National Cancer Awareness Day

I recently met a man wearing a Vietnam veteran’s hat. He was about my age and served his country in the war from 1968 through 1969. A smile lit his face when he learned that I, too, had served in Vietnam a year earlier than he did. It was as though we had known one another all of our lives. I think the camaraderie between Vietnam vets will always be there, just as it is for those who fought in other wars.

As we talked I told him about my experience with Agent Orange, and then he told me his. He had been exposed to the deadly chemical dozens of times but considered himself lucky to be home in one piece. He made it back to the states without a scratch, just as I did; no bullet wounds and no shrapnel from mortars or grenades. But a year after his service to his country ended he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

At that time, in the early 70s, the government did not associate or accept responsibility for Agent Orange exposure with any disease. My new friend, I’ll call him Sam, had to take care of his own medical needs and expenses. When he was diagnosed he had a good support unit from family and friends, but the emotional and financial strain were too much to save his marriage. Yet he persevered, and after ten years with cancer, chemotherapy, remission, a reoccurrence and another round of chemotherapy, he reached the end of the five-year survival date and was considered a cancer survivor.

The thing that excited me most about his story was that he had decided not to give up no matter how tough the battle. He has been cancer free for thirty years and still going strong. What I heard from him was Never, Ever, Quit! It’s the motto you’ll find in everything I write, and one I hope everyone will adopt.

To all of the veterans like Sam, thank you for what you did and are still doing for our country, and thank you for what you had to endure after your return. Today is National Cancer Awareness day. If you know a veteran or someone currently in the military, give him/her a kind word and a hug. Thank them for doing their part to keep us free.

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Surviving Cancer

Many cancer sufferers display enormous amounts of courage and refuse to quit, no matter what. Such is a NASCAR friend who continues to show patience and courage with his recovery, a great example of what I believe; never, ever, quit.

Many of us have, at one time in our lives, taken life for granted, but usually some kind of illness or trauma has turned that around to make us see just how precious life is. Life is good. The following post from my friend is worth reading. I can feel the excitement in his words.

“Yesterday was my 3 month mark of receiving my transplant. Since it was Wednesday we had to make the trip to Boston. Doctor looked at my blood counts and stated that it is too early to claim success, but my numbers are really good and it appears I am now making my own blood. We discussed what I am doing for PT and he agreed that it was good and to continue doing it. He also gave me permission to order food out, so we ordered a pizza last night on the way home. Also can start eating raw veggies again. All in all, a good and encouraging visit.”

Hope, patience, the love and encouragement from family and friends and the determination to live is a powerful combination in our fight against cancer. Please touch someone’s life with a kind word. Life is precious. And God is good.

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StingCancer

StingCancer is a cancer organization founded by a friend, Nick Nesvacil, who teaches at Preble High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The program (students helping those in their communities fighting cancer by assisting them with any type of chore, free of charge) has spread throughout Wisconsin to other schools and is continuing to gain momentum with students being the vital part of the organizations success. I am very proud to support them and wish this type of caring, compassion and love would spread throughout all of America. The following is an example of one of the many ways StingCancer tries to involve the community. It is definitely a “never, ever, quit” example.

“The goal of the “One Tough Nut” campaign is to show support for those fighting cancer. If you or someone close to you (close friend, relative, etc.) is battling cancer or has gone through cancer in the past hopefully this symbol will remind them of how tough they are.

“We at Southwest High School STINGCANCER would like to make these symbols of toughness and inspiration available to you for the “One Tough Nut” in your life that you would like to honor.

“Southwest High School’s STINGCANCER group has partnered with local business Packer Fastener to honor those fighting cancer in Northeast Wisconsin with the “One Tough Nut” campaign. Cancer survivor and Aldo Leopold Community School student Bobby Haasse was honored as the very first “One Tough Nut” recipient on Thursday, November 19 in the Southwest High School library. If you want a nut for someone close to you or if you yourself are a survivor, please email me and we will arrange for you to pick up this symbol of toughness at Southwest.”

Thanks, Nick

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Cissy’s Story

The following is Cissy’s story. Many of you might find yourselves in this same predicament. But sharing what you are going through while battling cancer can help relieve many of the unknowns associated with fighting this dreaded disease. And this can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Thank you, Cissy. I am proud to call you a friend and admire your courage.

CISSY’S STORY

“I’ve debated with myself for the last 24 hours or so about whether or not to post this for fear of sounding preachy. I’m still not 100% comfortable with the idea, but I’m going to post anyway in the hopes that I can help someone. This isn’t a prayer request, and it’s not a request for attention. My desire is for this to be a cautionary tale.

“I recently had a growth removed from my face that turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma (a non-aggressive, slow growing, rarely terminal skin cancer). My dermatologist estimates it is a result of sun exposure from 25-30 years ago. I was a silly teenager then who slathered myself with baby oil and laid in the sun for hours with girlfriends while we chatted, read magazines, and listened to music. It’s what we did in the 80s.

“It was just a tiny pink little dot that looked like a zit. Except it never went away, and it bled profusely every time I tried to pop it. I knew it wasn’t melanoma, so I didn’t take it all that seriously. I eventually self-diagnosed myself with BCC, but I took my sweet time getting to a dermatologist. I’d always heard that BCC was harmless and easy to get rid of since it stays on the surface of the skin. Nothing to worry about.

“But here’s what I’ve learned in the past 3 weeks: BCC grows “roots” if you let it sit there too long. It grows slowly, but it does grow. It invades the inner layers of your skin. And the only way to get it all out is by having a 3-6 hour labor intensive procedure called Mohs surgery. While you’re awake, a specially trained dermatologist keeps removing layers of skin until the roots are gone. Often times, you’re left with a wound that’s so large, that it can’t be closed with stitches. You need reconstructive surgery by a plastic surgeon.

“Fortunately, my BCC was eradicated after 2 swoops with the scalpel. The cancer is now no longer a factor in anyway. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

“However, I was left with a wound on the left side of my face that was bigger than a quarter, and it was about 1/4″ deep—too big for stitches. The plastic surgeon had to make incisions under my eye and in the side of my nose, and fold the flaps of skin together in order to cover the wound. The left side of my face is bruised and swollen, and I’m not sure how visible my scars will be. I’m not a vain person, but the thought of facial scars do make me feel a bit anxious. As you can see, the surgeon did a great job of making incisions along the natural folds and curves of my face so that most of the scarring will be camouflaged. If I do end up with scars, I like to think that I’ll look like a badass and people will simply assume that I was in a knife fight. And won.

“So my points are these:

1) There is NO SUCH THING as “just” basal cell carcinoma. If you see something new and funky on your skin—no matter how small and undramatic—-stop what you’re doing, pick up the phone, and make an appointment with your dermatologist!

2) And for the love of God, start wearing sunscreen daily. Even if it’s cloudy. Even if you expect to be covered for most of the day. Wear it. I can’t do anything about the sun damage from my youth, but I can prevent further damage. I now put it on my face, chest, and hands every morning. And I carry my Yankees cap in my purse.

3) Slather your children and grandchildren with sunscreen today so that they’re not having holes cut in their faces in 25 years.

“To be clear, I am perfectly fine. I’ll get my stitches out on Tuesday, and in another month, my face should be completely healed. The skin cancer is completely gone, and no follow up treatments are needed. It’s all good.”

If you would like to share your story about battling cancer, please leave your story in the message section of CONTACT at my website davidyatesauthor.com and how to contact you.

 

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Mushroom Supplement for Cancer

I’ve wanted to talk about the “Magic Mushroom” chapter in my book for quite some time. They are not the kind of mushrooms that “Magic” might imply from the 60s. They are magic to me because I believe they are part of the reason I am still on this earth. They are supplements, and yes, they cost more than vitamins. Is the cost covered by insurance? No, but it is tax deductible. Is it worth it? In my case, absolutely. A six months supply cost about $300.00. The name of the supplement is Coriolus VPS, a Japanese mushroom extract.

Coriolus VPS is not widely recognized in the Western world (especially by most physicians) as beneficial for treatment of any cancer or problems arising from such treatment, but in the Eastern world they are often a way of life. Research in Japan alone has existed for more than thirty-five years and reports incredible success stories regarding the healing properties of these mushrooms.

The active ingredients in this species of mushroom are protein- bound polysaccharides that have demonstrated significant immuno-modulating properties.

Though I am not suggesting that everyone with cancer try this supplement, I believe it was one of the many pieces of the puzzle that helped with my ultimate survival. I still take them daily. But how do I know they really helped me?

There are times in all of our lives when we feel deeply within our hearts that something is right, that it just makes sense. Perhaps there is no logical or physical evidence, but it’s there within us. It’s like Debbie’s love for me—she doesn’t have to outwardly express it all of the time; I feel her love with my soul just as we feel the spiritual connectedness to our creator. How do you explain it? There is no all encompassing answer. You just know.

In many Japanese studies, magic mushrooms have proved beneficial in nutritional support with radiotherapy, after curative surgery for colon cancer, and with chemotherapy. These studies found that the five-year survival rate of patients who received Coriolus polysaccharides were, in most cases, doubled—some more than tripled—as opposed to those who did not use the mushrooms.

I was given about a 50 percent chance of surviving colon cancer for five years without chemotherapy, and perhaps 65 to 75 percent chance with chemotherapy. By my calculation, including magic mushrooms with my diet and supplements would give me somewhere between a 90 and 95 percent chance to be cancer free at the end of five years. I liked the numbers, so it was an easy choice for us.

If you are fighting cancer, or even if you are considered a survivor, please do the research to find out how beneficial they can be. They might work for you. But it’s always your choice. As for me, I am a believer, and I will continue to take them as part of my daily regime.

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New Website

To all my Facebook friends and family, I would really appreciate you sharing this post with your friends and family. Thanks.

I’d like to introduce my new website; davidyatesauthor.com. On this website you will find, of course, “Cancer Sucks A True Story”, which has sold much better than I ever imagined. It is still available at all book stores and Amazon in the physical form and is also available in digital format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBooks and Google Books. And please remember that all profits from this book go to support cancer organizations. I would also like to introduce two new books also available on the website; “The Hidden Truth” ($5.99) and “A Collection of Short Stories” ($3.99) that are currently available only in digital format through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Just click on the buy now button to purchase.

The Hidden Truth is suspense fiction with a religious theme that parallels the verse in a song from the 60s, “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire: Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace. I’m sure most baby boomers will remember the song. I believe that if you liked “The DaVinci Code” you will enjoy reading “The Hidden Truth.”

“A Collection of Short Stories” is also available on digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Three of the stories are fiction, one is based on a true story and one is true. Each one is inspirational and promotes caring, kindness, compassion and love, something I believe we need a lot more of in this world. I wonder if you will know which ones are my imagination, which one is based on a true story, and which one is true. The one based on a true story actually won second place in the Ventura County Writer’s Club Short Story Contest.

To visit my blog site just click on the David’s Blog button and it will take you to cancersucksatruestory.com.

I hope you enjoy these books. And as always, I invite your questions and comments.

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Gary’s Story

Gary’s story is another example of never giving up. I’m happy to call him a friend. I’ve seen his compassion for others grow since his cancer, especially by volunteering this year at Camp Keepsake, a weekend cancer camp for adult and their friends or families currently fighting cancer and those who are survivors sponsored by the Cancer Hope Foundation in Camarillo, California.

“Three years ago during a physical exam my PSA was high and my doctor felt that my prostate was a little too hard. A biopsy followed and it was confirmed. I had prostate cancer. I chose to have the biotic surgery and my prostate was removed. I did not have to have any special drugs, radiation or chemotherapy.

“The most difficult issue fighting cancer for me was the three weeks after surgery that I had to have a catheter. I was constantly sore and at times my dignity took a hit, but I was lucky. I have now been cancer free for three years.

“Fighting cancer was my first real health issue and it made me realize that no one should have to go through medical problems alone. Friends, family and health care providers helped make my recovery quicker and with less mental and physical pain. Six months ago I had hip surgery at the same time my wife was experiencing kidney stones. We were both in the hospital at the same time, but once again our friends and family rallied to our support, changing dressings, shopping and cooking for us and taking us to doctor appointments. My daughter even flew in from England to take care of us for a week.

“I’m not sure what would have happened had we been alone and not had such wonderful friends and family. I can never thank them enough. My wife and I learned that we have better family and friends than we have been to our family and friends. We all need love, compassion and sometimes just two strong arms to help us get through trying times in our lives.

“And as David says we should never, ever, quit.”

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