Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

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Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by surferboy on Thu Jan 03, 2013 07:01 PM

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In Feb. it will be 5 yrs since I finished 8 weekly sessions of Cisplatin and 39x IMRT (70Gys)+ for IVa BOT. I participated on this message board for a year or two, and, although I remain cancer free, I have experienced around 75% of the forum discussed side effects and traditional treatment modalities. I finally gave up trying to keep up mentally and physically. I have had 40 IBOT dives, worked with 2 MD acupuncturists, start Botox this month, had numerous infections, many VA Mental Health Clinic Pain Programs, and more than 20 CTs, MRIs, Xrays, Ultrasounds, etc. And seen dozens of Doctors and a few quacks. In other words, I'm just like most of you other 5 yr. survivors. Always in the fight.

Annually, about now, I take time to remember my cancer experience mentor - my younger brother, who went thru 5 yrs. of very aggressive treatment for advanced Adrenal Cancer. It's 99% fatal within 12 mos. He made it 5 yrs. Both our cancers were from environmental exposure to Agent Orange - he had arrived in Vietnam 2 days before me in 1968. 

As a measure of my brother, Dale Shewalter, as a man and as a mentor, I want to share with other survivors his personal affirmations made at the outset of his treatment in July 2006.

                            *   *   *   *   *

I am thankful for parents who gave me freedom to explore.

I am proud of my accomplishments and service to my country.

I am humbled by the kindness shown to me by my family, friends, and this community.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a teacher.

I have tried to be a positive influence in my community and in the world.

I have gained a wealth of inspiration from people and nature, and hope that I may inspire others.

I am thankful for a loving, devoted wife and our son, who is making his own way thru a complex world.

I have never lost my personal Faith.

I have confidence in the medical professionals who are helping me regain my health.

I accept fear and anxiety as a part of life.

I have found that walking-for the simple joy of walking-has always renewed my hope and confidence.

I believe in life there is no failure due to fewer points on the scoreboard or lack of physical or mental ability. There is only failure in the spirit. In this I will NOT fail.

Since the time I first learned that I had this disease, I remained determined that I will "ride this horse". 

                               *   *   *   *

If you're interested in learning of my brother's many significant accomplishments,

google "Dale Shewalter" He was quite a guy.

Good Luck to each of you in your own personal Battle!

Steve Shewalter, Batavia, IL

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by Chris59 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 02:50 AM

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Thanks for sharing Steve. What an awesome tribute to your brother. Sounds like he was a great guy. Thank you for your service to us.

Chris

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by Oudave83 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 09:28 AM

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Love those affirmations. Great gratitude and warrior spirit. Dave

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by mark5004 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 06:46 PM

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Yay!  This post is much better than 90% of all others!  The most time post treatment the better the story is for all of us!

May God bless you!

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by Slowlane on Wed Jan 09, 2013 03:54 AM

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I read about your brother Dale and would have loved to have met him.  Also, thanks for sharing your private life for others to reflect on.   Congratulations on the 5th year!  Slowlane

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by Sdurnell on Thu Jan 10, 2013 01:48 AM

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Steve,

Congratulations on your anniversary next month--the biggie!  (I'll be 2 years out then, "cured" to my ENT but of course not to my RO--"Those surgeons are always overly optimistic!")

And thanks for the wonderful tribute to your brother.  The two of you enriched each other's lives, and it's kind of you to share him with us.

Wishing you all the best,

Susan

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by Oudave83 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 09:06 PM

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Man I love that post...best to all my fellow warriors. Oudave84

RE: Five Year Anniversary in a Few Weeks

by adamschesley on Mon Feb 17, 2014 04:07 AM

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Hey Surferboy,

Congrats on your 5 year mark! And thanks for the post- those messages from your brother ring very true!

Ches

P.S. I love hearing about anybody who has been kicking Cancer's A_s! And I also get inspiration from those who gave it "the good fight".

SIX Year Anniversary a Few Weeks Ago

by surferboy on Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:49 PM

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Hey guys! I made #6 a few weeks ago and paid a price. Thought I'd pass along experiences that may be valuable in the future. Unfortunately, side effects - some old, some new and many a variation on an old theme. Early months of 2013 I had severe infections emanating from tumor site (BOT down to Supraglottis where cancer started). Sinus infections caused extensive bleeding and facial bones were severely eroded. Traditional antibiotics were impossible to tolerate (glendamyacin and amoxicillin) finally cipro did the job. All the while, I found myself allergic to everything and finally got things under control with shots. In June I went to the ER where after CT showed mass in my lung the size of a lemon. You can guess what was suspected/assumed but finally proved to be a severe infection. Pick line worked well for 2 months until I overnite developed numerous severe 1 - 2 cm blood clots in my left arm, and shoulder up to my jugular and down to my heart. Went back on Warfarin and experienced many side effects again. All thru the summer, I went thru a second regimen of 40 2 hr dives of HBOT. Although the HBOT wrecked havoc with vascular functions for some reason (my blood pressure sometimes ran at 205/125. It's normal now. I would still recommend HBOT for all the benefits I did derive. In total, I went to the ER 4x over the past 12 months. On a referral this winter, I went to a reputable Illinois pain clinic and they resolved a 5 year old issue that almost daily was pain of 10+. It's commonly known as "Suicide Disease" (seriously, google that). Real name is Trigeminal Neuralgia. It's pain from compression of facial nerves. The procedure that helped was called a Steroidal Nerve block. I'm soon having a esophageal dilation - I'm still just ingesting Ensure and biogreens. Will never eat food again. Worst of all, I'm soon having a Mandible Resection. If you're ever getting one of these, don't google pictures. Before they do the operation, they need to see that I have leg bones that work for transplant. My left mandible is dead. That's the instigater of all my infections. After I get my new/old mandible, I've decided to stay healthy for a while after that and maybe go to med school. That's if I can cure my chemobrain and a few other other things. God bless all of you survivors. Stay tough. Stay positive. Let me know if I can help in any way. One last thing - get a dog if you don't have one! Best to everyone. I love you all! Steve Shewalter

RE: SIX Year Anniversary a Few Weeks Ago

by Sdurnell on Fri Mar 07, 2014 01:37 AM

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Steve,

First of all, congratulations on resolving your pain.  That has to be a big deal. 

But I'm so sorry for all that you have gone through this past year, and all you continue to face.  It's a good reminder for all of us to live for the now.  I and others are counting down the days to 5 years, but your experience shows that we all need to be vigilant and humble.

You recommend one of the best prescriptions for what ails us--or just about anyone--a pet.  Or two!  We have two dogs and just adopted our fourth kitten.  I had to have someone else feed them, etc., during radiation because I couldn't stand their smell, but since my nose has recovered, they are my good buddies.  Don't know what I'd do without the girls.

Wishing you the best,

Susan

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