As some of you may know, I am a VERY lucky survivor of pancreatic cancer. Thus, I am thankful each and every day to celebrate the blessing of life. On February 12, 2019, it will be four years since I had my successful Whipple surgery. My longevity is related to my embracing life and choosing happiness.
Today, I want to share a few FREE resources I have developed and tell my personal story. Why? To provide hope and serenity for anyone with a serious disease and their loved ones. We must never forget that our caregivers suffer and endure along with us.
Resources for Better Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness
After recovering from my surgery and follow-up chemotherapy, I view my life’s mission as assisting others with a terrible illness. To me, this is a responsibility that I welcome as one of the relatively few long-term pancreatic cancer survivors. In my mind and heart, I MUST give back.
So, please take a look at these resources.
Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey
With this book, I want to share my personal cancer journey with you. I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with a terrible disease and their families. Why? To quote the late NY Yankee star Lou Gehrig when he was honored at Yankee Stadium while dying from ALS: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
The book is a hopeful, but realistic, view of my journey from diagnosis through treatment through return to work and my being able to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. It has some humor and many quotes to ease the reading.
Click the book cover to download a FREE copy of the book. Then, share it with someone you love.
Living Well While Surviving Cancer
During the summer, I started a new blog to share health-related information and inspirational stories. It features infographics, videos, articles, and more. And despite the title, it relates to a wide range of health issues.
Click the image to visit the blog. Then, PLEASE sign up to follow us.
Finally, check out these new resources. Welcome aboard!
- Facebook Page: Welcome to Living Well with Cancer
- LinkedIn Group: Living Well While Surviving Cancer
- Twitter Page: Living Well with Cancer (@well_cancer)
My Story: Live Life Every Day
In early 2015, my wonderful endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Terrana ran a routine blood test (part of my three-month testing as a diabetic). And he did not like the results. So, he sent me for an immediate CT-scan. It showed a lump in my pancreas. Soon after, I underwent 9-hour Whipple surgery by Dr. Gene Coppa of Northwell and the Hofstra Medical School. The tumor was malignant, but removed in full. After a short recuperation, I underwent six months of chemotherapy and other treatments under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Vacirca and his right-hand person Diana Youngs, nurse-practitioner, of NSHOA (now New York Cancer & Blood Specialists).
Why do I consider myself so lucky?
- I was diagnosed REALLY early and had surgery shortly after. And pancreatic cancer can be a real killer because eighty percent are diagnosed too late for surgery.
- My family and friends have been terrific every day. And I have bonded with other cancer survivors.
- My medical team has been extraordinary. Besides being excellent professionals, they are caring and devoted. They are dedicated to making our lives as comfortable as possible.
- I work in a profession I love. I’ve been at Hofstra University for 43 years. Except for sitting out the spring 2015 semester, I have not missed one class since since then.
- I have a drive that encourages me to be upbeat about dealing with life’s events. Thus, I have two mantras: “Live life every day” and “Happiness is a choice.”
- On February 12, 2019, I celebrate FOUR years since surgery. After finishing chemo in August 2015, my CT-scans have all been clean. My plan is to be around for many more years.
My personal advice:
- Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
- Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
- Listen to the medical professionals!
- Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
- Be upbeat; getting down is counter productive. [(a) When diagnosed, I set two goals: to dance at my daughter’s October 2015 wedding and to deliver a toast. Mission accomplished. I never thought these things wouldn’t happen. (b) People don’t believe me when I remark that I never said “why me”? Instead I say, “boy was I lucky to be diagnosed so early.”]
- Seek out your friends/acquaintances who have also dealt with cancer. They can be a wonderful resource and sounding board (when you don’t want to further burden your family).
- Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
- Live for tomorrow and the time thereafter.