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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

Please Relief Me

Please relief me or let me go. So sang Engelbert Humperdink way back in 1967 about having lost that loving feeling. His lost loving feeling was not about his mortgage. The lyrics: "I have found a new love dear" imply, if not clearly state, that there's a woman involved. My lost loving feeling is about my mortgage. And contrary to Engelbert, I can't leave it, and believe me, I've tried, though I've never sung about it, only droned on about it in print. To invoke the legendary Ricky Ricardo, aka D

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

"Underwhere" and What

Though I don't think I've broken any laws, other than the laws of consumerism, I may have gone over to the dark side. And by 'dark side,' I refer to two elements, one way more significant than the other, both of which I will get to in short order. In the interim, I refer to that most private of previously public purchases: underwear. The last two times I bought underwear, I did not, as my father before me did so regularly for his two sons, buy from a local distributor. No. I didn't brick an

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Maturation

When I heard this word used recently, twice, I thought it was one of my father's made-up words like "surgerize" and "confliction" risen from his memory to finally enter the world of Merriam-Webster. And so they have, sort of. Apparently, "maturation" is a word some doctors use to answer any and all questions asked by patients inquiring as to why something or other health-wise is happening to them. In short, "maturation" means wear and tear. If Mick Mulvaney were the doctor, he might have said: "

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Apparently, Not a Stable Genius

Let me get this out of my system because until I do, I won't be able to write about anything else. Not to worry. This is not a cancer column. I am fine until they tell me otherwise which occurs every eight weeks after my bi-monthly CT scan tells the tale of the tape. No, this column is about my lack of understanding and business acumen which twice has led me down the garden path only to be asked to leave before I got to smell any of the pretty flowers. Once (twice, actually) had to do with

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

When Compounding isn't a Good Thing

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is one thing, and certainly a big thing, but I'm much better dealing with it when the 50 million other things we all have to deal with are not having to be dealt with (ending a sentence with a preposition notwithstanding) at the same time. And not that I'm the least bit unique in having all these other tasks and concerns or even the most bit interesting in that I have them. Hardly. They are simply the elements that sometimes make living more of a job and less of a

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Medicare Is In The House

More like in my wallet. After worrying for the past 18 months about possibly losing my health insurance, I finally hit pay dirt - and it didn't hit back. I have received my Medicare card and after I "dissenroll" from my interim "Obama Care" within the next week or so, I will officially join the ranks of the millions who have insured their health - so to speak - with the Federal Government. No more will I ifs, ands, or buts about hospitals, doctors ("medical" actually) and prescription drugs (par

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Time and Again

Not to be morbid in the least or self-indulgent in the most (last week's column, "Something or Nothing" not withstanding), but recently I've had cause to hear about the future and be more concerned about the present. I have a homeowner problem that, like all such problems, is way beyond my limited skills: a crack in the concrete slab which "porches" our house, apparently caused by a very large and old tree growing way too close to this slab. This is not a water-leaking-into-the-house proble

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Something or Nothing

As you can imagine - or read every week in this space - my health, especially considering that my stage IV non-small lung cancer is incurable/"terminal," is top of mind. (Truth be told, it's middle of mind, bottom of mind, and every other mind in between and all around.) That being said -  I am prone to exaggerate the significance of seemingly unrelated peculiarities and draw them into my cancer "centricity" without any facts to support them. Though I feel fine-ish, mostly, (the previous weeks'

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Barbasoul

That was a close shave, if I may euphemistically characterize my most recent, blade-free brush with cancer-like symptoms, especially considering that I thought my life was at stake. The pain was located around my left-side rib cage, exactly where the pain was on that fateful January 1st, 2009 day when I couldn't ignore it any longer and thus felt compelled to get off the couch and go to the emergency room. Though I didn't have any shortness of breath, or difficulty inhaling, exhaling and bending

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Don't Monkee Around With Me

I mean, he didn't even examine me, which he rarely does. (The CT scan pretty much tells him what he needs to know, so he says.) In addition (or is that subtraction?), he didn't even ask me the standard questions he typically does about my quality of life, activities of daily living, and general health and welfare. In fact, near the presumptive end of our appointment, as peculiar and uncharacteristic of an appointment as it was, I felt compelled to blurt out the answers to all the questions that

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

Some Trek: To Go Where This Man Has Never Gone Before

Although I've had a pretty good run of late not writing much about "the cancer"—to quote "Forrest, Forrest Gump"—the reality is, as you might imagine, cancer is ever present - in your head and in your heart (and for me, in my lungs). Never more so than when your quarterly CT scan is imminent. As I sit and write this column on a Sunday, Wednesday—three days hence—Is what you'd call 'imminent.' Not that there's much preparation; there's not. But with electronic media being what it is, one does rec

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

"Come on down!"

Except I was not sitting in the audience for "The Price Is Right" when I heard my name called. Nor was I needing to guess the cost of my infusion with my treatment that day contingent on my guess not exceeding the "actual retail price." And neither were there any of "Barker's Beauties" to wave their hands and showcase what items I would be attempting to price right. No. There were only multiple oncology nurses standing in front of the Infusion Center's entry door calling out the names of the nex

LCSC Blog

LCSC Blog

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

Esophageal Cancer

Hi my name is Robin.  I am really new to this type of thing.  Guess maybe looking for some insight or guidance.  In July my husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He 5 treatments of chemo and 28 days of radiation and then had an esophagectomy Nov 15th.  He was having some breathing issues and finally saw his family doctor where they prescribed him a 10 day antibiotic. A week later he had his 1st CT Scan since surgery (3 months prior).  Results are not exactly what we hoped for or really u

Robin S

Robin S

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

Another recurrence, another call to Mom and Dad

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  cancer can be as hard, if not harder, on the loved ones than the patients.  Our family is very close  - I don't have any siblings and my husband and I don't have children.  Our family unit is small.  After 2.5 years, my husband and I have a process.  He goes with me to all of my scan result appointments.  As soon as Super Doc gives us the results, Neal steps out and texts or calls my parents with the updates.  I always want to be with them if we have t

Susan Cornett

Susan Cornett

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

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