Friday, March 14, 2008

The Next Step

Medically speaking my next step is going to be on Tuesday, 3-18-2008. It is this day that I will have surgery to have all my teeth extracted and a port placement. Ahhh, Why you ask? I shall briefly explain.

Radiation can cause your teeth to go bad. If that happens, it can cause a multitude of problems. Infection and death of the jaw bone being the biggest concern. Should this happen, surgery is required and this in turn can cause a difference in life quality. That is summing up a lengthy explanation, But I try not to bore anyone. In a nutshell, I am preventing a host of potential problems. Hence increasing my percentage of survival.

The port, it is just so they can inject my body full of those lovely fluids that not only help cure the cancer, but also create the side effects which we all have grown to accept yet hate simultaneously. Though the drug they intend to use, Herbatux, is not supposed to produce all those effects, the proof is in the puddin. Either way, the pain which I have endured for 2 months now has allowed me to gratefully accept what ever is to come in the upcoming months. ( Go figure!)

When I first started this blog it's intention was to keep my family and friends informed on my condition, cut down on the phone bill and save me from embarrassment should I be having a " Bad Day". What I did not anticipate was how many other people would be reading this blog and how it impacted their life as well.

After reflecting back on all the comments I have received, it has grown to be so much more than that. I have received many emails where people have expressed their concerns, similarities and let us not forget the endless supply and appreciated, well-wishers.

The well-wishers play a vital role. They are the people who do not, nor pretend to understand, yet their heart goes out to you. They are not sure what they can do, yet still offer assistance should you decide you need it. It is this that constitutes the feeling that they do care. Believe me, it is nice to be reassured of what we already know.

Our Com Padres of cancer, are the ones that are the most meaningful. Not to down play the importance of others, they are the ones to whom we can relate and find true solice and comfort in. It is these people who play the ever important role in our healing process. Whether you have or survived oral cancer, prostrate cancer, lung cancer or breast cancer, it has the same emotional toll. There have been five major Com Padres that have helped me along the way. One being my Uncle Dave. He is the one who was able to teach me how to come to grips with my cancer. The Second was my Mom. Her recent bout with breast cancer has allowed the both of us to rely on one another as a sounding board. The third was a friend named Jeanne, brilliant author of The Assertive Patient . She runs a blog as well and has emailed me frequently and really has helped more than she realizes. The forth is Dr. Creighan and all the friends at OCF. It was his e-mail that showed me the importance of my experiences and my desire to help others.

It is these reasons that I have developed the strong desire to take this blog a step further. It is my goal to be able to travel and share my experiences. Whether to a University, Church or a support group, I want to be able to aid those who are in need. To be able to urge others, that in many cases, a simple screening can either prevent or cure a cancer before it becomes too advanced.

OH, Number Five? Naw, ....I did not forget. I saved the best for last.
Number 5 would be the Good Lord above. With out his strength and guidence I would not be able to survive as well as I have thus far!


Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Hi John,
I came across your blog as you are blogging about entering "The Next Step." As a physician and long-term survivor, I applaud your efforts to turn your trials into an opportunity to educate others.

You might be interested in my blog on "Healthy Survivorship."

As you know, a survivor is anyone who has ever had a cancer diagnosis. Anyone, no matter what the quality of treatment, attitude or efforts.
That's why I introduced the term "Healthy Survivor" for a survivor who gets good care and lives as fully as possible. You can be a Healthy Survivor no matter how sick you are or how bad the prognosis, because Healthy Survivorship is about making life the best it can be and accepting what is. It's about finding happiness today while hoping for a better tomorrow.

Wishing you a smooth course through treatment.
With hope, Wendy