Six-time cancer survivor Phil Kerslake wants other cancer patients to benefit from his coping strategies - including meditation, dancing wildly to music and laughing at Monty Python reruns...
Mesothelioma may be a relatively rare disease but for those effected, it can alter your lives and the lives of your loved ones, drastically and irrevocably. This article gives the true picture about the alarming rate at which mesothelioma is increasing in the US and around the world.
Functional profiling with cell culture assays that predicts for patient survival in ovarian cancer
There is Functional Profiling (whole cell profiling) that shows data indicating a near doubling in the survival of patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, striking correlations between platinum activity and patient survival in previously-untreated ovarian cancer, and a comprehensive meta-analysis of scores of studies reporting response and survival correlations in thousands of patients.
With relapsed, platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, every clinical trial in history has just shown a 10-12 month median survival in this setting. However, background data (680 fresh surgical specimens) for the design of a cliinical trial to determine the efficacy of assay-directed therapy of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, submitted to the 2003 Society of Gynecologic Oncology meeting, had a 27 month median survival and a fair number of long-term survivors. All specimens were tested with two separate Medicare-approved cell culture assays (DISC and MTT) having cell-death endpoints.
Cell culture drug resistance testing in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer
Sub-category: Translational research
Control/Tracking Number: 2004-AB-171-SGO
Activity: Abstract Richard H. Nalick, Hospital of the Good Samaritan, Los Angeles, CA; Larry M. Weisenthal, Weisenthal Cancer Group, Huntington Beach, CA
Objectives: Obtained background data required for the design of a clinical trial to determine the efficacy of assay-directed therapy of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
Methods: 680 fresh surgical specimens of ovarian cancer were submitted from outside hospitals for the purpose of obtaining cell culture assay data to assist in the choice of chemotherapy on a non-investigational basis. Virtually all surgical specimens were tested with two separate Medicare-approved cell culture assays (DISC and MTT) having cell-death endpoints.
Results: Validation of cell culture assays for identifying platinum resistance was as follows.
1. Surgical specimens from platinum-treated patients had significantly greater in vitro resistance to platinum than surgical specimens from untreated patients.
2. Untreated patients without in vitro resistance to platinum had significantly better long-term, overall survival than patients with in vitro resistance to platinum (2775 vs 713 days, P2=0.0066).
3. Surgical specimens obtained within 6 months of platinum-based therapy had significantly greater in vitro resistance to platinum than surgical specimens obtained more than 6 months after the last platinum-based therapy.
4. In patients more than 6 months after the last platinum-based therapy, in vitro resistance to platinum predicted for significantly inferior long-term, overall survival (950 days vs median not reached, P2<0.05).
Comparing early relapse surgical specimens with untreated surgical specimens, the following regimens showed significantly inferior activity in early relapse surgical specimens: cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin, melphalan, thiotepa, mitomycin, paclitaxel, and the topotecan + cicplatin combination. The following did not show significantly inferior activity in ER surgical specimens: gemcitabine, etoposide, vinorelbine, fluorouracil, epirubicin, pegylated doxorubicin, topotecan, irinotecan, docetaxel, and all 3 gemcitabine + platinum combinations. Although the gemcitabine + platinum combination was the only active regimen in 25% of the early relapse surgical specimens, in 30% there was at least one active single agent, and in another 20%, other drug combinations were superior to gemcitabine + platinum, some of these being irinotecan + mitomycin, paclitaxel + cyclophosphamide, cyclophosphamide + etoposide, platinum + topotecan, and gemcitabine + melphalan. With a minimum follow-up of 3 years post-assay, early relapse (primary refractory and first relapse) patients had a median long-term, overall survival of 849 days, while all early relapse patients (including multiple relapse) had a median survival of 612 days. All late relapse patients had a median long-term, overall survival of 1244 days.
Conclusions: These results support a 3-armed, prospective randomized trial in early relapse patients to compare physician's choice chemotherapy, assay-directed therapy, and the 3 gemcitabine + platinum combination.
There have been 5 different studies of the relationship between the results of Cell Culture Assay Testing and patient survival in ovarian cancer, and all 5 studies show significant correlations between these assays and patient survival.
Functional profiling with cell culture assays for targeted drug therapy
There was a recent study describing correlations between cell culture assay results (cell death in response to Iressa exposure) and survival of 31 patients with non-small cell lung cancer who had received extensive prior chemotherapy. These correlations were based on the actual assay results which had been reported, in real time, prospectively to the doctors who had ordered the assay laboratory tests. There were striking correlations between test results and patient survival (not just response).
By inhibiting anti-apoptosis with Iressa (or even Tarceva), the cells undergo apoptosis and die. And it is detected at the whole cell level in the cell culture assays and reported out - prospectively - that this correlates strikingly with patient survival. Not only is it a very important predictive test, but it is a unique tool for identifying newer, better drugs, testing drug combinations, and serving as a "gold standard" to develop new DNA, RNA, and protein-based tests of drug activity.
EGF-targeted drugs (Iressa, Tarceva, Erbitux) are poorly-predicted by measuring the ostensible target (EGFR), but can be well-predicted by measuring the effect of the drugs on the function of "live" cells. Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is a receptor on many normal tissues/cells, and also on many cancer cells. It is a growth hormone, locally secreted by cells. It attaches to a receptor on the cell membrane called Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). It then activates so-called signalling pathways within the cell, a cascade of biochemical events, including phosphorylation of proteins, leading to cell growth/proliferation/division. One type of an enzyme which is involved in the pathway which is involved in protein phosphorylation is called tyrosine kinase.
The assay is the only test that involves direct visualization of the cancer cells at endpoint. This allows for accurate assessment of drug activity, discriminates tumor from non-tumor cells, and provides a permanent archival record, which improves quality, serves as control, and assesses dose response in vitro (includes newly-emergent drug combinations).
Iressa (gefitinib) or Tarceva (erlotinib) induced cell death in short term fresh tumor cultures predicts for long term patient survival in previoulsy-treated non-small cell lung cancer.
Sub-category: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Category: Lung Cancer
Meeting: 2006 ASCO Annual Meeting
Abstract No: 17117
Author (s): L. M. Weisenthal
Abstract: Gefitinib (GEF) may act by inhibiting anti-apoptotic signals transduced by mutant EGFR kinase (Science 305:1163,04). Cell culture assays with cell death endpoints could be informative for GEF activity.
Methods: We tested 568 biopsies of fresh human tumors (TUM) with 2 concentrations of GEF (22 and 11 µg/ml) for 96 hrs, each with 2 separate cell death endpoints (DISC and MTT). Results classified as resistant (RES), intermediate (INT), or sensitive (SEN) based on means and standard deviations of training set data, reported prospectively to 3 different physicians: surgeon, pathologist, and oncologist. Assay evaluability rate > 90%.
Results: Based on overall % control cell death, the following TUM showed (on average) no greater RES or SEN than the universe of 568 assays: NSCLC (n = 72), colon (33), breast (106), ovarian (109), melanoma (23), pancreatic (20), endometrial (12). The following showed (on avg) significantly greater RES: soft tissue sarcomas (n = 24), carcinoid/islet (16), renal (15), and mesothelioma (8). For NSCLC, there was no avg difference between female (32) vs male (35) or untreated (34) vs previously treated (38). For 32 unRxd pts with survival data, there was no significant difference in overall surv for 20 pts with prospectively reported GEF RES (GR) assays vs 12 pts with SEN or INT (GSI) assays. For 31 pts with prior chemoRx (med surv = 155 days), there was significant survival disadvantage for 14 pts with prospectively reported GR vs 17 pts with GSI (median 85 vs 380 days, P2 < 0.0001, HR 3.7; 95% C.I. 2.6-19). For pts with known post-assay Rx, there were 7 pts with GSI subsequently receiving GEF or erlotinib (ERLOT), with med surv = 485 days; 9 pts with GSI not receiving GEF or ERLOT, med surv = 135 days; 10 pts with GR not receiving GEF or ERLOT, med surv = 76 days, and 3 pts with GR receiving GEF or ERLOT, med surv = 75 days. Survival of group of 7 pts was significantly greater than those of groups of 9, 10, and 3 pts (P2 = 0.037, P2 < 0.0001, and P2 = 0.0008, respectively.
Conclusions: GEF-induced cell death in cultures of fresh TUM from prev-treated NSCLC pts may identify pts with favorable prognosis, particularly when treated with GEF or ERLOT.
Outline of Topic
BENEFIT OF SALVAGE THERAPY
The blood brain barrier
Clinical trial design
Defining treatment activity in phase II trials
Phase III testing
Evaluation of QOL during treatment
Analysis of phase III trial outcomes
Single agent chemotherapy
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
by Joyce Meyer
There is no fear, in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, Perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into Love's complete perfection]. 1 John 4:18
In years past, when I read this scripture, I misunderstood its meaning. I thought it was saying that if I could reach the place where I walked in perfect love towards other people, I would no longer experience fear in my own life. I diligently tried to love others, but it seemed like I always fail. I could not even love them imperfectly, let alone perfectly!
I had a lot of fear in my life fear that manifested in insecurity and mental torment of every kind. A person, who is fearful, worries. He is anxious about many things. The past, the future, finances, what people think, etc., these are his constant companions, which literally bring torment. The King James version of I John 4:18 certainly describes fear accurately when it says that, "fear hath torment."
There are many evil spirits that Satan uses to make people miserable, but I personally believe that fear is the master spirit. Fear seems to be the root of most of the problems that steal our peace. For example, if we find ourselves uncomfortable in a group of people, it is usually because we fear what they think of us. If we are trying to control a situation and it is causing us to get into strife, it is often because we are afraid that we will be taken advantage of, if we don't control everything.
THE CONTROL ISSUE
Trying to control people, circumstances, and even God is a hard task. As a matter of fact, it is impossible. Out of fear, I spent many years trying to control everything and everyone. I was fearful of being hurt or taken advantage of, as I had been in the past. I had not yet learned about "perfect love that casts out fear." I was busy being in charge of everything being the great choir director of my life. The Holy Spirit wants to guide, direct, and control us. If we allow Him, He will direct us into great blessings for our lives. We are to operate in self-control and give the Holy Spirit control of our lives, but we should never try to control other people. Satan uses manipulation and control to get his way, but these are not the methods that God's children should use to get what they desire.
We are to trust God, pray about what we want, and believe that He will do the best for us at the right time. This is difficult to learn because all too often our experience with people teaches us not to trust. We must learn that people and God are not alike. All people are imperfect and even those who try not to hurt others, occasionally do. How can imperfect people love us with perfect love? If they could, we would have no fear. Our fears concerning people being hurt and disappointed by them, would be ended.
Because the emotional pain of rejection, judgment, betrayal, criticism, etc. is very real and devastating, we naturally avoid it once we have experienced it. It seems that people fall into one of two categories, they either withdraw in fear and live lonely lives where they avoid close relationships, or they do what I once did. They want to have relationships, but they can never really develop proper ones because of all their fears.
They end up controlling, manipulating, and being angry a lot. In general, their lives are frustrating, because much of the time, they truly don't know what is wrong. They are reacting out of old wounds rather than acting on the truth of God's Word.
THE CURE FOR THE INSECURE
Insecurity is said to be an epidemic in today's society. There are so many insecure people trying to have relationships with other insecure people. We find a very high percentage of this kind of relationships, which the world calls dysfunctional. This simply means they are not functioning properly.
Most people are raised in dysfunctional homes. They go out into society and continue the dysfunction, and each generation adds to the last one's problems until society becomes increasingly more dysfunctional. There is, however, an answer. His name is Jesus Christ.
When Jesus said in John 14:6, ...I am the Way..., He not only meant that He was the Way to the Father and the Way to heaven, but I believe He also meant that He was the Way out of every wrong and messed-up situation.
If invited, Jesus can get into the middle of dysfunctional lives and make them functional again. He restores, renews, redeems, reconciles, and refreshes. Jesus is "re" everything. The prefix "re" means "to go back again, or to return to the starting place". Our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, intends to get us back to the place, where Satan messed things up, and to give us a new beginning.
If we repent, He removes the reproach of the past, gives us a full recompense for our past hurts. Yes, Jesus is the only Way.
Why should Jesus help us in this manner? He does it because He is love because He loves us. He is God's love gift to us. Jesus is the manifestation of Perfect Love. Only Perfect Love can cast out fear. One thing, we need to concentrate on and seek God for, is a revelation about the love He has extended towards us.
Very few people have a deep and abiding revelation concerning the love of God. I believe God wants me to tell you that He loves you very much. That may sound simple, but it is the most powerful thing you can believe. When we know (without doubt) the perfect, complete love that God has for us, it will cause fear to lose its grip on our lives.
LEARNING TO ABIDE IN HIS LOVE
The word, abide means "to dwell in or live". It does not refer to "visiting". It refers to staying or remaining. I don't visit my house; I live in it. We should learn to live in the love of God. I John 4:16 in the Amplified translation brings out the point that we should become conscious and aware of the love God has for us. The knowledge of His love should not be some biblical fact to which we mentally assent, but it should be a daily living reality in our lives. This scripture says we should observe it and experience it.
And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in God, God dwells and continues in him. (I John 4:16)
I was so desperate for a revelation concerning the love of God, that several years ago I began to keep a journal of the things He did in my life that I believed to be a display of His love. No matter how small they were, I recorded them. This process helped me to become more conscious of His love. I needed to dwell in God's love because I needed a lot of healing. I was insecure and fearful, and I have found out that the love of God is the cure for the insecure.
When people gave me things, I recorded it. When I was shown favor in situations, I recorded it. When God answered prayers and did things for me that I had requested, I recorded it. Many of the things I recorded seemed rather childish, but they were helping me become like the little child Jesus said we should be a child who is trusting, humble, lowly, and loving.
I believe God is showing His love for us daily in many different ways, but because we have not trained ourselves to be "conscious of His love," we miss what He is doing. His love is there, but it is not a reality to us. Therefore, it does not benefit us, as it should.
Paul's prayer for the church, as recorded in the book of Ephesians, indicates how very important it is that we have a deep revelation concerning how much God loves us. Paul could have prayed for anything. He could have prayed for them to have power, to do miracles, to exercise authority over the devil. But Paul prayed for the church to be rooted deeply in God's love.
Paul knew that was the starting point the place from which every point starts the place from which everything else grows. Power, miracles, victory, authority are all based on our being secure in the fact that God loves us.
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Ephesians 3:17-19
These scriptures make it clear that we need to experience His love not just have head knowledge, but a deep revelation, and that the roots of our being should be "securely" planted in His love.
THE FEAR OF LACK
There are endless varieties of fear, but one of the tormenting fears that many people suffer from is the fear of lack. They fear that their needs will not be met that God will not come through in time.
Hebrews 13:5-6 gives great comfort to those in this situation. Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you [Assuredly not!]
So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?
You may be in a situation right now that you have never been in before. You may be facing new responsibility that you don't know how to handle. You may have needs that are beyond your resources, and the spirit of fear is attacking you and telling you that you are not going to make it. You may feel all alone in your situation, like nobody cares, but God cares about you!
When God says in these scriptures to be satisfied with your present circumstances, He does not mean that you cannot desire change. But we should be content in Jesus, knowing that He has heard our prayers and believing that He will never fail us. We must learn how to enjoy where we are on the way to where we are going.
God is a God of progress. He is never standing still. Even when it seems to us that absolutely nothing is happening in our lives, God is working behind the scene on things that He will manifest at exactly the right time. God is Life and life must flow, otherwise it is no longer life. Dead things stagnate and no longer move, but life is always moving, stirring, making progress.
Beloved, God has a good plan for you, and He will manifest it right on time. Fear not, God is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will not leave you without support! If you need financial support, He will provide. If it is physical support you need, He will sustain you while you are waiting for your full manifestation of healing. If you need emotional support, He will comfort you with the kind of comfort that only the Holy Spirit can give. He will nourish you and bring you back to a place of strength in every area of your life. God is for you. He is not against you. Satan is against you, but God is for you. The greater One lives in you!
LET NOTHING SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD'S LOVE
Romans 8:35-39 speaks to us about difficult times and how important it is not to allow them to separate us from God's love. I have discovered over the years that His love sustains me in times of great trial and stress. During hard times, Satan works overtime trying to convince us that God does not love us that if He did, either we would not be in this situation, or He would have delivered us by now.
I affirm out loud from my own mouth the truth that God does love me during these attacks of fear. I encourage you to say several times a day with authority, "God loves me!" Don't allow the devil to steal this truth from you.
Ephesians 6 speaks of wearing spiritual armor during demonic attacks. One piece of that armor is the belt of truth. The Amplified Bible states that we are to tighten the belt of truth during attack. That means the truths we have learned from God's Word must be held onto tightly during trials.
Let me close with these scriptures from Romans 8:35-39 and I pray that they will comfort you right now; Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?
Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As long as you refuse to let anything separate you from God's love, you will have the victory.
You always know that the day will come that your life may be coming to end. For some it comes early, for some in mid life and hopefully for the rest of us when we are old and gray.
During the road of life we take risks, we do dumb things and we make choices because we think we are fearless, a superman of sorts and you only die when you are old. We spend much of our lives in the early years chasing the girls, then getting married and having a family, then years cultivating our careers so we can have the lifestyle that we have always dreamed of and along the way we forget about ourselves and the choices we made not to mention the damage these choices can do to you later in life. They say when you have a life changing situation the best thing is to write it down because you may want to share it with others so here we go.
Over and over we hear and read about all the bad things that can happen to us from alcohol, drugs and smoking. Do we listen? We all know the answer to that for we continue to do bad things to our body. I am just as guilty because I didn
This article was done on me when I was finishing up treatment. It was wierd being interviewed and followed around for pictures everyday. I hope that when people read the article they can see the good that can come out of cancer.
If you act with hostility when you have cancer, your demeanor changes for the worse. Your anger, created by fears, frustrations and disappointments will be taken out on others. The people closest to you will receive the brunt of your wrath and instead of the caring person you often were, you become moody and bitter.
One of the commonest concerns of people supporting you, when you respond with hostility focused outwards, is how to stop you taking your frustrations out on them. Typical statements from your spouse, partner or friends will be He/she keeps yelling at me, I've almost reached the end of my tether and How do I get the person I knew back?
Expressing anger in this way will threaten the positive relationships that give meaning to your life and that are strong allies in your fight against cancer.
If you become a withdrawn cancer patient you will retreat into yourself and it will become extremely hard to get through to you. While keeping quiet may seem a socially acceptable coping behavior, in fact it can be equally as torturous to people close to you. You create a similar torment as the hostile patient.
Ask anyone whose partner sulks whether they would prefer the silence or an all-out argument. They'd often prefer the argument; at least it clears the air. When you withdraw due to a cancer diagnosis you are not sulking in the traditional sense. You may be in a state of denial, in a state of mild shock or in a why me? phase. But the effect on those around you will be the same. It hurts when someone you love closes off from you for whatever reason. Whats more, it will do you no good to bottle up your emotions.
The serene cancer patient remains open and sociable and does not seem to become angry or frightened, ever. If this sounds like you, you will be seen as a perfect patient by your supporters and your medical team. Youll never complain, lose your temper or become emotionally distraught.
You may be this way by nature or you may have suddenly made a personality transition. Either way you may ultimately become a source of extreme frustration and despair for those people who love you because you will seem completely unphazed to the point of appearing not to care about your own life.
This may be the worst way of dealing with your diagnosis, because anger and other strong emotions have no opportunity of being vented and otherwise expressed and managed effectively. They could create stress, distress and possibly a state of physical and psychological imbalance in your system. Whats more, your apparent resignation to the disease might just be realized like a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Cancer patients bottle up their feelings for a number of reasons. Some believe that expressing feelings openly is undignified, embarrassing or inappropriate. Those around cancer patients sometimes react negatively when they express their emotions too.
People with cancer often remark that they are prevented by friends and family from expressing their concerns and inner feelings directly. While their supporters are sympathetic during the patients moments of sadness or helplessness, they can become uncomfortable and not be so supportive when the person expresses anger or frustration.
Ultimately, the expression and effective management of emotions is crucial for cancer patients so if you see yourself in the descriptions above, its important that you reconsider your current coping approach and find ways to express what you need to.
The author Phil Kerslake is a 6-time cancer survivor, the author of the 2006 book Life, Happiness & Cancer and a regular speaker to cancer support conferences worldwide. For more information on Phil, his book and his presentations, visit his website www.lifepaths.co.nz.
I am a firm believer in planning whatever I want to achieve in my life. Planning (and taking all the actions required to realise the plan) was invaluable in coping with my six lifetime cancer diagnoses.
First diagnosed in 1979, in 2004 I faced my most challenging cancer encounter. For the second time in my life the lymphoma had relapsed to stage 4 (there is no stage 5). Six months of chemotherapy preceded the removal of my spleen, high-dose chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant.
The combined effects of advanced disease and treatments left me weaker and less mobile than ever before. My willpower, determination and exuberance for life, which had always been my strongest suits, were waning.
My plan for coping included employing a range of psychosocial support measures that had helped me in the past. I drew from my humour library, regularly watching my favourite comedies to lift my spirits. I played music to help me express and manage my emotions. I wrote about what I was experiencing each day to help me examine and vent my feelings.
What helped most though was carrying out a review of my life; looking at whether it was everything I wanted it to be (the cancer notwithstanding). When at your lowest ebb, you need everything possible in your present and future to encourage you to hold on. Reflecting on all areas of my life I realised I needed to change my vocation.
I had never enjoyed some aspects of being a corporate manager. By nature I loved to create and positively influence those around me, while the corporate world is driven by competitiveness and immersed in politics, where values are often surrendered for self-interest. There was a fundamental mismatch between who I was and what I did for a living and I felt remedying this would help my recovery aspirations.
I wrote a compelling vision statement to focus me on a new career and lifestyle: To show people how to live happier and more fulfilling lives. For me this meant doing a number of things. I had long intended to write a book on how to take action to help cope with a cancer battle. I set this project as a high priority.
One thing I had really enjoyed about my corporate job was helping my staff develop and grow as people. I did some research and resolved that I would be able to focus on this for a living as a life and career coach.
I also wanted to give something back in recognition of the support I had received in coping with cancer throughout my life. Like so many people I had benefited greatly from the services of my local Cancer Society, but many others had given freely and generously to help me cope too. I decided that after I had recovered I would find forums to deliver talks about the coping strategies I would subsequently write about in my book Life, Happiness & Cancer.
The motivation and excitement generated by my life-after-cancer planning helped me re-gain my zest for life and emotional strength. I began to cope better with the treatments and my recovery progressed well. By Christmas 2004 I was back at home in full remission. My energies returned steadily along with my hair, as I put my plan into action full of enthusiasm for life.
That was over two years ago. I found happiness and fulfilment in my new activities. I wrote and published my book, which became and remains a bestseller in New Zealand. I trained to become a life and career coach and established my own business. I was even discovered (as they say) while promoting my book on television, and became the resident life coach on a morning TV show. And as Christmas 2006 arrived I had delivered my Life, Happiness & Cancer presentation to over 1,500 people at 31 forums.
But my ultimate joy came in November 2006 when I learned my wife Gillian was pregnant with our first child. This too, we planned!
The great English poet WH Auden defined cancer as a foiled creative fire. For me, reigniting my own fire by planning a new lifestyle and career helped me cope with and eventually overcome cancer, and to establish an even better life than before.
Phil Kerslake lives in New Zealand, is a six-time survivor of different lymphomas across four decades and the author of the 2006 book Life, Happiness & Cancer: Survive with Action and Attitude! For more information about Phil, his book and presentations to cancer support conferences visit his website www.lifepaths.co.nz.