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20 Years Today!!!

hodgkoid2003's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Apr 2009

I’ve done it. I reached a milestone that I thought impossible upon being told, “You have cancer.” I’ve reached the 20 year mark in remission, without relapse.

While I do realize it is a big deal, to survive cancer this long, as always, I consider it bitter sweet. There are so many that I’ve had to say goodbye to from this disease, and so many more who battle today. Almost two years ago now, I also discovered that my cure has come at a price.

But just as there has been progress in fighting cancer, a relatively new field of medicine is evolving. Medicine is finally recognizing that with longevity, there are fairly good chances that late side effects from those treatments may have an effect later in life. Long ago, cancer patients didn’t live long enough to develop these side effects. Today, there are literally hundreds of thousands of us surviving decades.

Today, discovering that I have late effect issues is difficult, but is also kind of a relief. Because for too long, things just didn’t feel right whether it was fatigue, chest discomfort, back pain, or breathing issues. But for the normal-looking patient, doctors didn’t know what to look for. My late effects are managed, and for the most part, you can’t tell that I am dealing with anything. This is a compliment of the highest degree to the team of medical specialists from all levels that I deal with. Unless you hear it from me, or my shirt is open far enough, you’d never know anything was done to me. One particular thing that I overlooked and only came to realize recently, is how my entire healthy history changed me and my life emotionally twenty years ago. I can finally admit that.

Overall, life is great. I am blessed with a beautiful family. I look forward to hopefully another 20th anniversary milestone for my heart bypass which would also put my cancer survivorship well over 35 years, but at least I’d get to see my girls graduate. There used to be a time, when you wouldn’t be able to count on this. Today, I look forward to it.

This past fall, while continuing to meet new members of my medical team, I was able to locate and visit with two very important people from my past. One was the radiation tech that treated me, and the other was my oncology nurse. It provided me with much needed closure, as I “ran and not walked” out of the doctor’s offices without ever looking back. I owed these to my life, and I had never even thanked them. I’m sure I’m not the only cancer patient who wanted to forget they ever had cancer, but honestly, could they ever really know what happened to the people who’s lives they touched? We exchanged a lot of stories, past and present, but clearly, it was definitely my life coming full circle in this chapter. And then gave the longest hug of my life, and finally said “Thank You.”

Through the good times, and bad, please know that you have been a part of what has gotten me through the last twenty years.

Paul E., 44
Lansdale, PA
cured 20 years without a relapse
2x CABG 4/08
calcification of aortic valve, slight mention of murmur, stenosis, mild arthereosclerosis
pulmonary restrictions (76% capacity)
muscular degeneration/atrophy in neck and shoulders
osteopenia in L1-L4 vertebrae
hypothyroid and infertile

But life is good with 2 beautiful daughters adopted from China

Debbie Lou
Posts: 14
Joined: Nov 2009

Just wanted to say congradulations!!!

Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2010

That is so amazing :). Congrats :)

cathyp's picture
Posts: 365
Joined: Dec 2009

I'm so happy for you and your family!


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

All the best to you in life my friend

MyTurnNow's picture
Posts: 2690
Joined: Aug 2009

WOW, 20 years, now that's a milestone. Congratulations to you and may you continue to enjoy your life without relapse. You are so young and have many, many years of joy to share with your family and especially those 2 little girls.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

Welcome to the Long – Long Survivors club. I am a 38 year survivor of stage IIIb HD as well and a new member to this site. I have enjoyed reading your posting here and your words of encouragement to others. Congrats and may there be many, many more anniversaries for you and your family to celebrate in the future.

anselmo cavosora's picture
anselmo cavosora
Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2010

It's good to have company. Like you I am celebrating my twenty-year anniversary of NPC chemo and radiation treatments,the only diff is our age. i am 64 and you are only 44. That means I was treated of my cancer at your age now! It's been a hell of a way to live since then,coping with daily pains and tiredness and frustrations. The meaning and purpose in life is to be happy and useful.You can not have one without the other. You can not be happy without being useful nor can you be useful without being happy. That has always been my guiding principle in life and it has been so frustrating to me that it has abandoned me ever since.

bluerose's picture
Posts: 1102
Joined: Jul 2009

I was just so happy to see your post here, a big smile came over my face as I belong to your new club too as you know and it constantly amazes me as to how a cure is possible because we are both living proof of that, in spades.

Congratulations too on your adoption of your two beautiful daughters there is the goal you need to keep on keeping on. I had two adopted children of my own when I was in treatment and they were my goal for sure and continue to be although now they are all grown up and self sufficient and my daughter is now engaged. She was 2 when I was diagnosed. Got to see them both grow up and fleurish.

Congrats again Paul. You give all on these boards hope, thanks for all you do on here and know it's appreciated.

Blessings to you and yours, Bluerose

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