Sunday, December 20, 2015

Three Years Cancer-Free

Personal Milestones

@Home: On October 17th
Photo Credit: ©Perry J. Greenbaum

Today marks three years cancer-free. It was three years ago today that surgeons removed an orange-sized tumor from my lower colon, and with this the source of the unbearable pain and blockage of normal bowel functions. (This milestone is not the same as NED  (no evidence of disease), which comes after all treatment are completed and tests, including a CT scan, have been done; in my case, this is September 20th.)

After the surgery and a short hospital stay of four days post-op, I recuperated for approximately six weeks at home; initially, I was weak and unable to do simple tasks, including eating more than a few bites of food. But within time, I regained both my appetite and a good measure of my strength. In February, I started six months of adjuvant chemotherapy and tests, which is documented in my blog within a blog, “A Cancer Memoir.”

I still suffer side effects; I still am working toward full recovery; and I still am grateful for whatever good health I have. It often takes a personal tragedy, it has been said, to appreciate the importance of life and of living well. Change comes, but not easily. This is a lesson that is not easily learned. Life's lessons often take a lifetime of learning.

So, I continue learning and gaining knowledge, and I continue reading and writing. My intimate and up-close experience with cancer has naturally and predictably increased my interest in this disease; this is among the chief reasons of many that I write about it and post it on social media (see here): not only to increase the public knowledge of the latest medical research, but also to increase hope for persons undergoing the trials and tribulations of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

If I have helped a few, such is good and encouraging news; if you feel up to it, consider sharing the news, either publicly or privately. Cancer does not have to be the end, no, not at all. It can often be the wake-up call, the catalyst to change. One thing is almost certain, post-cancer, no one is the same person he was pre-cancer. Not only physically, but in so many ways that define a person.