed.  For me this is a holy season but it has a much broader meaning, especially for those struggling with lung cancer. Christmas Day is a celebration of new life and a continuation of life. The new life is Christ while continuation is everyone alive.  Including especially, those who live with lung cancer. We have at first glance an insurmountable challenge: to live with a disease that consumes our body with cells made of our bod

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Survivor's Thanksgiving

Today, on our Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful that all in this photo, taken in November 2015, still survive. Stay the course.

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Breathe Deep

How does one find joy in lung cancer?  I find some of mine by celebrating survival, and there is no better way than to attend a LUNGevity sponsored Breathe Deep event. Our's was a pleasant but breezy fall Texas day and about a hundred of us showed up to the celebratory walk-jog-run event.  Our pleasant jaunt around the Arlington Texas park also raised thousands of dollars to undertake LUNGevity focused research for new diagnostic and treatment methods for lung cancer.  But, while fund raisi

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Ninety Percent Mental

Summer has ended and baseball is in World Series mode.  I’m a long suffering Philadelphia Phillies fan — a Phanatic!  To have a lifelong fascination with a mediocre baseball club requires supreme dedication, unusual perseverance, and a strong conviction that tomorrow will be a far better day.  These attributes are prerequisites for facing a daunting lung cancer diagnosis and enduring the arduousness of treatment. Danny Ozark, once manager of the Phillies, took the team from perennial cellar

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

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