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Chemo or Not - Not


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Greetings from Guam,

I want to thank all of you who responded to my message Chemo or Not. After taking some time, visiting with family members and looking deeply into our own hearts, my wife and I have decided not to go with the Chemo and let things take their course.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all or you who gave me your insight into the most difficult decision of my life. A special thanks to DeanCarl for his compassion and courage in facing the demon we call cancer.

In this decision I am not giving up, rather making the best out of what I have. After reading postings on this site I have come to realize just how lucky I am to be 11 months in Stage 4 and still able to live a normal life. I am teaching full time, coaching a youth soccer team and exercising, riding a bike 5 miles a day / 3 times a week. I have been truly moved by reading the posting of your experience in facing this demon we call cancer.

Met with my onc the other day to discuss treatment options and when we asked him if we were making a bad decision not to go for the Chemo he said “no that is not a bad decision.” All docs are committed to do all they can to preserve and continue life and it was refreshing that he would go so far as not to give us any false hope.

The demon is going to get me, but until that time I am going to live my life to the fullest and savor each moment. I am not surrendering, but making the best of what is inevitable. I have been blessed with feeling good and sometimes can’t believe that I am so far down the road in Stage 4.

As I mentioned in my initial posting I questioned, why would our loving God have me survive a major heart attack – triple by pass in June only to give me a death sentence months away. After deep reflection I believe that he gave me a chance to say good by to those I love, my father, brothers and sisters, grown children and get my affairs in order prior to my passing. To share with my loving wife a great trip to Europe celebrating our love for each other. To give me time with my young son here in Guam and hopefully give him the gift of faith. I am writing him future birthday cards so over the years to come he will remember the love that his Dad had for him.

My message to all of you taking the same road is that there are two parts in dealing with this disease. The first is the medical side, where I have read of the successes some of you have had and the disappointments others have had to deal with. The second part is the strongest and deals with our mental approach to what is happening. We all must maintain our faith in God and know that there is something more for us after cancer.

I am a History teacher and one of my favorite characters is General Jackson from the Civil War. He earned the nick name “Stone Wall Jackson” after the Battle of Bull run as he moved to the front of the lines on his horse and urged his troops on as they were wavering on the Union attack. After the battle one of his aids asked, “how could you expose yourself to the fire from the Union troops and sit astride your horse showing no fear. He replied that he had faith in God and that God would take him when the time was right, so he was not concerned about the danger he exposed himself too. His faith gave him the strength to face death as we all are doing now. He was mortally wounded later in the war, and while consumed with fever, writhing and tossing in his bed, screaming commands to his non existent troops he suddenly paused. A look of tranquility replaced his contorted face and a serine smile broke forth on his parched lips. As he relaxed he said, “Take my hand and let us walk across the river and sit in the shade of the tree on the other side.” These were his last words and in this state of tranquil repose he died.

This story gives me strength and hope that we will all cross that river and sit together in the shade of the tree on the other side. We all moving through the valley of the shadow of death and we must believe that God is with us, that we will fear no evil and he will lead us to the lay down in the green pastures near the still waters.

As my disease progresses I will post messages and look forward to sharing with all of you the road we take in dealing with our common adversary. Our strength grows with the compassion and understanding we share, that only we can feel as cancer survivors.

God Bless all of you and may you find the strength to deal with this demon that consumes us.


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You know that I know the courage it took to make that decision. And we both know that some may not understand the path we've chosen to walk. But I know deep within my heart it was the right choice for me, and, from reading this post, I can feel you've made the right choice for you also.

There may come a time, as it did for me, when you may question the choices you've made. When and if that time comes please remember you are not alone in this. I'll make you a promise right now. As long as I am able to type or talk I will be here for you. I'll PM you with my e-mail and phone number. I know Guam is a long way from San Diego but you never know.

And you are absolutely right. Not treating the disease does NOT mean we are giving up on life. The way I put it is, "this disease may kill me ... it will NEVER "beat" me!"

I hope you stick around on this message board. I'll admit to a bit of selfishness with that hope. Sometimes, as I watch the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of others here who battle their disease so hard, I feel a bit like the "odd man out". It would be nice to have someone else who understands the road we are on.

Here's praying that you life, however long, is filled with joy and special moments.


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Howard, it is your life and your right to what you so choose.

I to feel the same about the green pastures and the still water but my Buddy and I also think there is a bridge with a rainbow over it called RAinbow Bridge and we have pledge to each other to meet there one day and hopefully enter the gates of Heaven together....

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Your faith is inspiring. I want to share something that just ocurred last week with my uncle Sal (my Dad's older brother by 10 years).

He died on January 7th at the age of 81 after suffering what we think was a stroke on Christmas day. He was hospitalized 14 days.

I prayed for him daily as did many others. My parents and his children were there with him everyday. He layed motionless, under the care of Hospice.

I wasn't sure if he was saved, but I knew he was a good man and a church going man. I talked about this with my mom, and in the last 3 days my mom prayed with him daily, not knowing for sure if he could hear the words... but asking him to trust Christ and let go.

His daughter (my cousin) related that the day he died (my parents were there by chance as well) , just before he took his last breath he SMILED. She said it was the most comforting thing she had ever witnessed. He had exhibited absolutely no emotion or facial expression the entire 14 days he was in that hospital- nothing. Yet a mere moment before his final breath (he died very peacefully - took a deep breath and that was it) - he SMILED.

She said- she is certain that he saw the Lord, and that he was lead by the hand across to the other side.

That message at the funeral, made a very sad event almost a bit of a celebration as well.

It is my wish that everyone on this board knows the truth of Christ, and that someday (a VERY long time from now :) ) we all reunite in a place that we can only imagine its glory....

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