September 24th, 2010

Keeping Up With Lance

I read Lance Armstrong's biography this week, not from any interest in him as a celebrity or athlete, but as someone that has survived testicular cancer (and not in the ACS sense of using the word "survivor" from the day you're diagnosed, but the sense of having gone through treatment, been declared cancer-free, and resumed life-as-before).

His cancer story overlapped quite a bit with mine - tumors not found until they were already late-stage, orchidectomies, chemo with cisplatin, etc. There was a lot to feel grateful for as I read. His cancer had metastasized far more widely than mine, so much so that he underwent brain surgery. I already had a wonderful daughter, so sterility (and the sperm bank/artificial insemination complications he writes about) weren't issues for me. He had a much harder time with both chemo side-effects and surgery recovery (I suspect that I mostly have a decade worth of anti-emetic drug advances to thank for that).

And yet... By the end of it, after three cycles of chemo, his cancer was gone. Completely (and so far as I know, remains so). Mine shrank substantially, but stubbornly hangs on after six cycles. And this was a celebrity bio, not a medical journal, but in the post-chemo section were quotes from the same Dr. Einhorn that had been cited to me as *the* testicular cancer authority about the unpleasant odds for cases that did not respond to initial cisplatin treatment (or returned afterward).

So, even while looking forward to next week's much-anticipated trip down to SoCal for Haunt with my girl, and despite the general upswing in how I feel physically over the last few months, cancer is gnawing at the back of my mind again as well as continuing to hibernate in my belly.