Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Six Things You Must Do NOW When Diagnosed With Cancer

Your Must Do List

  • Get a second opinion.
  • Tell your family, friends and work associates about your illness.
  • Build a, “Go-To-Group”.
  • Prepare for battle.
  • Look for clinical trials.
  • Embrace your cancer.

The list isn’t very long, is it? Just six items on a list that I’ve created especially for you. Oh, I’m so tempted to make the list a little longer of course, but hopefully, once you’ve completed these six, you’ll have time to work on those things. Each entry, along with those not found here, are the pieces of a puzzle that, when placed together, complete a map that will guide you to that state of gratitude and joy that I mention over and again in the book, Embracing Cancer – Embracing Life.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you must set your sights on these six items and complete all of them as quickly as possible. If you were previously diagnosed and are currently in remission, or have been cured, (cancer-speak for in remission) your family and friends should already have an intimate knowledge of your cancer and condition, if not, start talking about it now. You need to keep your, Go-To-Group primed for a call if you need them. Cancer doesn’t always come back, but sometimes it does, so you should keep yourself prepared for battle and keep abreast of the latest trials being conducted for your cancer.

If you’ve never been diagnosed, hopefully you’ll stay that way, but since there is about a 40% chance that you will be, you should concentrate on the fourth item on the list and get daily exercise and eat as healthfully as you possibly can. If you smoke, it’s a good time to stop.

Each week for at least the next six weeks, starting at the top of that list of six, I’m going to post excerpts from the chapter in my book that delves into that particular item on the list. This week will be, “Get a second opinion,” followed by, “Tell your family,” next week and so on down the line. These chapters contain information on exactly what steps forward you’ll want to take and why. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much, so I may decide to separate a chapter into two or more segments where I feel it’s necessary.

At this point you can click on The Book tab and start reading. Please leave a comment if you’d like, Bobbie and I love to read them. My heart is with you.

The (Second) Battle Between David and Goliath: The Times May Have Changed – But The Result Hasn’t – Part II

If you haven’t stopped by in the last few couple of days, you may want to read the previous post, so that all this makes sense.

On May 18, 2013, I was released from the hospital after my first round of chemotherapy. It was an exhilarating time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sportscaster Bob Costas speaking to you from inside the Moanalua (Medical) Center:

Bob Costas: “Ladies and gentlemen, this week we have witnessed a tremendous battle of what I’ll call determination versus inevitability. Yes…and this time somehow, someway, the challenger, Larry, who I’ll refer to as “determination” found a way to pull out a victory… and regardless of how brief the celebration may be…it is a victory nonetheless. Overcoming the natural advantages our champion, Mantle Cell Lymphoma, brings to every match, Larry battled toe-to-toe for five days and five nights, until MCL threw his gloves up in disgust screaming “No Mas” and left the ring (hospital bed). Oh…don’t misunderstand me, we have a long, long way to go; after all this was just the eighth round of a scheduled fifteen rounder, but if this is how Larry intends to fight MCL from this point forward, you might want to put down that remote control and grab yourself some popcorn. For more insight and a little perspective, let’s go down to ringside (bedside) to our own Larry Merchant and Charles Barkley…Gentlemen.”

Larry Merchant: “Thank you Bob…Larry Merchant here, along with my Hall of Fame partner Charles Barkley…well, what more can I add? As you know, pre-fight, I predicted that the champ, after toying with our challenger for the first seven rounds, would finally knock Larry out for the count…hang him out to dry, like wet bed sheets on a Kansas clothesline. Frankly, Larry didn’t look good heading into this one…his recent weight loss, along with the pounding he’s taken in previous rounds…added up to disaster in my mind…Charles what’s your take on this astonishing turn of events?”

Charles Barkley: Oh, my, my, my! Larry, did you see the way MCL…sounds like a rapper name don’ it? left the ring…like a little crybaby! Like a little crybaby! Throws up his hands and yells “no mas”; hell, you don’t see no champion act like that…no way! And Larry, good god almighty…did you see that boy? The look on his face? I’m tellin’ you right here and now…this one’s going the distance…all the way, baby. Look, hear me out…I’ll tell you what turned the tide on this one; it’s his tag team partner…that made this one happen. Ain’t no way that bruised and battered boy do that on his lonesome…no way. His partner, Kemosabay…no…Aromatherapy…no that’s not it…oh yeah, I remember Chemotherapy! Chemotherapy! Larry got no answers ’til Chemotherapy comes to town. Now it’s a fight…we got us a fight!”

Larry Merchant: “Agreed, Charles…I could actually see the tumors and cancerous lymph nodes melting away…quite amazing. Charles, let’s recap the fight…round by round so far. In round one, back in 2009, it seemed like our challenger had a fair chance of holding his own against the champion. Charles what’s your assessment?”

Charles: “Well, I couldn’t agree more…he was in great shape coming in…with all that runnin’ and water workouts, it looked to me like Larry was up to the task, but then slowly, oh, so slowly…he began to wear down, as the champ just delivered one body blow after another.”

Larry: “In round two our challenger added a new tool to his arsenal…acupuncture.”

Charles: “Right…right! Looked good too. It definitely, revived him for a while…but, ha, ha, ha, sorry about the laugh, but come on, admit it…it was kinda funny seeing him bein’ chased around the ring by MCL! I’m right, you know I am.”

Larry (smiling): “Charles you got a way with words…brother. Now, in round three, Larry adds Chinese herbs to the mix and gets MCL stepping back a little. What about that?”

Charles: “Damn…that surprised the hell outta me…really did! Who woulda’ thought some little herbs would whack MCL upside the head? Nobody…nobody. But it did give Larry a little time to regroup and get ready for the rounds ahead…no doubt about that.”

Larry: “In round four, the champ had Larry on the ropes with his new weapon…h.pylori. In my opinion that was a devastating blow. Charles?”

Charles: “Jez’ you kidding me?…That nearly killed him! Did you see that dude rolling around on the floor? I jus’ couldn’t watch…I tell you, I had to avert my eyes. Damn, he lost so much weight a decent trade-wind woulda’ blown his ass all the way to the mainland! No kiddin’!”

Larry (clearing his throat):
“Charles, round five was incredible for two reasons, first the mere fact that Larry survived the relentless onslaught and then secondly, the way he came back to even things up.”

Charles (raising his eyebrows at Larry Merchant): “You, jokin’ right? You really think he made a comeback? No…not really. Look, that beat-down MCL gave him was just horrifying…he lost two feet of his small intestine and a third of his freakin’ colon! You ain’t never goin’ climb outta bed after that crap and think it’s business as usual. Ain’t no way that go’na happen. Ain’t no one got time fo’ that! I tell ya’, ain’t no one got time fo’ that.”

Larry: “Charles I think you’re on to something. So, in your opinion Larry never fully recovered from that fifth round beating?”

Charles: “Like I said, ‘Ain’t no one got time fo’ that.”

Larry: “Right. Let’s recap round six for a moment. Charles you must admit Larry looked pretty good in round six? He was on his feet the entire round…moving good in the ring, making the champ chase him.”

Charles: “Yeah, ha ha, thank the good lord he didn’ catch him…that’s all I can say. Oh, my god, he looked like a chicken bein’ cornered by a fox in the hen house! Larry, just never got back after the surgery…he looked healthy…kinda’, but he was running ’cause he had no game at that point. I half expected him to sit in his corner and ask for a cool pop. Actually, I crack myself up.”

Larry: “Okay, now for round seven. The challenger goes into the Cooley-Dickinson (Medical) Center to meet the champ in this one. Charles how did that one look to you?”

Charles: “It was jus’ pathetic! Right out’ the bell, he goes face down…what was that…a single belly jab?”

Larry: “Actually, it was a perforated stomach ulcer,”

Charles: “Whatever…he just laid there not talkin’…hell, hardly breathin’…what kinda’ entertainment value you got there? Still, I suppose we should give him some props for getting off the mat and making it through. All I can say is I thought it was pretty much all over at that point; so to see him come back in round eight like he did surprised the heck outa’ me…really did.”

Larry: “Okay, well that’s all from here Bob…back to you.”

Bob Costas: “Thank you Larry and thank you Sir Charles…we all love to hear reality according to Sir Charles. Well, that’s going to do it for us tonight; an exciting one it has been, as David slays Goliath in a battle of life and death. Be sure to join us next month when once again these two battle from Moanalua Center. Until then…good night and Aloha.”

The (Second) Battle Between David and Goliath: The Times May Have Changed – But The Result Hasn’t – Part I

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Chemotherapy Round 1: A Selfie On Day Three, May 15, 2013

While I apologize for the long pause between posts, it just couldn’t be helped. Simply put, it was much more important that I spend as much time as possible writing my book, Embracing Cancer–Embracing Life, rather than taking a day, or more, each week creating a blog post. It was actually a fairly easy choice to make, because, although the blog will provide useful insight and entertaining stories, my book will provide guidance and comfort to those living with cancer, as well as, to their families, close friends and loved ones as they continue their journey.

Now that the book is completed (it’s currently being edited and tentatively scheduled for an October publication date), I can pick-up where I left off with the blog. Each week or, perhaps more often, you’ll find a new post on this site (www.embracingcancer-embracinglife.com), which I trust will challenge your concepts of what is and what can be. I hope you’ll become emotionally caught up as you read tales of my harrowing and magnificent journey with cancer and be profoundly strengthened in your connection to your spirit-self. My journey has done all of these things for me, I truly hope it will have a similar effect on you.

So let’s begin anew with the first email I sent to my friends and family following my very first round of chemotherapy in May of 2013. My body’s reaction to the chemotherapy drugs was nothing short of amazing, literally millions of Mantle Cell Lymphoma Cancer Cells were killed, hour-after-hour. Each morning in the hospital, I would walk into the bathroom to shower rolling my IV pole behind me. I’d look into the mirror and be astonished at the changes that had taken place overnight!

After I was released from the hospital, I found myself lying in bed at night thinking about how best to describe, to those on my email list, exactly how I was feeling. Then, out of the blue, it hit me; since most everyone refers to those with cancer as, “fighting or battling,” why not write a synopsis of that battle, both past and present, using television sportscasters to describe the action and giving their assessment of my chances of survival.

You might notice something interesting, I do not speak a single word in this email, I let the sportscasters do all of the talking. I wanted those who read the email to recognize that physically I was doing fantastically well, through the fictional words of three of the greatest commentators who have ever lived, and to look beyond those words to discover how I was doing emotionally and spiritually. Judging from the many responses I received in the days following, I hit the nail on the head. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sportscaster Bob Costas reporting from inside the Moanalua (Medical) Center:

Bob Costas: “Ladies and gentlemen, this week we have witnessed a tremendous battle of what I’ll call determination versus inevitability. Yes…and this time somehow, someway, the challenger, Larry, who I’ll refer to as “determination” found a way to pull out a victory…and regardless of how brief the celebration may be, it is a victory nonetheless. Overcoming the natural advantages that our champion, Mantle Cell Lymphoma, brings to every match, Larry battled toe-to-toe for five days and five nights, until MCL threw his gloves up in disgust screaming “No Mas” and left the ring (hospital bed). Oh, don’t misunderstand me, we have a long, long way to go, after all, thiswas just the eighth round of a scheduled fifteen rounder, but if this is how Larry intends to fight MCL from this point forward, you might want to put down that remote control and grab yourself some popcorn. For more insight and a little perspective, let’s go down to ringside (bedside) to our own Larry Merchant and Charles Barkley…Gentlemen.”

Larry Merchant: “Thank you Bob…Larry Merchant here, along with my Hall of Fame partner Charles Barkley…well, what more can I add?  As you know, pre-fight, I predicted that the champ, after toying with our challenger for the first seven rounds, would finally knock Larry out for the count…hang him out to dry, like wet bed sheets on a Kansas clothesline.  Frankly, Larry didn’t look good heading into this one…his recent weight loss, along with the pounding he’s taken in previous rounds, added up to disaster in my mind. Charles what’s your take on this astonishing turn of events?”

Charles Barkley:  Oh, my, my, my!

 

(Click back on Saturday, June 6th, for the rest of the story)