I Am Now a Five-Year Cancer Survivor

Hope is a precious commodity.

 

Amazing. Unbelievable. Lucky. Blessed. I am now a five-year cancer survivor.  Although some define the 5-year period as beginning at the date of diagnosis, I prefer to use the date of my Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer. February 12, 2015. So, exactly five years ago today.

I am kind of melancholy about reaching this point. But I don’t feel the euphoria about beating the less than 10 percent survival rate for PC that I expected. I just learned this is not uncommon. According to Dr. SP, a leading psychologist, my melancholy reflects a lot of subconscious feelings about the traumatic events during my journey. Even though I try as hard as possible to be upbeat on a daily basis. Also, it relates to my profound sorrow about others with cancer who have not been so lucky. And my own continuing challenges.

Live life every day. Live as long as you can, as well as you can.

Observations about Surviving Cancer

From Cancer.Net:

“A person who has had cancer is commonly called a cancer survivor. ‘Co-survivor’ is sometimes used to describe a person who has cared for a loved one with cancer.”

“Not everyone who has had cancer likes the word ‘survivor.’ The reasons for this may vary. For instance, they may simply identify more with being ‘a person who has had cancer.’ Or if they are dealing with cancer every day they may describe themselves as ‘living with cancer.’ Therefore, they may not think of themselves as a survivor. Living with a history of cancer is different for each person. But most people have the common belief that life is different after cancer.”

“Other common reactions that people have after cancer include:

              • Appreciating life more.
              • Being more accepting of themselves.
              • Feeling more anxious about their health.
              • Not knowing how to cope after treatment ends.”

           

        • Now, check out this video.

       

Embrace Life and Live Well in 2020

Live life every day!

As we look forward to the future, we need to be thankful for what we have. And not be unhappy for what we don’t have. Now, we offer our annual message. To embrace life and choose happiness in 2020. 

Why We Should Embrace Life and Live Well in 2020

As many of you may know, I am a VERY lucky survivor of pancreatic cancer. Thus, I am thankful each and every day to celebrate the blessing of life. On February 12, 2020, it will be five years since I had my successful Whipple surgery. My longevity is related to my embracing life and choosing happiness.

Only 7 percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive for 5 years. Thus, I am both happy and sad.

Embrace Life and Live Well in 2020

Today, I want to share some FREE resources I have developed and tell my personal story. Why? To provide hope and serenity for anyone with a serious disease and their loved ones. We must never forget that our caregivers suffer and endure along with us.

Resources to Better Embrace Life and Choose Happiness

Since recovering from my surgery and follow-up chemotherapy, I view my life’s mission as assisting others with a terrible illness. To me, this is a responsibility that I welcome as one of the relatively few long-term pancreatic cancer survivors. In my mind and heart, I MUST give  back.

So, please take a look at these resources.

Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey

With this book, I want to share my personal cancer journey with you. I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with a terrible disease and their families. Why? To quote the late NY Yankee star Lou Gehrig when he was honored at Yankee Stadium while dying from ALS: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

The book is a hopeful, but realistic, view of my journey from diagnosis through treatment through return to work and my being able to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. It has some humor and many quotes to ease the reading.

Click the book cover to download a FREE copy of the book. Then, share it with someone you love.

Embrace Life and Choose Happiness in 2020

LIVING WELL While Surviving Cancer

During the summer of 2018, I started a new blog to share health-related information and inspirational stories. It features infographics, videos, articles, and more. And despite the title, it relates to a wide range of health issues.

Click the image to visit the blog. Then, PLEASE sign up to follow us.

Embrace Life and Choose Happiness in 2020

Other Resources

Finally, check out these resources. and sign up to join me Welcome aboard!

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    • My personal advice:
            1. Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
            2. Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
            3. Listen to the medical professionals!
            4. Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
            5. Be upbeat; getting down is counter productive. [(a) When diagnosed, I set two goals: to dance at my daughter’s October 2015 wedding and to deliver a toast. Mission accomplished. I never thought these things wouldn’t happen. (b) People don’t believe me when I remark that I never said “why me”? Instead I say, “boy was I lucky to be diagnosed so early.”]
            6. Seek out your friends/acquaintances who have also dealt with cancer. They can be a wonderful resource and sounding board (when you don’t want to further burden your family).
            7. Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
            8. Live for tomorrow and the time thereafter. 
            9. And to give back as much as I can, since July 2019, I am  volunteering twp days a week with United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island. I LOVE it and find it so rewarding. If you decide to volunteer, you’ll see that it’s a win-win!!!!!

Walking for Cancer Cures

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 through Team 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.

The original Evans Four

Walking for Cancer Cures

THE EXTENDED FAMILY

Walking for Cancer Cures

TEAM JOEL

WHY I WALK

RIBBON CUTTING