Living Better and Being Happier

I am thankful each and every day to celebrate the blessing of life.

As those of you who follow this blog know, I am a VERY lucky survivor of pancreatic cancer. On February 12, 2019, it will be four years since I had my successful Whipple surgery. My longevity is related to my embracing life and choosing happiness.

Today, I want to share a few 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 for Better Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness

After 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.

Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness

Living Well While Surviving Cancer

During the summer, 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.

Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness

Other Resources

Finally, check out these new resources. Welcome aboard!

My Story: Live Life Every Day

In early 2015, my wonderful endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Terrana ran a routine blood test (part of my three-month testing as a diabetic). And he did not like the results. So, he sent me for an immediate CT-scan. It showed a lump in my pancreas. Soon after, I underwent 9-hour Whipple surgery by Dr. Gene Coppa of Northwell and the Hofstra Medical School. The tumor was malignant, but removed in full. After a short recuperation, I underwent six months of chemotherapy and other treatments under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Vacirca and his right-hand person Diana Youngs, nurse-practitioner, of NSHOA (now New York Cancer & Blood Specialists).

Why do I consider myself so lucky?

  • I was diagnosed REALLY early and had surgery shortly after. And pancreatic cancer can be a real killer because eighty percent are diagnosed too late for surgery.
  • My family and friends have been terrific every day. And I have bonded with other cancer survivors.
  • My medical team has been extraordinary. Besides being excellent professionals, they are caring and devoted. They are dedicated to making our lives as comfortable as possible.
  • I work in a profession I love. I’ve been at Hofstra University for 43 years. Except for sitting out the spring 2015 semester, I have not missed one class since since then.
  • I have a drive that encourages me to be upbeat about dealing with life’s events. Thus, I have two mantras: “Live life every day” and “Happiness is a choice.”
  • On February 12, 2019, I celebrate FOUR years since surgery. After finishing chemo in August 2015, my CT-scans have all been clean. My plan is to be around for many more years. 🙂

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. 

Pancreatic Cancer Infographic

November marks Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

As a pancreatic cancer survivor, November is a special month for me.

Pancreatic Cancer Action puts it this way:

“November marks Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, a time when people across the world come together to fight back against, and raise the profile of, pancreatic cancer! It is a time of the year when we have the most voices speaking out the disease, raising funds for early diagnosis research and raising awareness in their local communities.”

Learn more about PC by reviewing this infographic from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Pancreatic Cancer Infographic
 

Interesting Cancer Facts

Let’s look at lesser-known cancer facts.

There’s still a lot that we do not know about cancer. Today, we look at several “surprising” cancer facts. As 24/7 Wall St. notes:

“No place is immune to cancer. And nearly everyone is familiar with the disease in one form or another. We have learned much about cancer. Yet there is much more still to learn.”

“To identify the most surprising facts about cancer, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed recent reports released by the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Atlas, and World Health Organization. We opted for generally less well-known facts.”

These are among the 20 facts cited:

  • “What many may not know is that there are more than 100 different kinds of cancer, many of which the typical American has never heard of. The name of each type of cancer typically includes the organ or tissues where the cancer developed. In some cases, the cancer is named for the type of cell that forms it.”
  • “Age is the largest risk factor for cancer. According to the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, the median age of cancer diagnosis is 66 years. The American Cancer Society reports that 87% of cancer cases in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years and over.”
  • “According to the NCI, about 38.4% of men and women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life. The most commonly diagnosed cancers so far in 2018 have been breast, lung and bronchus, prostate, colon and rectum, and melanoma of the skin cancers.”
  • “The World Health Organization estimates that 447,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2018. Most of the new cancer cases will occur in Western countries, the country with the highest cancer rate is Australia. In Australia, an estimated 468 people out of every 100,000 people will get cancer. New Zealand has the second highest cancer rate at roughly 438 new cases annually per 100,000 people.” 
  • “Scientists believe cancer is not caused by just one single cause but by the interaction of many factors. Still, there are several factors known to significantly increase the risk of cancer. According to the ACS Cancer Atlas, between one-third and one-half of all cancer cases worldwide are preventable. Lifestyle factors such as smoking regularly, eating a high-fat diet, and working with toxic chemicals are top risk factors. Other factors include obesity, vaccine-preventable infections, and pollution.

Click the image to read more.

Interesting Cancer Facts
Source: Motortion / iStock

 

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Learn more about breast cancer!!

As we know, October is a very important time for for spreading breast cancer awareness. Thus, this post is in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Let us start with one important resource, the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Click the image to access the site.

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

Now, we turn to the breast cancer section of the American Cancer Society:

“Whether you or a loved one are worried about developing breast cancer, have just been diagnosed, are going through breast cancer treatment, or are trying to stay well after treatment, this detailed information can help you find the answers you need.”

Click on the image below to learn more about the actual facts of breast cancer, instead of the

Disproven or Controversial Breast Cancer Risk Factors. There are many factors that research has shown are not linked to breast cancer. You may see information online or hear about these disproven or controversial risk factors, but it’s important to learn the facts.”

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Clinical Cancer Advances 2018

Each year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) publishes a report on cancer research advances. The FREE 2018 edition of the report is now available. See below.

Each year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) publishes a report on cancer research advances. The FREE 2018 edition of the report is now available. See below.

As ASCO notes:

“Cancer is one of the world’s most pressing health care challenges, with more than 14 million people receiving a cancer diagnosis each year. Thanks to investment and progress in cancer research, people today are living longer with this disease than ever before. Clinical Cancer Advances 2018 highlights the most impactful research advances and policy developments of the past year and previews where cancer science is headed. The report was developed under the direction a 20-person editorial board of experts in different oncology sub-specialties, as well as cancer prevention, quality of care, health disparities, and tumor biology.”

Clinical Cancer Advances 2018 was supported, in part, by funds from Conquer Cancer’s Mission Endowment. This report is also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”

Click the image to access the full 60-page report.

Clinical Cancer Advances 2018

Surviving Cancer: Personal Glimpses of Resilience

A while back, I participated in a radio show with two other incredible cancer survivors. Hopefully, you will find this episode to be educational and uplifting. Despite some BIG issues, all three of us are still here — and living life every day.

As host Suzanne Phillips says:

“In this episode, Professor Joel Evans, Patricia Malone, and Dave Berger will share personal glimpses of their diagnosis, treatment and survival from cancer. You will hear about the impact of diagnosis, the role of family and friends. The question of stigma and the response of colleagues. You will hear about the expected and unexpected, the trust in medical teams and the personal factors that each drew upon to keep on going at the roughest of times. These are stories of pain, persistence, fear, gratitude and possibility. These are stories of people who were helped by the wisdom of others who had faced cancer. In this episode, Joel Evans, Patricia Malone and Dave Berger want to pass on their experiences to benefit others. You will not forget them or the resilience they share.”

Click the play icon to listen.