Read about my journey with the Lustgarten annual pancreatic cancer research walk. With photos and videos.
October is a big month for cancer research walks, especially since it is breast cancer awareness month. It’s also a big month for me, as my family and friends participated with me in the Lustgarten Pancreatic Research Foundation Walk on this past Sunday (October 6).
WE CAN EACH MAKE A DIFFERENCE. It is up to us to support more cancer research.
The October walk is Lustgarten’s largest fundraiser of the year. With thousands of walkers and nearly $1 million raised. 100% of funds raised go to research because all of Lustgarten’s administrative costs are paid by a private donor.
Before sharing a few photos and video clips, let me describe my feelings about the walk.
Although my Whipple surgery was in February 2015, this was my first walk. So I was both excited and nervous.
My fundraising efforts were throughTeam Joel. Our team was supported by more than 70 donors. And we raised $5,400.
Team Joel had 14 walkers.
Somehow or other, the cameras found me. I appeared in a News 12 Long Island TV clip. And because I was asked to do the ribbon cutting, I got featured online by Newsday.
I was disappointed that I was only able to walk the 1 mile course rather than the 3 mile course. Once again I am reminded of a Clint Eastwood quote: “A man has to know his limitations.” And I have to always accept my “new normal.” I gave myself a 15 minute pity party; and then I returned to my usual “live life every day” and “live as long as you as well as you can.”
Last, but not least, I want to thank all of the donors to Team Joel and those who walked with me.
Interesting topic, right: How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health? Especially regarding our future life expectancy.
Recently, B.J. Miller and Shoshana Berger wrote a valuable op ed piecefor the New York Times on “Don’t Tell Me When I’m Going to Die. Prognoses are more of an art than a science. Maybe it’s better not to know.”
Here are a few of their observations:
“Prognoses are based on the average experiences and life spans of patients who came before you. But any physician will tell you that coming up with one is more of an art than a science, and doctors are often wrong. Studieshave long shown that physicians are particularly prone to overestimating life expectancy — especially when they like their patient.”
“Still, choosing not to know your prospects is surprising in this golden age of data. But the choice not to know can also be liberating. You can say, ‘No thanks, I opt out.’”
According to Miller and Berger:
“Steve Scheier, an expert in organizational decision making, devised a Prognosis Declaration. And it allows patients to choose among a few options.WHERE DO YOU FIT?
Tell me everything.
I’ve not decided what I want to know about my prognosis, so ask me over the course of my treatment.
I want to participate in my treatment, but I don’t want to receive any information on my prognosis.
I don’t wish to know any information about my prognosis but I authorize you to speak with [blank] about my case and for you to answer any questions that this person may have about my likely prognosis and treatment.
With the beginning of 2019, I have embarked on the next stage of life. For me, that means retirement from my full-time profession. For 44 years, I was a professor (the last thirty, a distinguished professor). But I am not retiring from life. And there are several things I plan to do in the future.
While at theZarb Business SchoolofHofstra Universityfor all of those 44 years, I had a very rewarding career. I was extremely involved in the three pillars of academe: teaching undergraduate and graduate classes; engaging in scholarly research; and providing service to my department, my school, and to the university overall. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to also co-author two leading textbooks that were used worldwide and that went through many new editions. And I was lucky enough to be recognized with a teacher of the year award and four dean’s awards for service to the business school.
But, I realize that at this point that I want to move onto the next phase of my life. As this blog has noted before, I do not intend to “throw away” any days. And I want to live life every day. This is a time for reflection — both keeping my positive memories as well as striving to build new ones.
It was essential for me to retire while healthy enough to enjoy my next series of adventures. I will NEVER forget how lucky I am to be a pancreatic cancer survivor who celebrates four years post-surgery next month.
So, where am I going in this next chapter? 🙂
These are my priorities, with more to come:
To give back to my fellow cancer victims and their families through blog posts, other social media, and related efforts.