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Living and Coping with a Diagnosis of Cancer

Discussion in 'GatorTail Pub' started by lacuna, May 2, 2019.

  1. leftcoastgator

    leftcoastgator Ambivalent Zealot Premium Member

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    Lacuna, I enjoy reading your posts. You are such a smooth, natural writer.
     
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  2. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    Apeman posted:

    Good luck to you. I too am a cancer survivor. It is an exclusive club none of us ever wanted to join.
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    Ky response:
    No truer words...

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    Trickster posted:
    Thank you. I know this is therapeutic for you, to share this with people who care for you as a person behind a name and interesting avatar, and we all do. I admire your courage. I’m 16+ years cancer free, but who knows about tomorrow .......?

    16 years! ~ that's fabulous! May you remain so.
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    My response:
    Think you both for your responses. I've been posting about my experience on the Pub going on a year now. Growl encouraged me and it has been a therapeutic exercise for sure. Last week he asked me if I would mind having the thread posted on other forums and I agreed but when he attempted the transfer (twice) it transferred incomplete, short several pages. So I'm sort of cobbling my replies together,.
     
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  3. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    GatorJCH posted:

    Lacuna, many, many thanks for starting this thread and sharing your journey. I don't know how I missed it when it started over a year ago, but I am glad I found it when I did.
    While ever battle with cancer is a personal one, it helps to know others have gone before or are traveling beside you and you are not alone. Your thread is a wonderful way to accomplish that. Your prose has a beautiful voice. I could read/listen to it for hours. It is powerfully immersive: whether it is settling into your radiation pod, or sitting on your back porch, I feel I am right there with you. It has brought back many memories. But a story is only as good as the storyteller and your positivity and strength under trying times are inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

    I am a survivor of prostate cancer. I lost a brother-in-law to this cancer so I didn't take it lightly, and still don't. But mine wasn't the aggressive kind, I caught it early, and radiation alone isn't as debilitating as chemotherapy. So from before diagnosis through treatment I never felt an ache or pain I related to it. I was lucky. Today I have to remind myself I am a cancer survivor. I liked your description and picture of your radiation gizmo. Mine was black with more of a Darth Vader vibe. I remember at the time thinking "Really? They couldn't make it white, or light blue, or some other pastel color?" Then I decided if it's job was to kick my cancer's ass, ol' Darth was ok by me. Recalling and singing Jimmy Buffett songs got me through the sessions and I eventually rang the bell.

    But I was drawn to the thread not from my past brush with cancer but from my younger brother's present one. He recently was experiencing shoulder discomfort. But it wasn't until his arm broke from him simply pulling up his bedsheets, that they found he had a tumor in the bone. He has undergone every scan known to man now and is meeting with his oncologist this week, to learn his diagnosis and options, and go from there. I worry more for him and what he has in front of him than I ever did for myself. But your story gives me courage and optimism by reminding me he has good insurance, a loved one with an intimate knowledge of our healthcare system (my sister in law is an RN in one of our local hospital systems) and a good support system in place and we will all help him on his journey.

    Finally, although the topic of cancer is what drew me to the thread I can relate to many of your other topics as well. My early childhood I lived in Denver, so I love your pictures and descriptions of the habitat. In Florida, chameleons and the uglier anole are ubiquitous, as a child in Denver in the early sixties it was the "Horny Toads" (horned lizards) that were everywhere. I wonder if that is still the case or if they have fallen prey to other species over the past 50 years. And now that I am retired I do woodturning as a hobby, so I enjoyed the wig stands! Our group has turned tops for the local pediatric hospital wards and "boxes" for the Beads of Courage programs. But wig stands may be next!

    Keep posting!
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    My response:
    Thank you for your kind thoughts, JCH. As @Trickster pointed out this thread has been therapeutic for me. Writing helps me analyze my thoughts and emotions as I sift through them, prioritizing them, weighing their importance. It's an insightful process. And I like words. They are verbal tools and I have a healthy respect for their use and appreciation of their versatility.

    I love the appellation 'Darth Vader' you assigned to your radiator. So appropriate. A powerful force capable of good and evil. I hope your crew was as amazing as mine. Dr Doogie's RN is a cancer survivor who went through a brutal radiation therapy herself about 7 years ago. Her lead oncologist is mine - Frageelee. She was great, they all were great. At least 4 of the nurses who cared for me were cancer survivors or in their own times of remission. As a group they had endured cancers of the breast, rectum, lymphoma, testicles, leukemia, and lymphoma. The community of cancer survivors is a strong brotherhood/sisterhood.

    We do have lizards out here. I haven't seen many of them, maybe 10 or 12 all summer long last year. At least 2 different types but I don't know what they were. Will pay more attention this summer. I miss the anoles. We had a fairly large colony living in and around our screen enclosure in Florida. I would sit in or around the pool and watch them for hours.

    Thank you for contributing to the thread. It's responses like yours and others who have done the same that strengthen our community and validate our experiences.
     
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  4. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    Skink posted:

    This is probably maybe the 2nd or 3rd time I've ever ventured over to The Pub - I actually came here looking for the Cook Shack, and caught sight of this thread on the front page. I am shocked and saddened to read what you've been going through Lacuna - and humbled by all of the stories others have shared about fighting cancer. I have only crossed paths with you on a few occasions, as I limit myself to only the Swampgas and Recruiting threads (having wisely run away from Too Hot over a year ago!). But I have always enjoyed and respected you and Trucker through your posts. We share those all-so-precious and formative years of life in Gainesville in the 70s - years that changed me in so many ways, years I still cherish. So there is our common bond. I wish you all the best as you fight your courageous fight against this hideous disease. Because of you and other battle-weary Gators on this thread, I will stay connected to this thread, if only via lurking. We have all lost dear friends and/or family to cancer, and fortunately some of us can point to others who have in fact won their battle with it. I hope and pray that you become one of those victors. God bless you.
    ______________________________________________________

    @Skink ~ thank you for reaching out and the reminder of those unforgettable Gainesville years. I hope you will make return visits to the Pub. Scattered through its pages are several threads filled with posts from Gators reminiscing about their time spent in Gainesville.

    It appears this thread in the Den is now permanently detached from the original in the Pub. I'm responding to you on the Den thread but think it will not appear on the thread in the Pub where you originally made the post. A bittersweet irony. We carry our origins with us through our lifetime as memories but yet cannot go back and relive them.

    Thank you for your expressions of hope and encouragement.
     
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  5. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    gatorbeave said:

    I couldn't take my eyes off your story. Unfortunately, I too am old, I find I can't read for long periods of time. I've lost my place. I wonder if it would be too difficult for someone to help you number your entries somehow. I am going to try to find where I left your wonderfully written post about your valor and courage. You are a Tiger, I wouldn't want to face you in the wild when you're hungry that's for sure. I have fallen in love with you, you are so brave.
    _________________________________________________________

    Brave? Thank you, sir, but no, I've only put one foot in front of the other and walked the path laid in front of me. Anticipating the excitement and challenges of tomorrow and views over the horizon draw me ever forward.

    I'm sorry you are having difficulty staying in order. So am I. The original thread was started in the Pub almost a year ago but transferred incomplete from there to this forum. Posts being made the Pub's thread are not being posted (seen) in this forum and the posts in the Den's threads are absent from the Pub's thread. Growl informed me there were problems with the transfer and he feared any attempts to eliminate one of the Den's threads might result in the disappearance of the original. I'm hoping they can correct the situation as it appears the 3 (now 2) threads are not connected. It is disjointed and disturbing to me.
     
  6. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    msd posted:

    Lacuna, after reading this, and having a wife 10 years clear of breast cancer, I have to ask - have you been a writer by trade or is it just a natural gift. You so eloquently describe not only the physical, but also the emotional and ethereal things that surround this. Best wishes, thanks for sharing, and God Bless..
    ________________________________________________________
    My response:

    Thank you for your kind words, msd. Writing is a hobby I enjoy. I find it satisfying to select words that best fit whatever I'm trying to say. Words that authentically convey the emotion I'm feeling at the time of the writing. We all have a story to tell. I enjoy finding the words that best tell mine.

    Great outcome for your wife. May she have another 10 and then another.
     
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  7. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    GatorRade posted:

    I didn’t know about any of this. Thinking of you lacuna, and the many others that have come forward in this thread.
    ____________________________________________________________________________--
    My response:

    Thank you @GatorRade. It's the stories in the heart felt responses of the many others who make this thread what it is. I may have started the thread in sharing my story, but the shared stories from this Gator community of survivors and loved ones breathe life into it.
     
  8. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    Gatorstein posted:

    Lacuna, my thoughts and prayers are with you! I was diagnosed this summer with late stage squamous cell carcinoma. It had spread to localized lymph nodes. I decided to go to Moffitt and I thank God everyday for that decision. I was placed in an aggressive clinical trial with double daily treatments. It was tough, but I am blessed with incredible family and friends who kept me moving forward. The team at Moffitt and the Hope Lodge in Tampa are real life guardian angels! While my journey continues, my results were very positive! I can tell you the loss of hair wasn’t as bad as I thought, only because I never had good looking hair anyways! But the loss of taste was and still is difficult. But with everyday post treatments, it gets a little better. The original diagnosis was hard and I was emotionally raw. I’m in my 34th year of law enforcement and figured I could handle just about anything, but I was still shocked and speechless when I walked out of the Dr’s office after getting the news. I literally sat in my car and looked out at a beautiful Cocoa Beach morning, thinking what do I do now, how do I tell my wife and children, how pissed my wife was going to be because I hadn't’ shared anything with her yet. I do have a better awareness of the difficulties and challenges others may be experiencing now. But the absolute worst for me was the treatment waiting room twice a day. It truly breaks my heart watching so many put a smile on their face and fight like hell. But it hurts much more to see so many fighting without the support of family or friends, or the toll it takes on the support teams to stand strong and keep you going. I lost around 50 pounds, but all is good. I have every intention of retiring next year and if the good lord gives me a few more years of watching Gator games, sitting in my deer stand, and holidays with the family, then it was all worth it and I am blessed! I pray you are as well!

    __________________________________________________________________________

    My reply:
    Thank you for your prayer and response, Gatorstein. It sounds as though you had an excellent oncology team designing and handling your treatment. I found, and you may have also, some of my best encouragers and cheerleaders were other cancer patients that I met daily in the small radiation waiting room I posted about earlier in the thread. We were a tight group for a time and Trucker and I still see Sue and Dale. Without the encouragement of my family and friends I would not have been able to endure the regimen.
     
  9. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    minigator posted:

    I thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. I find it hard to read because my Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2018. She went through a hesterectomy and a tumor removal. Then there was 6 months of chemo. A month after chemo all looked good. A month after that the tumor was back and was aggressive. It grew to 12 pounds. My mom was to weak at this point to have another surgery or stronger chemo. Without many options she chose hospice and the lord took her on August 30, 2019. That same August she turned 76 and had her 58 wedding anniversary while in hospice. I pray your trial with this terrible disease of cancer has a positive outcome. God Bless you.
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Thank you, @minigator. This is the dreaded outcome faced by all too many families. I have been in remission since last summer but recurrence is a perpetual threat. Two weeks ago I experienced symptoms that had an arresting familiarity. They lasted for a disturbing length of time so I requested the PET scan that had been schedule for the first week in April be moved up. I had it on Wednesday last week. It was good news, no recurrence, but by then I had come to think the symptoms didn't mean what I thought they did as they disappeared a few days before the PET. Still, for confirmation, I had the scan and received the reassuring results.

    I would make the same choice as your mother. I have neither the strength or the will to repeat what I went through last year. My family understands. Take comfort knowing your mom is no longer suffering.
     
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  10. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    @Gatorubet2 posted:
    Enjoyed reading this lacuna. I am either stage 3 or stage 4 myself. Liver mets may or may not be mets. MD Anderson can't quite decide. But my surgery was fine last spring and chemo better than hoped for. I have bad lungs, so I told my adult sons to put "HE BEAT CANCER" on my tombstone if COVID-19 takes me. ;) Hang in there.
    __________________________________________________________________
    Thanks, Ubet2. I like your sense of humor. May we also beat COVID-19.
     
  11. Skink

    Skink GC Hall of Fame

    Thank you lacuna. I am awed by the care and effort you have taken to individually respond to each and every person who wrote to you. You are a genuine and very rare person. I wish you all the best in your fight to beat this thing. Godspeed lacuna. And Go Gators
     
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  12. Gatorhead

    Gatorhead GC Hall of Fame

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    Why can't Lacuna be President?
    Love you girl, be well .........
     
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  13. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    Thank you, Skink. It's a special thing we have going on here in our Gator community of cancer fighters and survivors. I appreciate the participation and contributions made to the thread by all who have posted.


    I can tolerate, even greatly enjoy a split infinitive, but not a split thread that divides that community
     
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  14. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    President? Eeek! o_O Anyway, my vote is going to @tarponbro
     
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  15. g8orbill

    g8orbill Old Gator Moderator VIP Member

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    My daughter in law is a fighter and my son is as well. He is a 20+ veteran of the Lake County Fl Fire Dept. He has a huge amount of sick time he is sitting on. He made the decision to call in sick for every shift until the threat of the beer virus passes, as they can be so easily exposed to disease and my DIL Tamra is going thru chemo for breast cancer. I am proud of him for making this decision.
     
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  16. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    He loves his wife and doesn't want to see harm come to her. I am lucky to be married to the same sort unselfish man. A crisis like the one we are experiencing now helps us prioritize what's truly important in our lives. You raised a good man, Bill.
     
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  17. Skink

    Skink GC Hall of Fame

    How kind of you to graciously tolerate my split infinitives lacuna :)
     
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  18. g8rtrucker

    g8rtrucker VIP Member

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    Well done, Skink. You got a chuckle out of my wordsmith bride.:emoji_thumbsup:
     
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  19. g8orbill

    g8orbill Old Gator Moderator VIP Member

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    Yesterday was treatment 6/16- today she is receiving a blood transfusion because her RBC is very low.
     
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  20. duchen

    duchen VIP Member

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    J: I hope you are well. Be safe during this scary time. and, you can be @tarponbro's VP.