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Just call me Timex


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Hi guys.

I haven’t posted an update in a while but you know the old maxim, “If you can’t say anything good ---” I continue to check the boards almost daily and, again, I grieve with those who grieve, celebrate with those who celebrate and pray for us all.

It’s been a very long summer. I did three cycles of carboplatin and Taxotere, every three weeks from late June until mid August. Each was worse than the one before. I required a blood transfusion for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s been over five weeks since the last treatment and I still don’t feel nearly as good as I did before we started. My radiation pneumonitis, which was at least stable, seems to have been exacerbated by the chemo as my cough has greatly worsened and my oxygen requirement has increased. My oncologist says that this doesn’t happen but I disagree. I continue to have intermittent headaches. Last MRI was six months ago, maybe time for another. My strength is better than it was on high dose prednisone but my energy level is very low and my exercise tolerance is nil.

My radiation oncologist wants to radiate the area where the cancerous right supraclavicular lymph node was but we did a PET-CT scan on 8/22 and it showed areas in both lungs that are lighting up now that did not in May and a CT scan shows nodular densities in these areas. The radiologists say that these are probably areas of pneumonitis but cancer cannot be ruled out. My old left pleural effusion is as big or bigger than ever but still not hot on the PET and a thoracentesis a couple of weeks ago confirmed that it is still not malignant. We want to be sure that indeed I have no active tumor before we do any more radiation, because otherwise it would be a waste of good protons. I’m seeing my pulmonologist again on Tuesday to see if he has any ideas.

I haven’t been able to work in the last two months but my clinic has been extremely supportive. I think I’m going to probably retire from the practice of medicine and draw disability. I hate to do this but I feel it’s probably best for me and the clinic and my patients. If God blesses me to the point that I’m able to return someday, we can probably work that out too.

Prayers and hugs still greatly appreciated,


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God Bless you, our Brother, you are indeed having a difficult time. Dave and I will say a special prayer for you, and I hope that one day you can return to your practice, I have a feeling that you are a compassionate physician and we need as many of those as we can get in this world.

Karen C.

as always, thanks for your advice and support to Dave.

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Sam-My medical buddy! Glad you were able to post. I understand about the retirement and going on disability. I did it and now I am thinking maybe I will be able to return to work but that will be in the future when I get my strength back :D Hope the next few weeks show an improvement for you. Cindy

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Hi Sam,

So great to hear from you again. I hate for you that you are having to give up your practice for now. My company will terminate me if I go past my FML when I go out for my surgery. It is the company policy. I think I have 5 weeks left. After that I too will have to apply for disability. I do hope that you regain your strength and perhaps can do some contracted work for the clinic, or consultation type of work.

One of the most difficult things for me in having this dreaded disease has been me "needing help." I am so use to helping others in my profession, that I found it difficult to switch roles. But I have realized I can still be of some help to others, despite having cancer. I don't know if you have ever felt that way Sam, but know that you have been such a great help to the people on this board with your medical expertise and compassion.

I just finished my chemo about 5 weeks ago and still am exhausted! My onc said that " even though the drugs leave your system within days, the effects of the drugs can last weeks, sometimes months." So be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to heal. Your body has been through a lot! Just remember "The mind, in addition to medicine, has powers to turn the immune systems around...." Jonas salk

Praying for you to be healed!


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Sam, it sure was great to see you post. So sorry you are having trouble at the present time.

Going on disability is not the end of the world. I have seen many people do this then return later to work at a later time which am hoping you will do also...

Take care of yourself and post when you can. Things may change for the better tomorrow..... :lol:

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Dear Sam

sorry things are not going so great for you----

You can always go out on disabilty and then go back when you are feeling better---which I am sure will be in no time---

regards eileen

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Don't despair about leaving work -- it's time to take care of *you.* I'm sorry you've had a bad few months, but that just underscores the need to take whatever time you need to recover.

Even though you don't have MPE (which I do), you might consider applying for Social Security disability, while you continue to hope to eventually return to work. I checked out their website (www.ssa.gov) after someone here suggested that to someone else, and was surprised to see my specific diagnoses listed as *de facto* permanent disabilities.

I'll admit that I spent a few days being pretty depressed, thinking that the federal bureaucracy considered me terminal. But, I got over that when I thought about the thousands of dollars I've paid into the system -- and having been self-employed for the last 14 years, I've paid double what employed people paid. Heck, I pay more in SS every year than actual federal income tax!!

Long story short, I was informally told last weekend that I've been approved. It's a very healthy chunk of change each month, which will start in Oct. or Nov. If you (or anyone else!) wants to go this route, I'd be happy to share my experience with the bureaucracy.

All the best,


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Of course the prayers and best thoughts are still reaching out to you. I think of you often. Thank you for summoning up the energy to let us know how your fight is progressing...I'm so sorry you didn't have better news. Retirement and disability sound as if they should be seriously considered in light of your energy level--you need all resources focused on your health at this time. As you say, there will be time for other pursuits later. Keep on keepin' on. Blessings.

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I'm just wrapping up reading two weeks worth of posts (I was a little behind!) and was thinking "where's Sam"?

I was so happy to see your post, but sad to hear things have not been going so well for you.

Then I read your comment that radiation might be "a waste of good protons" - and I remember why I like you so much! Did you ever end up coming up with a name for the oxygen tank you're dragging around?

Better days are coming for you my friend.....I just KNOW it.

Hang in there, pray to God, hug your pretty wife, and get busy kicking some a@@! Don't forget "chemo is the hell we have to go thru to get rid of the hell we have"!

Hugs and prayers,


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