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Cancer And Me: 1-Year Anniversary

I came face-to-face with cancer a year ago and I've spent that time learning how to live with it and looking forward to the day when I can live without it.

No news is good news … unless you're a journalist trying to fill the pages of a newspaper. In that case, even bad news can be good news.

That's not the same with web-based journalism, since we're not trying to fill the entire World Wide Web. We're just trying to help people find out what's going on out there.

At the doctor's office, no news is perhaps more frustrating than any news — good or bad. Sure, no one wants to get bad news from the doctor. But as long as there's a cure for the problem, how bad can it be?

My most recent CT and bone scans at Stanford Medical Center weren't entirely positive or negative, so I'll be going back for more scans and blood tests to see if there's been any progression with my carcinoid cancer.

I'm a little concerned by the continuing abdominal pain I'm experiencing near one of my surgical sites. I know it's not my appendix — the doctors already got rid of that. My oncologist, Dr. Alex Metzger at the Marin Cancer Institute, was a little concerned too but there's not enough solid evidence to be worried about anything. In other words, we're in watch and wait mode.

So, after thinking about it for a day or two, and as frustrating as it might be, I've decided in this case no news is good news. Why let fear ruin the holidays when we don't even know that there's something to be afraid of?

Things are a lot better than they were a year ago. December 6 is the anniversary of the discovery a good-sized neuroendocrine tumor in my abdomen. My wife drove me to the emergency room atMarin General Hospital in the wee hours of the morning after I had spent most of the night doubled over in pain and vomiting.

The quick work of the doctors and hospital staff helped save my life that day last year, for which I am grateful.

It was confusing and terrifying, lying in a hospital bed trying to come to grips with the notion that I had cancer. I've got a better handle on it now. I understand better what the cancer is. I can better deal with it, even though it's been an emotional nightmare for my family and me. And, I can better face the future.

I'll continue with my course of monthly Sandostatin injections and trust that the drug is helping to keep the cancer at bay. 

The side effects from the long-release formula don't seem to be too bad, although it can leave me listless and nauseous for a couple days. Small price to pay if it helps lead to a cure — for me or even someone else.

I'll hope that the data gained from my case will help other patients. Most of all, I'll hope for a long and fun-filled life ahead.

TonyLanderos December 11, 2011 at 07:19 AM
Search on the web "Penny Health" if you have a condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, cancer, depression or have had an injury, like a broken leg and need health Insurance NOW.
Pat December 11, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Derek, thanks for your courage and willingness to share your experiences in dealing with cancer. Its a lingering fear in all of us that we will someday have to experience what you are going through. Your stories on your experiences urge the rest of us to keep a vigil on our health. I am going in for a colonoscopy at the end of the week, thanks to your stories and doctor's advice. Pat @Westpointinn.org

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