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Old 03-14-2010, 05:13 PM   #501
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I, too, have been thinking about you RF, and I am pleased that you are on the mend. Speaking for myself only, I have found that I have learned more about life by adversity than by success. The good times we accept as our due. The rough times reorient our thoughts to what is truly important. Hope that the coming days and weeks are smooth sailing for you. Thanks for keeping us up to date.
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:52 PM   #502
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You've already helped. Just in passing you make a remark which highlights every decision I make. I'm living as if I'm going to die hence every action is preparation for death. Just doing responsible things in case the worst were to happen. Teaching spouse more about finance, fixing things around the house that before could be put on the honey-do list, anticipating changing family needs etc.. I know its morbid but I really need to relearn how to live.

Very similar work situations or mentality anyway. I can retire now and feel that this would be a step forward wheeras now I feel I'm just stagnent in making progress out of the depression. But again I'm in cancer death thinking mode and then re-anaylyze and calculate how much more my spouse would get pension wise if I work longer. Everything centers on death which does not allow forward thinking. I am just so happy to hear you say it. I was beginning to feel insanity was taking over. I will research oncologist therapist as I did not know they specialized to that degree. It does help to talk to people. I have been to one support group meeting and the next one is comming up but it's a catch 22 because some of them are clearly very sick and it
re-enforces my already out of whack psyche.
I'm so glad to have helped, even a little. Insanity, nope. The support groups can be very depressing if everyone is dying. You aren't. Take it one day at a time.

Remind me - what kind of cancer is it - throat of some kind? I remember it wasn't lymphoma even though the thread says lymphoma. I really think you could use the email support I mentioned - let me help you find the right group. I am a listowner and am in touch daily with the other lists' owners - it really does help to know other people have been through this and how they coped.

Ask your oncologist's office if they can recommend a therapist, also.

I'll write more later when I get a chance. Cancer sucks big time. I hate it. But you have to get the most quality of life you can. (And don't let ANYONE give you that stupid "I understand but, well, I could get hit by a bus" remark - you've already been hit by the damn bus!)

You find out who your real friends are when you have cancer - and sometimes you'll be surprised by who helps and who freaks out.

You're doing okay!
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Some clarification
Old 03-15-2010, 10:11 AM   #503
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Some clarification

It's a long thread and at times I question wheather to keep it going or not. It clearly does help me think outloud. The real reason is that someone doing a search related to "Base of the tongue cancer" should be able to find it and hopefully benefit. The title of the thread is "Diagnosed with Lymphoma" which is inaccurate but it is how things unfolded. I have consulted with the moderators and agreed that it makes more sense in the long run and tells a truer story of how the initial diagonosis progressed.

I hear the "I can get hit by the bus comment" almost everyday. My doctors love it. The other one is "Bad things happen to good people" and yes I read the book. The I'm not GOD comments are always very enlightening. They mean well and that's how I take it. The probability of my cancer returning is 22%. I really don't know what the probability of getting hit by a bus is. Ouch. I also realize that I bring all the negative upon myself but as I mentioned earlier I'm wired that way and am trying to figure out a new wiring system.

I relish all the comments in any respect because it opens new avenues that sometimes I haven't considered. There are also many cancer patients on this forumn who are always willing to help as well as just really good people who are very supportive. So as the journey continues so does my gratefullness to all of you. Please realize that sometimes I'm depressed and or angry , or confused and this is exactly what some future reader will identify with and say, "I feel just like that" as so many of you have been teaching me with your comments.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:40 AM   #504
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Look both ways when you cross the street and the probability of being hit by a bus drops dramatically.

When my 17 year old niece died people said all sorts of odd and inappropriate things. I think that they just were at a loss for what to say. Plus people like answers and often there just isn't an answer. Sounds like a similar reactions with cancer.

I am so glad you post on this thread. We all learn a lot.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:48 AM   #505
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I am so glad you post on this thread. We all learn a lot.
What Martha said.

Plus, your user name is such a contradiction in what we've learned about you as a person that it makes me smile each time you post...
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:49 AM   #506
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...I am so glad you post on this thread. We all learn a lot.
Please allow me to double oops...triple that.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:05 AM   #507
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Ah, but what are the chances of your cancer coming back AND getting hit by the bus? LOL...

Something to remember: a positive attitude does NOT improve cancer outcome. That's a load of c**p. There are studies to disprove this irritating theory. Irritating because you have to deal with people telling you not to dwell on the negative stuff or you'll have a bad outcome - how can you ignore it, huh? Let me know if you figure that one out.

Don't blame yourself for the smoking etc. Cancer happens, often for no reason. People are always trying to figure out why they got cancer, and do a "if only I had (pick one) eaten vegan, exercised more, etc. I wouldn't have had cancer" story. I've seen very healthy-lifestyle people get it. Ho hum. You had a life. Cancer isn't the punishment - it's just very bad luck.

You are lucky - it sounds like you still have all of your tongue in working order? If not let me know. Sorry to be so graphic but that was undoubtedly one of the possible outcomes.

Are you really okay with going back to work at all? Is it adding to the stress? If you have ongoing pain from the radiation (not unusual), and need narcotics to manage it, you might consider SS Disability.

You're bound to feel different now, about work and life and pretty much everything. You've had an encounter withe your own mortality and it's pretty scary. Also, for quite a while you were out of work and now you are back on someone else's schedule... it's different.

And for me, work seemed so trivial with my fear about how long I would live. I was almost 48 when diagnosed; I've managed to work until now (almost 62). But I really don't care about work any more. It's just a way to make money and so on. I sort of compartmentalized work and reality into two separate sections - on the job I ignored the cancer fear; off the job not so much.

So anyhow... call the oncologist, ask them what therapists work with cancer patients frequently or if there's a GOOD group out there, do all that stuff to get your head straight. You're dealing with a major stressor and oddly enough, when you finish treatment it often hits you hardest: you no longer have those regular appointments with the docs and you're on your own. This happens a lot.

Sorry for the rambling... but oh well, it's Monday morning I'm at work and wish I wasn't!
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:35 PM   #508
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It's a long thread and at times I question wheather to keep it going or not. It clearly does help me think out loud.
Another vote for keeping the thread going

You say it helps you think out loud. Well it makes me think about lots of things, and I admire your courage and your willingness to share your experiences for the benefit of others.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:47 PM   #509
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Please keep it going as is. It reminds me life is short and not to take anything for granted.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:06 PM   #510
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I've not said anything on this thread before, but I am reading it. Ratface, please keep the thread going. It really helps to write down feelings and share when life gets tough. Having a forum like this to express some of those feelings is good for you. You have also given me many insights on cancer that I've not been exposed to before....you are touching many people with this thread.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:13 PM   #511
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"nother vote to keep thread going. We are dealing with SIL's cancer, who now is in hospice care. Reading OP's and others' comments have been helpful.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:21 PM   #512
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The probability of my cancer returning is 22%.
I had a great oncologist, a real warm human being which most oncologists are not. After my radiation and chemo I used to obsess about the 5 year survival rates and such. Finally my oncologist said, "Look, it may be 70% or 80% for 1000 patients with your diagnosis, but for you it is either 0% or 100% and I want you to focus on doing the things that put you in the 100%".

After that I didn't obsess on 5 year survival statistics any more.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:30 PM   #513
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Ratface: Iīve just undergone prostate surgery. I know itīs peanuts compared to your process, and a frivolity to even mention it. Even so I -not being you-was pretty scared, because, once they open you up, who knows what can be found. This was on March 2, and I was quite tense the days before the surgery and didnīt bother to hide it.
I, like most, read your posts-they make me think a lot. I have to confess that some of them have scared/depressed me.

Bottom line: Iīd rather you went on posting. But if you donīt I, for one, will understand it perfectly well.

Somebody as courageous as you deserves nothing less than plain good luck.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:42 PM   #514
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Another vote for continuing this thread if you feel like it. It has been very helpful to me in coming to grips with my Dad's recent diagnosis of mesothelioma. He's 91 and although he's been in incredible condition and not at all "an old man", the cancer was diagnosed at quite an advanced stage and no treatment is planned beyond palliative measures. He is handling it with amazing dignity and as one of his nurses put it, resolute focus, although I know it still knocked the wind right out of his sails.

Good luck to you in your journey and thank you again for allowing us to come along.
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:08 PM   #515
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Another vote for continuing this thread if you feel like it. It has been very helpful to me in coming to grips with my Dad's recent diagnosis of mesothelioma. He's 91 and although he's been in incredible condition and not at all "an old man", the cancer was diagnosed at quite an advanced stage and no treatment is planned beyond palliative measures. He is handling it with amazing dignity and as one of his nurses put it, resolute focus, although I know it still knocked the wind right out of his sails.

Good luck to you in your journey and thank you again for allowing us to come along.
I know this has to be very difficult. Have you talked to hospice yet? They will be very helpful and you don't have to be actively dying to get help from them. Your father probably qualifies.

I am strongly in favor of palliative care only, in cases like your father's. His quality of life will be far better than if he "battled" cancer with chemo etc. (I hate the war metaphors.)

I had to deal with this a couple of years ago - my mother was 85 and also in really great shape - and suddenly had a massive stroke, they discovered cancer everywhere... it was really hard. No one suggested chemo and I wouldn't have allowed it. I know too much from 12 years of being involved with cancer patients after my own diagnosis.

It was terrible to have her die, but it would have been worse to watch her suffer longer with the chemo, or even just with the cancer.

If possible, talk to your father about what he wants, and make SURE to have a do-not-resuscitate order filed everywhere (if he signs one). I asked the hospital doctor what would happen if my mother went code blue - the first thing they do is intubate them and put them on a ventilator. Once on, it's very hard to get them off (legally, I mean). It's not like on TV, where the first thing is paddles. Go figure.

Ask a lot of questions and don't be afraid to be tough on the doctors. And one other thing - thinking about his age, I firmly believe that sometimes the body just kind of gives up fighting cancer cells. I believe that's what happened with my mother.
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Very Humbling
Old 03-18-2010, 06:32 PM   #516
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Very Humbling

First to all of you dealing with cancer or a loved one with cancer my heart goes out to you. Both of my parents passed relatively early in life from cancer. Anyone who may need further support with any of those issues please PM me as I have become quite the expert on many aspects of cancer and its treatment.

Just got off the phone with my colonoscopy doctor. I have been a nervous wreck since last Thursday. A week to the day I got the pathology back. If you remember I had nine polyps removed. One of those nine was about three times the size of the others. It was pre-cancerous!!!! The other eight were negative. He wants to see me back in three years. Please this is national colon cancer month. If you have been putting it off now is the time to say the hell with it, I'm doing it. Pursueing that damn colonoscopy has now saved my life twice in 9 months. Don't put this decision off.

There isn't any kind of cancer that is trivial. They can all kill you depending on the stage. Get tested for whatever you have been wondering about, that mole, that bump, that pain, that feeling, do it today.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:47 PM   #517
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Ratface...even though you've been through so much, you continue to show your concern for others. For this, I thank you.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:02 PM   #518
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I'm glad this thread is still going--obviously many of us find it helpful and hopeful.

And thank you so much for the latest news on your colonoscopy, RF--so glad they caught that sneaky little polyp and now he's all gone!
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lesson learned working through some depression issues
Old 03-26-2010, 09:03 AM   #519
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lesson learned working through some depression issues

Recently have been working out some kinks in the mental armour. I first sought assistance through an employee sponsored system that has several full time psychologists and obviously does not cost anything. My initial consultation was anything but enlightening but I think this is probably the norm as a relationship must develope. Subsequently I made a contact through my monthly cancer support group and scheduled an appointment with an oncology psychologist at a major cancer treatment facility which incidently fell within two hours of the second appointment of the first psychologist. So picture this, I'm seeing two psychologist within several hours of each other, one male, one female, on the same day. What an oppurtunity to have had some fun, perhaps split my personality and then reverse it next time around?

My major issue is a feeling of being stuck in Limbo. I can't seem to put one foot in front of the other and take a step forward.

In comparison, and seriously, and the point of the post is that I found the specialist much better equiped for dealing with my issues and made some progress on the very first visit. Basically the big differnce came down to some very well directed questions by the oncology therapist as opposed to lots of head nodding by the first therapist. In fairness both have been productive and would recomend counseling to cancer survivors and caregivers alike. The learning continues.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:34 AM   #520
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RF,

Keep seeing the specialist that regularly deals with cancer patients even if it comes out of your pocket. You have gone through a lot and have issues and feelings that need to be addressed. JMHO

I don't dwell as much on five year survival rates as I did three years ago. Is is 25% for pancreatic cancer patients who have had successful whipple surgeries. For all patients it is about 5%. Pretty gloomy numbers. Yes, I do worry before every six month checkup. What if? Three years down and two to go for me.

Best wishes and prayers for your continued recovery.

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