Marc

Diagnosed in 2011

Marc lives with his wife of 31 years in Florida. He was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma in 2011.

Keep a positive attitude, learn as much about your disease as you possibly can. Ask as many questions as you can possibly think of and don't accept no for an answer one time. If you don't like what you hear there are thousands of doctors out there.

These are the experiences, ideas and views of each individual person featured here. Your own situation may be different and these ideas may not work for you.

Marc's Journey With Cancer

  • Diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma in 2011
  • Multiple chemotherapy treatments
  • Multiple radiation treatments
  • Targeted therapy
  • About to start clinical trial

My diagnosis

To say that my diagnosis was overwhelming is an understatement. I had no clue; I hadn't really been around too many people in my life that were in chemo. One thing I have found in early after my diagnosis is that researching on the internet and looking at statistics is not the best thing to do.

I realized that I'm a person that's going to help make the new statistics. I want to beat those odds, even if it's only by one day to show that it can happen. I want to show that we can live longer than what the statistics say.

I don't believe in looking at the statistics because it can only bring you down.

Finding stuff out

The oncology nurses are wonderful. They were probably more helpful in that aspect than the oncologist because they were the ones that were seeing me every other day.

I'm a huge believer that if you think about it, ask about it; and if you don't like the answer ask it in a different way. If you don't like the answer then tell your doctor you'd like to get another opinion. If they have a problem with that, immediately find a new doctor.

My oncologist is pretty straightforward, and I don't like anybody to pull punches with me. I can handle the truth; it's just learning to deal with the truth and learning how to cope with it and to be able to carry on from that what matters.

Emotions

Most people say they can't believe how I react to things because I try to keep such a positive attitude, and of course I have my days.

When I have one of those days I'd probably go online and read different blogs or I'll ask questions on a blog and say, "Hey, I'm feeling this way today, what have you done to get yourself out of it?"

I'll listen to what other people have done and make my own judgments on that. I have also found that sleep is a lovely escape.

Friends & Family

My wife and I have probably gotten closer. I know that she's worried about me 24/7.

As far as friends go, I thought some people that were very close to me would step up and be there to help, which hasn't always happened.

What I found out instead is that sometimes people that you don't even know all of a sudden will become your new best friends.

My close family are pretty much the basic people around me and they've all stepped up or tried to help the best they can.

Diet & Nutrition

We've cut out many things and try to eat much healthier. More vegetables, more fruits, no bread - and if we do it's whole grain. I do love juicing with greens, with kale, chard and spinach; and try to get the antioxidants up.

It's made a difference. I'm not getting all those fatty things that used to clog up my arteries.

One book that we've used is "Cancer - Step Outside the Box" by Ty Bollinger. He's pretty well known in the cancer world.

Probably cutting out a lot of the sugar and the fat would be the two biggest things I've changed. I won't say that I've cut it out 100%, every now and then you have to enjoy your life while you are still living, too.

I always let all my doctors know what supplements I'm taking. I don't ask them if I can take it, I just hand them the list and say, "What on this list do you not want me to take that might interfere with the treatment I'm getting?"

Hobbies & Leisure

I watch a lot of TV and play games. I'll play computer games against other people and against myself. That can make my mind go blank so I don't have to think about my cancer, which I think about everyday and more than once a day.

Most of the time I'm on Facebook, talking to different groups and asking questions and answering questions. That's really where most of my time is spent.

Travel

I can't drive for as long - I usually have to take a nap for an hour or two in the afternoon.

Before I had cancer, typically I was flying four or five times a month. I'm actually in the million-mile club for flying, but that came to a screeching halt in 2011.

But since I was diagnosed I've been on two planes. I'm actually afraid to be around a lot of people because I do not want to catch any type of infection. Now, we do local things. We prefer cruises for vacations but we haven't been on one for a couple of years.

Work

Once I started getting into the heavy chemo, I couldn't do anything but just sleep. It affected me dramatically because I had worked for 42 years.

I got upset with myself and I played the old "why me" for a short period of time, but got over that with a lot of help from my wife.

To take up the extra time, I became an advocate for lung cancer and got very involved in learning, doing surveys, research and talking to people.

I've talked to people over the last year who were recently diagnosed. I've filled them in on what they have to look forward to, different questions to ask the oncologist, the radiologist and their team.

I tell them that they need to build the team and carry a book around with them, write down every question, and that there is no question too stupid to ask any doctor.

Finances

I have a stockbroker who is well aware of my situation. We used to be a little bit more aggressive with how we invested in stocks, funds and bonds, but after my diagnosis we've restructured my portfolio to be more conservative and have less of a risk. This means that if there is a big downturn in the market, we don't get affected as bad.

Marc recommends

Talk to your oncology group and see if they have a financial person there that can look into grants that might be available for you. Different foundations may have money to help you and offer support with your medical expenses.

Also, if you are young, take a disability insurance policy out - you never know what'll happen.

Marc's Perspective

The best advice I can give is to keep a positive attitude.

The power of positive thinking is a huge benefit for anybody with disease – not just cancer. The more you think about being positive, eventually it'll just start to happen without you thinking about it.

I also tell everybody they need to get into a support group, whether they think they do or not - they should. If I can go to somebody who's been surviving five, six years and has been through three or four cycles of chemo and radiation, and they can tell you how they feel and what they've done, that's probably the best help that you can get.

Two things

Number one, don't feel sorry for yourself. Don't play the "why me" game.

Number two, get involved in your treatment and what's going to happen. Look for trials and different things for your specific mutations of your disease. Get as proactive as possible instead of burying your head in the sand.

Bring it up, and stick it up high and say, "Hey, I've got lung cancer but I'm going to beat this for as long as I can."

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