Update: A very troubling three-month cancer scare has just ended; pain in my right jaw right in the path of the radiation that burned my tongue and throat keeps me from wanting to eat. It was a nervous trip down to Dana-Farber in Boston and a glorious ride back after my doc said it's NOT CANCER and it's like having a sprained ankle in my jaw. Apparently the pain's caused by a custom-made dental appliance my dentist made for me to even out my bite so I can chew and help me gain back some of the 70 pounds I lost when I was sick. The price for this fix is stunning, but it had to be done, and I'm trying to find a way to pay for it.
A few weeks ago my oncologist told me I'm still in remission. Happy day. So I'm trying to be mindful and appreciate every moment. Thank you all so much.
My Cancer: I was told I had "untreatable" Stage 4 metastatic head and neck cancer in 2008 and was successfully treated at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with radical head and neck dissection surgery, high-intensity focused radiation and the NIH's first human trial of the experimental nanotechnology-produced chemotherapy drug Abraxane.
Since I had nothing to lose, I agreed to participate in the experimental drug trial on the chance that someone after me might benefit. Wouldn't you? It worked, but took a heavy toll on my body. The punch line is that I'm presently gratefully in remission, thank God (I really do.) My cancer survival is one thing, but my cancer treatment survival has been a much, much greater challenge.
Recovery has been difficult as I've been struggling to take better care of myself by myself. I lost 70 pounds that I have not been able to restore. And a year ago, I fell down a flight of stairs breaking my back.
Today I'm trying to be my own healer; I successfully kicked opioids two months ago. Walking two miles every other day, being a smart food shopper, trying to eat better and trying to make myself think positive thoughts. I want to start taking yoga classes. Hard to believe, huh? I've always been a diagnosis, drug and knife kind of guy. I've done all that; now I'm seeking inner healing.
Money's so tight...well, you get it. My social security check can't cover my monthly expenses. I need to get stabilized and do the things I need to do to restore myself. It's been so hard for me to ask for help and say "yes" to offers from family and good friends. My wonderful siblings are graciously helping me an many, many ways. Here's the hard part: asking for help getting back on my feet. It'll be even harder to accept it, but I'm managing to keep my dignity. So I'm asking for help. Anonymous works.
- Bruce Daman
- James Flint
- Martin Sheehan
- M L Katze