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Updates from the European Society for Medical Oncology
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Few Aware that Dense Breasts Increase Cancer Risk
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Recovering from Brain Cancer Surgery Takes Time
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Rare Finds: A Rare Cancer Diagnosis
November 24, 2014 – Charlotte Huff
Guy's Guide
November 24, 2014 – Michael Irving
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FDA Aims to Start Regulating Custom Diagnostic Tests
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A Focus on a Cure for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
November 22, 2014 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Comments From Readers
November 21, 2014
FDA Approves New Uses for Existing Cancer Treatments
November 22, 2014 – Staff Reports
CURE Magazine and curetoday.com Are Under New Management
December 01, 2014 – Mike Hennessy
Updates from the European Society for Medical Oncology
December 01, 2014 – Staff Reports
A Breast Cancer Alphabet
December 01, 2014 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Primary Care After Cancer Treatment
December 01, 2014 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
TheAnswertoCancer.org
December 01, 2014 – Elizabeth Whittington
Adult Female Survivors at Risk for Sexual Issues
December 01, 2014 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Yoga's Benefits Explored
December 01, 2014 – Kathy LaTour
Harmony Hill Retreat Center
December 01, 2014 – Elizabeth Whittington
Sunshine Act Sheds Light on Gifts to Doctors From Pharmaceutical Companies
December 01, 2014 – Lena Huang
Cancer Center Fundraiser was de la Renta's Farewell
December 01, 2014 – Elizabeth Whittington
Few Aware that Dense Breasts Increase Cancer Risk
December 01, 2014 – Beth Fand Incollingo
Surviving Caregiving
November 25, 2014 – Kathy LaTour
B-Cell Lymphomas: A Long and Winding Road
November 25, 2014 – Heather L. Van Epps, PhD
The Fitness Factor
November 24, 2014 – Laura Beil
Bad Behavior
November 24, 2014 – Jeannette Moninger
Helping Children Heal
November 24, 2014 – Maureen Salamon
Recovering from Brain Cancer Surgery Takes Time
November 24, 2014 – Jennifer L. W. Fink, RN
Rare Finds: A Rare Cancer Diagnosis
November 24, 2014 – Charlotte Huff
Currently Viewing
Guy's Guide
November 24, 2014 – Michael Irving
NORD Offers Information and Support for Patients of Rare Cancers
November 24, 2014 – Peter L. Saltonstall
Managing Thrombocytopenia
November 24, 2014 – Lacey Marlow
FDA Aims to Start Regulating Custom Diagnostic Tests
November 24, 2014 – Susan Kreimer
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November 22, 2014 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Comments From Readers
November 21, 2014
FDA Approves New Uses for Existing Cancer Treatments
November 22, 2014 – Staff Reports

Guy's Guide

Michael Irving had to believe that he could stand taller than his disease. And, long story short, he did.
BY Michael Irving
PUBLISHED November 24, 2014
In January 2010, at age 34, I underwent surgery for colon cancer. I’ve been in remission ever since. I am grateful for those who helped ground me in gratitude for the many things and many people I have in my life. Being shorter than most other people throughout my life taught me to look up—I had no other choice if I wanted to see things from other points of view. In reflecting on this lesson learned early in life, I realized I had to take the same mindset in beating cancer—I had to look up. I had to believe that I could stand taller than my disease. And, long story short, I did. Below are some personal insights.

The chemocation: When I was ready for chemotherapy, I entered a treatment room that looked more like a beauty parlor than a medical clinic, with recliners lined up across the sparkling floor. Granted, two days later I would feel awful from the medicine catching up with me. But for the first three hours, I had nowhere else I had to be, and the loveliest nurses in the world pampering me with blankets, beverages and medicine. This was my vacation—my chemocation.

My feminine side: My oncologist’s strategy for beating my cancer included an aggressive regimen of a drug administered in a portable chemotherapy pump, which I wore over my shoulder in what looked like a purse. I could make jokes, saying, “Yes, I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to wear this purse over my shoulder.”

The butt of all jokes: I knew I had to preserve my funny bone with a supplement of humor. Who knew that a 4-foot-7-inch dwarf with colon cancer was in danger of falling short on jokes? So, I stocked up. I paced in the front of grocery stores right where smokers congregate. As they lit up I would say, “You know, that stunts your growth and causes cancer.”

If only this were a sport: I tried taking different perspectives on my fight against cancer. For one, it was as though I was a boxer trying on different flashy robes or different entrance songs as I made my way to the ring. Yes, I had an opponent inside me that was pushing me to fight for my life.

Personal perspective: A burrito is just a burrito, but if you’re 6 feet tall and I have to stand in line behind you waiting for the bathroom, a burrito can really stink. It’s a matter of personal perspective, and it’s a matter of being positive. I tried to keep the end of my 12 chemotherapy treatments in sight. The cancer made my stomach hurt, but relief was in sight (throwing up). I could not stop throwing up, but relief was in sight (the $50-a-pop pill for extreme nausea). So, while it is important to be positive, it is just as important to be realistic in order not to feel let down. Cancer is a very serious illness, but humor can be a reprieve to anyone who has experienced it.

—Michael Irving is a marketing representative in Knoxville, Iowa.

SHARE YOUR STORY! Whether you are a patient, survivor, caregiver or health care provider, we want to read your unpublished (must not have appeared in print or online) stories about cancer and the people, places and moments of the experience. They can be funny, poignant or practical. Send them to editor@curetoday.com. Stories should be no more than 600 words and include your name, phone number and email. We look forward to hearing from you!
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