Finish This Sentence: My Cancer ...

There's no question that my cancer changed my life. It changed everything. It changed my future, it changed my present. It changed my body, it changed my mind.

The things that changed for the worse are obvious. Did it change anything for the better? I think that it made me wiser. Taught me something that I needed to know.

I write every day about my cancer. About my life with the Beast. You all, in your comments, tell me about your cancer and how it has changed your lives. But I want to learn more. Have I missed something? A lesson that the disease was trying to pass on? Is there more that I need to know about how to live with this disease?

So I have a favor to ask of all of you. To finish one sentence. And I hope, by sharing our answers, we'll all learn from each other. So here goes:

My cancer...



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My cancer reminds me that no one is permanent and I will not be the exception to this. Also, my cancer has taught me that life and health is process not a final destination.

Sent by Molly | 7:44 AM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer revealed to me how much I loved him and how much he loved me.

Sent by Marilyn | 7:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me more compassionate and more appreciative of the time I have left. I realize now that I am not invincible and neither is anyone else. While in some things I might be more careful, overall I'm more willing to just 'go for it.' You never know if this is your last chance to do something.

Sent by Margaret | 7:52 AM | 4-29-2008

This is heavy stuff Leroy... I don't have cancer, my sister does. Can I have poetic license and change your starting point just a little?

My sister's cancer changed her life: the diagnosis was her ticket to learned helplessness. Her mind set is, "If I can't or don't do it, someone else will."

Believe me when I say, this is incredibly hard to respond to. There is a wealth of emotions just bubbling out and over.

Until tomorrow...

Sent by Sue Chap | 7:53 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has helped me realize what is truly important. Right after my diagnosis I knew work was still important. Spending time with family and friends was my number one priority. It has given me the chance to tell those I care about how I feel and in return they have truly showed me their feelings. It may have showed others have strong I am but it has taught me to trust my instincts as they have served me well so far. I'm sure others have had more profound experiences but these are all pretty amazing to me. I don't know if I would trade these "gains" for a longer life without cancer but they are pretty good cancellation prizes. Peace

Sent by Dona | 7:53 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer makes me try harder.

Sent by Sandra Locus | 7:54 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer pisses me off.

Sent by jennifer | 8:01 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me realize that I must make the most of every day and to be so grateful when I am with my family and friends. I try not to think about the "end" but about the "here and now."

Sent by Barbara Hirsch | 8:12 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me stop taking myself so seriously. I realized that all the things I worried about and fussed over, nobody would remember when I was gone. I realized my only responsibility in this world was to "be" and to do everything with kindess and love. After that everything is crap.

Sent by Lori | 8:15 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer cancer introduced me to a whole new world, where complete strangers truly care for each other.

Sent by Shaun | 8:15 AM | 4-29-2008

Leroy, with your permission, I am going to change the start of the sentence to:
My dad's cancer...

My dad's cancer changed his life in ways I can't even put into words, but one thing is for sure it made him strong and proved to him that he could do much more than he thought he could. He learned to be a fighter in life, a strong one.

My dad's cancer allowed me to understand how PRECIOUS life is. Not that I didn't know prior to my dad being sick, but the fact that once you find out a loved one is sick with this beast, life is no longer the same and the meaning means that much more! Every minute, every second is much more valuable and cherished. Now that my dad is in heaven, his cancer still continues to teach me things. It allows me to be strong and fight through his absence. I saw my dad fight so hard and so long, that now when I am faced with challenges I know that I CAN DO IT...if he did it... I CAN TOO!

Stay strong Leroy and so will we :)

Sent by Cristina Gonzalez, Tampa, FL | 8:16 AM | 4-29-2008

Great Morning Leroy! You asked for it, so here goes ~ My Cancer stopped the life I was living in it's tracks. Caused me, like yourself, to try to calculate how much time I had left and how I wanted to spend it. I remember, sitting on the edge of the doctor's table, holding my poor, left breast protectively in my hand, and asking how much time I had left because I WOULD NOT allow him to remove it! "Oh NO, "I said"I will go out of this world in ONE piece thank you". He softly smiled and said, "I can't tell you that but I can tell you what is going to happen to you if you do not let me remove it. You are not going to die of breast cancer in that breast, but --".
Then he proceded to tell me what would happen to my breast, what it would look like soon and what the cancer would do to it. He went on to tell me all about how it would spread through my system and where it MIGHT decide to attack and what it could do to me. How long? No, he could not tell me that but he had plenty to say. When he finished, I had already made up my mind to let him operate and "kill the beast" that was eating up my breast and eyeing up the rest of me! Yes, it changed our lives and our way of living and looking at life ever since. I met one of the most wonderful friends in the hospital, talked with her and thought hard about my life and how I wanted to end it IF this "thing" got me. I KNEW that my life would have to be lived differently!
Today, thinking back over the years since, I am almost grateful to this disease for helping me appreciate life, my husband and marriage. I still know that the "beast" is lurking near all the time. I have had various outbreaks, like skin cancers removed, and now face the ravages of old age and a partially blinding stroke, but I am Very grateful for each and every day (still with my husband), and we do our best to find something worthwhile each day.
Oh Leroy, I could go on and on. You have opened Pandors's Box with that question to us I'm afraid. You will have such interesting answers. AND maybe one of the "perks" is that we now all know YOU!

Sent by J C R | 8:16 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me who my true friends really are by how people treat you when they hear the word, how to really live for the ones you love, how to fight to live, which I have never had to do before, my cancer has taught me how beautiful a flower, a sunrise, a beach, a smile from my grandchildren, and how much my husband really loves me to go through this with me. Yes it has taught me a lot but why do I have to learn this from a disease that hurts?

Sent by Kathy Simmons | 8:17 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me valuable lessons about living, loving, and dealing with things, all of which I would have been happy to have learned from a book instead.

Sent by Lucie Germer | 8:19 AM | 4-29-2008

My husbands cancer has taught both of us that we can adapt. The initial diagnosis is devastating but you adapt and deal with it. Every crisis makes us adapt to something different and appreciate even the smallest things. This time last week my husband was facing the possibility of never coming off a ventilator. Yesterday he was taken off and is doing fine. Yes, he probably always be on oxygen but that we can handle...adapt.

Sent by kathie | 8:19 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer was a great teacher. It taught me gratitude, hope and that not everything is within my control. It is easy to forget those lessons six cancer-free years later, but having participated in Race for the Cure two weeks ago, the memories of what I learned came back as strongly as ever.

Sent by Robin T | 8:23 AM | 4-29-2008

my cancer makes me spend money i don't have and allows me to not feel that guilty about it.

Sent by meg kissinger | 8:23 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer......taught me with crystal clarity what is and what is not important in my life! It caused me to work harder at my life, and less at my job. Spending time with those I love, never letting an opportunity to express my love or thoughts pass, to enjoy nature, wine, good books and meals even more!
To look at all of this as a journey, and know that I will face whatever comes, twists and turns in the road, good/bad health, and all with those I love beside me.
My cancer has taught me to breath, and just this very moment and soak it all up!
Thanks for asking.....we're all in this together!

Sent by Ruth Chermok | 8:25 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer today is only a small part of my identity. It brings me close to others who have lived in cancer world. I shake it until I get my blessing. I don't want it to be who I am. I am more than my cancer.

Sent by Ann | 8:26 AM | 4-29-2008

My dad's cancer still affects every aspect of my life: how I live, how I raise my children and my relationships with my husband and loved ones. 15-years after his death, my dad's cancer lives with us, still.

Sent by Tammy Pearce | 8:29 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me to recognize parts of myself that I had denied. I was vain. I took gifts in my life for granted. I honored others more than I honored myself. Now my body is scarred and I've had to learn to see myself in the mirror and accept the changes without self-hatred. I was always there for others. Sickness, fear, sadness, dying - none of those things turned me away. When I needed support I had to accept that others could not give as I had - but along with that I learned that I was far stronger than I gave myself credit for. I've learned that being compassionate, gentle, caring, and kind shouldn't be something that I only give to others, but something that I need to give myself, too. I am more than cancer; cancer should be allowed to be only a small part of me. The body may be pretty dinged up, but the inside is more beautiful than ever.

Sent by Gete | 8:30 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer grounded me in reality;made me more empathetic and compassionate for the suffering of others;made me focus on my life, those in my life and my soul;made me truly interested in helping others who are newly diagnosed;enabled me to know how much I am loved by family and friends and in turn express my love for them;transformed me not only physically but emotionally and spiritually;returned me to my spiritual roots and re-affirmed my faith.

For all of the pain and suffering that comes with cancer, it also enabled me to know that I am also truly blessed.

Sent by Al Cato | 8:35 AM | 4-29-2008

Dear friend:
My cancer taught me I was stronger than I ever knew.
I would like to dedicate this poem from a Hallmark card to you Leroy:
A mighty wind blew night and day. It stole the oak tree's leaves away. Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark until the oak was tired and stark. But still the oak tree held its ground while other trees fell all around.......
The weary wind gave up and spoke "How can you still be standing, Oak?" The oak tree said, "I know that you can break each branch of mine in two, carry every leaf away, shake my limbs, and make me sway. But I have roots stretched in the earth, growing stronger since my birth. You'll never touch them, for you see, they are the deepest part of me. Until today, I wasn't sure of just how much I could endure. But now I've found, with thanks to you, I'm stronger than I ever knew."

Sent by Harriet | 8:36 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer reinforced for me what is truly important in life- God, family, friends- pretty much in that order. And conversely, that I could safely put aside, career, status,things, St. Paul called it 'rubbish'. What I still need to learn is to trust more. Tough to do on a scan day which is tomoorrow for me.Peace on us all!

Sent by Kathleen | 8:42 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me take a new look at my life, my family and friends, the sunshine, a snowfall, a flower in my garden. It enabled me to meet some wonderful people in the medical profession, and to appreciate all they do, day after day, to help others. It reminded me that we all, every one of us, will die, and that I need to spend my finite time here making the world a better place for others. It made me reevaluate everything. Cancer was in many ways a gift.

Thank you for asking this profound question Leroy.

Sent by Wendy | 8:43 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer reminded me that you cannot escape or outrun the grim reaper

Sent by Joe | 8:43 AM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer caused me to lose my body weeight in tears. After he died I did it all over again.

Sent by Irene | 8:44 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer, has given me FREEDOM, I never had. I don't worry. I don't fret. I am free. I faced the beast. Lived and live with it.
My shoulders are broader than I ever thought, and I can handle anything.
The Beast may be lurking, but he is wasting his time. I no longer worry I am
"going" to get it! I "got" it. It didn't break me, and it won't. It may move me on to the great beyond, but I am supposed to leave this place at some time anyway.
Prayers, Blessings and May The Grace Of God Be With You.
Wanda Amorose

Sent by Wanda Amorose | 8:46 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer finally made me give up, at 58, the illusion that I was still just a kid in a grown-up body. But I've worked hard to regain the feeling and find myself looking at children with more joy.

Sent by Jimmy Schreiber | 8:50 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is my prison. It is holdong me against my will and I don't know if I will be let out early for good behavior. Actually, it will let me out for good behavior, but I just don't trust that yet. Although I am technically cancer free, I worry almost every day that the cancer will return. Every ache and pain, is that cancer? My husband recently was complaining of some unusual discomfort and we both thought cancer. We are sharing the same cell. I've hidden my past illness from some friends to "protect" them. I don't want them to join me in this cancer prison where everyone worries about me and the possibility of themselves gettting cancer. But I do realize that that reasoning is a self imposed part of my sentence. I know that exposing this ugly beast to the light of day will help release it from me, but I am not yet willing to take that next step. Hopefully some day taking about my cancer won't be so scary.
I refuse to associate any positive life lessons with my cancer. I cannot give any credit to the disease. All of the things that I have learned I believe are just lessons of life. To realize that everyone in your life has a lesson to teach you, that regardless of what type of illness you have or don't have we are all striving to find some sense of normal, that asking for help may be difficult but not the end of the world, and that everyday we are alive is truly a gift.

Sent by jen barad | 8:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My mom's cancer brought me closer to life. I don't have it my body physically but I have it in my heart. It has made me a better person, don't take life for granted. My mom's cancer made me appreciate the small things, turkey dressing, a laugh, a voice, painted toes and most of all the comfort of just being with those you love. No words need to be said, just being.

Sent by Gina B | 8:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer validated what wonderful love and support I have all around me, to not take things so seriously, to realize how blessed I am.

Sent by Lianne Friedman | 8:54 AM | 4-29-2008

My patient's, family's and friend's cancer has taught me how to be more compassonate and to understand that this enemy(CA)is out to get us and doesn't discriminate. I've learned to fear it, because it is so insidious. I learned that I will never know what anything is really like until I face it for myself, be it childbirth or arthritis, therefore I don't want to fully understand cancer. I want to walk beside you, not with you. I hope that doesn't sound cruel. But I will, and do, cry with you.

Sent by Susan | 8:56 AM | 4-29-2008

My Marina's cancer has taught me that life is worth living. Leroy you have taught me of the dignity of fighting for life. Your blog and your shared thoughts inspired my wife as she walked through the valley of the shadow of death. When she thought there was no hope, because of a failed chemo therapy, another opportunity or drug would unveil itself to give a renewed hope. Cancer allowed my wife Marina and I to grow closer than ever before. After 34 years it's hard to believe a couple could actually get closer yet. You know what I speak of Leroy. I envision you and your Lady having your quiet times together. Just the two of you. Stay close and hang on to each other for dear life Buddy.
Open your heart to her and hold nothing back.
Cancer has taught me to have gratitude for what the Lord has made out of lump of clay.
Cancer had taught me to be the best caregiver I could be to the glory of God. And thats good.

Have a great day Leroy, I pray you find what you are looking for in todays blog sharing

Sent by Donato Salazar | 8:57 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is not foreign. It is my own cells going against their nature. So each person's cell imperfections must be uniquely their own. My body didn't accommodate the cancer or collude to deceive my awareness of it. In truth my body seeks only to make the best of things. It sets a fine example for my mind which hopes for grace, comfort and a more immune system vulnerable cancer cell mutation.

Hold Fast

Don MacLeod

Sent by Don MacLeod | 8:57 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me look at life differently. Things that used to upset me are less important now. I try to see my children as often as possible because it gives me great joy. My husband and I laugh together and enjoy each other more.

Sent by Linda | 9:00 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me slow down, stop working so much, and cease obsessing about trivial matters. On my best days, it has given me greater clarity and peace of mind.

Sent by Kristy | 9:08 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me realize that I was indeed stronger than I ever thought I would or could be and that "things" do happen. The most important thing that my cancer has taught me is that everything will be alright - regardless of what happens, everything WILL be alright.

Sent by Amy | 9:08 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me feel lonely for the first time in my life.

Sent by tex | 9:10 AM | 4-29-2008

I do not have cancer but lost my mother in law and father in law to cancer. So, to that effect:
-My mother-in-law's cancer taught me strength, and humbled me.
-My father-in-law's cancer made me sad. He didn't tell any of us about it until he only had a few days left to live. He chose to be alone for the duration of his cancer.
I don't think you're missing any poiint, Leroy. I think you are actually doing so much good by having this blog. Your cancer is helping others cope. In turn, I hope we can all help you.

Sent by Kathleen, NJ | 9:10 AM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer taught me that nothing else matters except love

Sent by Lisa | 9:11 AM | 4-29-2008

My Cancer helped change the direction of my life. Time became precious and relationships even more important. It allowed me the time to be introspective about how I lived my life, the people I affect and those who inspire me. Even though I am in remission, it still lurks at times at how short life is and how to make the best of the time we have. I know that I spend every day loving my wife and children that much more so if I ever leave them - they have a full bank account of love from me. My cancer has taught me to LIVEStrong and take on fears and anxieties that I would not have previously. My cancer does not define me, it only challenges me to better every day.

Last - each one of us with cancer helps inspire someone else to find a cure. Each article we share, each defeat we suffer, and each vistory we celebrate inspires someone to get up every morning and find a cure. Keep writing, keep sharing, keep fighting. The louder we all live, more results we will all see.

Hang in there Leroy - Your Cancer has helped more people deal with theirs than you can imagine.

Sent by Glenn Gleason | 9:12 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me so aware

Sent by Diana Santamaria | 9:12 AM | 4-29-2008

Cancer has made me a better person to myself. I pay more attention to my intuition & inner voice. I enjoy more quiet time & simpler things. I never thought of myself as 'strong' but after battling cancer, I know I have the confindence & determination to do what I want rather than what the 'masses' are doing. I now know success is happiness.

Sent by Jeanette | 9:14 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me that every day on this side of the grass is a Good Day!

Sent by John | 9:15 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me the power of others prayers for me. It also taught me humility. My cancer appears to be gone, but MS has taken its place. Another battle to fight.

Sent by joane | 9:20 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is part of who I am. Not a part I would have welcomed, but part of me none the less. And like most other experiences in life cancer has both good and bad sides. My cancer has made me passionate about helping other survivors. It has introduced me to the world of yoga and meditation. It has cost me relationships, but made me new friends. It has left me with joint pain but also with more wisdom. It has taught me to be more compassionate. It has taken away my ability to sleep, to have children, to do the things I used to do without pain. But it has given me the strength, & the courage to meet life head on. I've learned to ski, become a godmother, gotten a new job, hiked the grand canyone, made new friends...all after having cancer...twice! I would never ask for cancer to be part of my life, but I will continue everyday to make room for it. What choice do I have?

Sent by beth | 9:24 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has brought great sadness and stress for my family.

Sent by Susie R. from OH | 9:25 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancers have taught me humility, to look for happiness in simpler things and to accept that they are sufficient.

Sent by david hasan | 9:27 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer sucked me up in a slashing, burning, poisoning tornado, then set me down in a new place, headed in different direction. I'm a better person since cancer, and in whatever time I have left, I'll add more to the world.

Sent by PJ Hamel | 9:28 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer (renal-cell carcinoma) has shown me what the real difference is between "wheat" & "chaff" in my life. It's a lot easier to deal with life's little irritations now...I'm grateful to be alive, and those irritants don't really get to me any more. Every day I get to be here with my family, friends, and colleagues is a gift.

Sent by Mike Armstrong | 9:29 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has been a "life sentence". A poster I found not long after my diagnosis and treatment says it all: "Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life."


Sent by Peggy | 9:32 AM | 4-29-2008

my father's cancer taught us both that God is gracious and we must trust wholly in Him, even when each day seems worse than the next. 2 Cor. 5:1 says "we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands...we must live by faith and not by sight."

Sent by shawn | 9:34 AM | 4-29-2008

My father's cancer, and my sister's cancer, taught me that life can change in an instant. They taught me not to take anything for granted. Do what you want to do NOW! I lost them both within three years. It taught me that we have the "illusion" of control. It's something I wrestle with everyday. I'm determined to do what I can to help find a cure for this disease, not just treatment...not just for them, but for all of us.

Sent by Donna R. in NJ | 9:34 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer showed me how much my husband really loves me and that his love truly is unconditional.

Sent by Nancy Kelly | 9:34 AM | 4-29-2008

My dad's cancer may have taken him from me, but he still gives me advice on my kids, my life, what's important -- it lives on in my heart and in how I live my life. That's something cancer can NEVER take away.

Sent by Tammy Reasoner, Cincinnati, OH | 9:35 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is a journey between me and the unknown universal force, or God, as it forces me to search for the knowing and the reason for this final walk of suffering.

Sent by christine | 9:36 AM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer made me realize how little control we have over anything and everything. I have learned to "let myself float on the safe waters, loving life as it comes, with all the rough weather it may bring." My mantra from Brother Roger who founded the Taize community in France and was murdered by a deranged woman about two years ago.

Sent by Barbara Gobrail | 9:37 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer....
HI Leroy,
I have been following your diary for about 8 mos. I look forward to your updates everyday because I need to know how you are doing each day. Everytime I read your diary I send you a prayer for comfort. So many people are wishing you the best.
My cancer hit me unexpectedly like a brick from behind 5 years ago. I was so shocked. I have always been healthy, active, no smoking, diet of minmal meat, no cancers in the family etc..
I breast fed my wasn't suppose to happen to a person like me!
I was 44 and recently separated when I found the bluberry size lump in my breast. Quickly I was seen, evaluated, lumpectomy and then mastectomy, medicines, ongoing testing etc.. I have been lucky so far, it was early and has been responsive to hormone therapy. For a long time I protected myself by telling everyone that I had " a little bit of cancer".
Now I have admitted to myself that it will be a chronic disease for me. If "it", my cancer, follows the rules and I play the game as directed by my doctors,then I can pretty much prevent or delay recurrence.
Cancer has reminded me to review the "flowers in my garden of life" daily, hourly. The pleasures of health, family, satisfying work. It has forced me to look outside my own garden and into others lives with a closer more intimate interest that I generally avoided before I got " a little bit of cancer".
It has brought depth to my life and I think of it as a stunning, bewildering weed in my garden. I have had to work hard and with envy at how others did not need to destroy beloved parts of their garden as I did in trying to get rid of that damn weed. I love and will take care of my garden tenderly and with cruel fierceness. I hope my cancer pays attention and follows the rules, because I will keep weeding that garden until I die.
That's MY Cancer......

Sent by Cindy | 9:39 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has enabled me to know both the fragility and the hopes of life, and with this knowledge to live most fully.
With hope,

Sent by Wendy S. Harpham, MD | 9:48 AM | 4-29-2008

As a teacher, my cancer has taught me to teach those around me to go for their dreams when they can, while they are young.

Sent by Tammy | 9:49 AM | 4-29-2008

Completely agree with Marilyn's 7:52 post. Unfortunately, I have to add that my husband's cancer killed him on April 11, 2008 at 5:20 p.m.

Sent by Teri | 9:50 AM | 4-29-2008

"My Cancer" ---- Has nurtured and enhanced my personality while refocusing the importance of my life's journey and it's accomplishements. Most importantly "My Cancer" has brought out the talents, skills, devotion and strong faith for those that care for me. That is my reward, watching from my "cancer" vantage point as others improve their life's journey.

Sent by John Allen | 9:51 AM | 4-29-2008

First of all I was really moved by all of the comments posted, beautiful! My Cancer has allowed me to learn some things about myself, to learn I am stronger than I thought I was. I have had depression for most of my life and I have always felt ashamed for it, like i'm not trying hard enough. I didn't belong to any groups and felt like a square peg with all circle holes surrounding me. Now with Cancer...I finally fit into a group with amazing survivors who I am so grateful to have met. I feel like I belong somewhere. Sounds morbid and strange but true. I learned to say what I feel and not waste any time that I don't want to waste doing things out of obligation. Its been a tough road and i'm still on it, but I know i'm a better person in some ways having gone through the treatment and still learning more and more every day. I still hate Cancer and get very down about it, but on the other hand I have grown as a person through it all. Thanks for your question Leroy!

Sent by Jenn | 9:51 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me feel that my body betrayed me. It unbalanced my hold. But then I looked around and took some pieces of balance from everyone else.
Now we'll try to balance each other.

Sent by Lisa | 9:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My son's cancer has taught me to turn to God for everything. He is the One in control of our lives, not us.

My son's cancer has also helped me to understand what others go through to some degree with cancer. Hopefully I have learned to reach out to others in need.

My son's cancer has taught me that you never know if you will have a tomorrow so you better enjoy today.

Sadly, my son's cancer has left a huge hole in my heart that will never be replaced. To think about what he endured and that he is gone is almost to much to bare. To say I miss him would be an understatement. I just look forward to the day I can see him again in Heaven.

God bless you Leroy.

(Ok, now I am at work and all choked up. Thanks buddy :o)

Take care.


Sent by Judy | 9:53 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer will not define me or become the be and end all of my life. What is has done is make me stop and be aware that I am not the center of the Universe, and that I must be attuned to others, their ideas and needs. My cancer was caught very early, and that has taught me how very fortunate I am, and to value that good fortune and each new day of my life. My cancer may or may not come back, but if it does, like you, I will battle it. My cancer has made me want to live the rest of my life fully for my own benefit, and for that of all those others in my life.

Sent by Kate | 9:55 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me face up to the many things that were wrong with my life, and fix them.

Sent by Patti | 10:02 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer brought me face to face with death.
And that made me realize how important the gift of eternal life really is, and how glad I am I have it through my relationship with Jesus Christ.
No outcome is bad now - if I live, that's great, and I'm embracing life.
If I die, I go to heaven, a place of eternal rest and peace. And that's a rather wonderful "backup".

Sent by David Hahn | 10:03 AM | 4-29-2008

Your cancer, your willingness to share very personal thoughts, intimate experiences, goals, has caused me to look more carefully at how I spend the time I have been given, how I treat the people I have the good fortune to meet, and to identify wasted time, energy, hurtful stuff... Your cancer has been a gift to me and others to be more aware, more loving, and more conscious, simply To Be More. Thank you for continuing your writing and our lessons... wishing you comfort and joy.

Sent by Stitches | 10:04 AM | 4-29-2008

..has taught me valuable lessons of patience, advocacy, sadness, and joy jsut like parents I work with on the pediatric intensive care unit. I am able to engage in a much more meaningful way such as finishing a thought when a parent is struggling with their childs newly diagnosed illness. I don't share my own experience but use it every day. All that being said I would have rather taken a class or read a book about grief, trauma, illness and how impacts the family system. But I got a gift and I'll use it.

Sent by Lisa | 10:04 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me that I'm vulnerable...I'm not special and may not be spared life's difficulties. It has taught me to go with the flow and live in the moment. It has taught me that there are so many loving people in the world--sometimes where you least expect it. I realized how insensitive I had been in the past when I heard of someone with cancer (they must have a toxic personality!). I am more compassionate. My love for my husband and caregiver is deeper and richer than before cancer. I thank the universe everyday for the miracle of life, for the joy of making it this far. I set my intention to live a long life with my husband and son, but know there are no guarantees. Work is not my life. Resentments are gone. Cancer has freed me in many ways.

Sent by Susan | 10:05 AM | 4-29-2008

My mom's cancer took her life and took from me the first person who ever loved me and who loved me unconditionally from even before my first breath and until her last. Her death taught me the power of a mother's love and as I look at my young kids I am awed by that and will do my best to love by her example.

Sent by JoAnn | 10:06 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me question what is the meaning of life.

Sent by Jill Curtis | 10:09 AM | 4-29-2008

I agree. I don't want to give my cancers any sort of positive attributes. Nine years ago I was dx with melanoma. Last year I was dx with breast(right breast removed along with lymph nodes) and lung cancer. The lung cancer is primary not metastasized from the breast. I'm pretty much the same person I was before being dx. I just don't understand people who say they're "a much better person for having cancer." Like they're grateful. As for myself, I've always been a nice person and continue to be so. I have always enjoyed my family and continue to do so. l have always been active in small ways in my community and continue that as well. I'm not a religious person but have always been a spiritual one. So on all that matters to me, I am that person. The only attribute I will concede to the cancers is that they can put an end to the person I am. That's what I would call a hugh negative nothing positive there.

Sent by cathy itri | 10:10 AM | 4-29-2008

My sister's cancer gave her the freedom to live "outside the box" for the first time in her life. She attended concerts (with me in tow) and after every event, she would start looking on-line for another concert. She said she had to have something to look forward to. I guess, with a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, the future she always thought she would have was too painful to contemplate. We lived rock concert to rock concert. Our last concert was 2 1/2 months before she passed. Her cancer taught her to live in the moment. She fought it with everything modern medicine threw at her while most likely knowing in her heart that the cancer would probably, eventually, take her. She didn't (couldn't???) talk about death or her fears. She endured her battle with quiet dignity and courage. I never heard her utter a complaint or why me?. Her cancer stole her health, her future, her children's mother, her husband's wife, my only sister, and in the final weeks even made her struggle for every breath. But right up to the end, she bore it all quietly with a dignity I have never witnessed in my lifetime.
As a survivor, my sister's cancer left me heartbroken, empty, depressed. I will miss her for the rest of my life. I pray that she is in a beautiful, peaceful place with my Dad. The lessons I learned during her 3 1/2 battle are too numerous, to hard to find words that will do them justice. I did learn to cherish every moment, every phone conversation with her. We made memories and now the memories are what I have to sustain me.

Sent by Susan H. | 10:11 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer....has been a blessing in many ways. It stopped me in my tracks and I quickly learned to let the little things go, and SO many things I spent time worrying about and fretting over were little. It has allowed me to focus on what's really important, time with my daughter, with people I care about. It jolted me enough to realize that I need to be more kind and gentle with my words and focus on being more pleasant and positive. There's something to that old phrase about how people may not remember how much money you had in the bank or what kind of house you lived in or car you drove, but they'll remember how you made them feel. That's really all we leave when we're gone.

My cancer has also been a curse. It has taken my body's ability to perform and do what I feel I need to do. It has caused me to have to be dependent on others for some of the most basic tasks, tasks I long took for granted. I'd like to be remembered as one who went down fighting, giving cancer the finger with both hands. F--- you cancer, and all you've taken from all of us!

Sent by Norma H. from Kentucky | 10:12 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has depressed me, hurt me, brought me to my knees, turned my world upside down, made me a better father, husband, person. My cancer has changed everything.

Sent by David | 10:13 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me realize how blessed I am because of my three f's. My faith, my family and my friends. As I told my wife several times during my hospital stay for pancreatic cancer surgery the worst thing I could imagine would be to go through this alone. In the hospital I had a lot of time to contemplate about what is important and what is not. I never realized that so many people cared about me and my battle with the demon. The cancer helped me put my priorities in the proper order. I think Vince Lombardi had it right when he used to tell his players how to order their lives by putting their God first then their family and third their team, the Green Bay Packers.

Sent by Bob | 10:14 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer... saved my life.

Sent by Tim | 10:14 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me quite a bit, yet so little. I faced this beast with an open mind and as a learning adventure. What I learned is that I spent TOO much of my life at work. I learned that now, more than ever, how much I long to spend time enjoying family, even if it is just sitting in quiet together. I learned that we are not as in control of our time and our lives as we like to think. A good health insurance plan IS important (thankful for that). It helps to live close to one of the top cancer centers and hospitals in the world. People who care for cancer patients are really compassionate and amazingly intelligent, as are the researchers. Humor is good! Cancer is worse on the caregivers and loved ones than on the patient. My wife and son, and even some of my friends were excellent caregivers! There are too many people suffering from this disease. I know life is temporary; cancer just drives home the point. Most of all, I know that prayer is a powerful thing, with this experience, I could actually see and feel my prayers get answered, some almost instantly. I still have much more to learn...

Sent by Randy J. | 10:16 AM | 4-29-2008

My mother's cancer has forced me to get on my knees praying, and trust in God to get us all through this ordeal, however it ends. It has taught me that sometimes you don't see the whole road, just the bumps and bends right in front of you, but God does, and that maybe the road could smooth out a mile or two ahead and you just have to keep on living and taking care of yourself and the rest of your family in the meantime, although sometimes with a lump in your throat, and no promise of a happy ending. It has taught me to love harder, and deeper, and appreciate the absolute beauty in every day and its blessings, because "right now" is all we've got.

Sent by Connie | 10:20 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has turned my life upside down. It is the best of times and the worst of times. Knowing that my expiration date is sooner than expected has really ticked me off.

My happiness is deeper, my sadness is more profound, my tolerance for the trivial is gone.

Each day is a gift but sure knowledge of my mortality is a punch in the stomach.

I can now only truly relate to those who are also terminal, which is why I find my hospice work so rewarding.

My biggest fear is what will become of my adult disabled son. Although I've made provisions for him I'm just not ready to leave him.


Sent by Sue Mersic | 10:22 AM | 4-29-2008

My grandfathers "lung cancer" taught me when I was young that the only important words in the world is " I love you". When your body fails and your voice choses your words so carefully because you know that you only can say a few---the important words are only 3 and they do come out. Too bad that we all can't learn that lesson early on and live another 90 years knowing what's important.

Sent by debbie | 10:23 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has changed me for forever. I won't ever take 'routine' dr. appointments as that again. I realize I am mortal, something I had vastly denied before. I love my family and am terrified of leaving them. I pray that God's plan and mine is the same and that I'm here, on this earth, for many years.

Sent by Tracy | 10:31 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me not to be cancer phobic. My father died of cancer at age 30. My grandmother raised me and she was phobic about cancer. Anyone who was ill must have it. I grew up being very afraid of cancer. I was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 21. I was very lucky because it was Stage I and surgery alone gave me the next 25 years cancer free. God took away my fear of cancer. I am now 68 years old and have had colon cancer twice, ovarian cancer twice and Stage 3 small bowel cancer in 2006. I appear to be NED. My recent CT scan was clean. I am scheduled for a capsule endoscopy in July and both an endoscopy and ileoscopy in August. I will have the usual pretest nerves over those, but know that my Lord Jesus will bring me through no matter the outcome.
I don't think you have missed anything Leroy. Your writing and thoughts have touched my heart in many ways. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Charlotte in Rural Ridge, PA

Sent by Charlotte Kewish | 10:33 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is in remission for now, but I never know when it will return.

My cancer has taught me to live life with a sense of urgency.

My cancer has taught me that nothing is permanent.

Sent by Susan C | 10:33 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has ruined my life. While the cancer itself is gone, the collateral damage to my family is perhaps irreparable. While others learned of their spouse's unconditional love, I learned that my husband turned to drugs in response to my cancer. It saddens me to know that for every story of support and love during a cancer diagnosis and treatment, there are also too many stories of someone dropping the ball. But you don't hear those stories very often, maybe because they are just too sad to tell in the midst of the rest of the grief that is cancer.

Sent by Kathy | 10:35 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me to pare down to the essentials in all things -- to live large and travel light -- trusting in the power of kindness and love to lead me where I need to go.

Sent by Virginia Foster | 10:37 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer experience took the lives of my father and my son. The negative aspects are common and obvious, the positives I have experienced and that I observed are- cancer is humbling, cancer exemplifies beauty, cancer promotes honesty, cancer encourages spiritural faith, cancer promotes love and forgiveness, cancer identifies priorities, cancer magnifies relationships, cancer exercises emotions. My cancer experience was one of the greatest lessons I will likely ever experience. Naturally I miss my father and would have given my life to save my sons, I am grateful for the lesson I have experienced and wish the magnitude of this lesson could be empowered into all of man kind with out the pain, suffering and loss of life that I have experienced.
God Bless,
In memory of Jack and Theodore

Sent by Ted Voller | 10:39 AM | 4-29-2008

Losing my brother to cancer in 1985 (I was 15, he was 33) reminds me that no one is ever forgotten and even decades after they leave you their influences still remain.

Reading these comments for the past 10 months every day has taught me that I am not alone: there are many caregivers who go through what I went through.
Losing my mother to cancer in 2001 has taught me to honor her: in the life I live, in the foods I cook, the books I read, the thoughts I have. You never stop missing your mother, no matter how she dies.

Mom and Dino are not forgotten. Reading this blog daily helps me to cope. By being concerned about all of you, I am still thinking of them. I honor them by caring about others with cancer and hopefully my comments will help someone, someday.

Sent by Liz L. | 10:40 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me how precious life truly is and how much I want to live.

Sent by Janie | 10:40 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer:
has made me obsessive and anxiety ridden,
has made me refine my denial skills,
has made me feel I have aged quite a bit,
has made me care way less what people think of me,
has sorted out the fake friends and left the gems,
has helped me tap back into my creative nature,
given me some hope (so far!!)and helped me spread hope to others,
has made me a better person.

Sent by NancyGM | 10:40 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has shown me the importance of enjoying each day--spending time with family and friends. But more importantly it has shown me the importance of keeping my focus on Jesus each day to give me the peace and comfort I need as I live out my life here on earth and to help me fulfill the purpose and plan that He has for me.

Sent by Linda Faulkner | 10:46 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me that I am loved, I love, and I am tough. I will not let it label me. I laugh at it and tell it "I've had worse places on my eye!" I hope it doesn't decide to go there!!!!!!

Sent by Annaleisa | 10:48 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer was not my cancer..It was my sister's cancer and her cancer made me acutely aware that I loved her more than I ever could have imagined. I wonder how I could have missed that until her illness.

Sent by Donna Rose | 10:50 AM | 4-29-2008

My Cancer(s),
made me realise that I am a tenant in my body. The bugs own my body.
That's okay, We can co-exist

Sent by Robert Brower | 10:50 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer reminds me to pray more often.

Sent by Maxine | 10:50 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me about both strength and humility -- the strength of my body to go through treatments and receive drugs that destroy good cells in order to kill the Beast; the strength of my spirit to focus on the things that give me joy; and the humility to realize that I cannot be (and never really was) utterly self-sufficient.

My cancer has also taught me to say "yes" more readily. I live alone and have one sister with me here in the city who can't always accompany me to doctors' visits, etc. I spent yesterday receiving my weekly chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer, and I was fortunate to have the company of a good friend. I could have sat at the clinic all day by myself. But when my friend offered to come with me, I said "yes." Am I grateful that I didn't have to be there on my own ... YES.

Sent by Elsa Cumming | 10:51 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer.....has taught me what's truly important while walking this earth. It's taught me that knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus and spreading His love is the most important that. It's taught me that loving others and living each moment of every day to the fullest is all that matters.

In a and live and when it's all over your Savior will call you Home.

Sent by Mary Jo Cyr | 10:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer....was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. It stopped everything in my life from fast forward to slow. I saw things for the first time. It prepared me for harder times unknown to me at the time. It renewed my faith and strengthened my compassion. It was indeed, the best worst thing that ever happened to me.

Sent by Mary Stasko | 10:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me about the goodness of God and of my friends and family. I also have learned a lot about what is important and what is not.

Sent by Bettie Wolverton | 10:52 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me to love and to be loved. To accept who I am. To exclude our flaws and find the good in all of us.

Sent by Ron | 10:54 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me worry less about what I can't control. I was always worrying about being on time, having the house clean and being all things to all people. Can't do it, all I care about now is time spent with my family and friends. All the rest just doesn't matter(as much!hard to change a type A to anything else! :) )

Sent by Jenene K., AZ | 10:59 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me that getting old is worth fighting for.

My cancer taught me to speak up for myself.

My cancer taught me that social status isn't really all that important.

My cancer taught me that there are a lot of people who really do care and are very kind.

My cancer brought out the best in people.

God bless you, Leroy!


Sent by Kathy | 11:02 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer took away two body parts. My two beautiful breasts. Oh wait! That was my choice. I opted for life in exchange for them.
I've missed them terribly. My husband has missed them too but somehow continues to make love to me. He loves me.
He helped me with my decision. We both opted for life. I'd like to think that I totally changed my priorities because of "my cancer". But
honestly? I'm not sure that I have. Do I live every day to the fullest? No. Am I totally in the moment so as not to miss the small, wonderful
things we're supposed to notice? No. Do I always take time to "stop and smell the roses"? No. But one thing "my cancer" did? It gave me love. I love more deeply.
I give more readily. I truly think of others and pray for them. I have such empathy, that it hurts sometimes. But my heart is so full of love for
everyone and everything. "My cancer" gave me love of life.

Sent by Lyn Banghart | 11:03 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me that I am a fighter and will fight hard for my life without regrets--even when the fight leaves long term scars.

The lasting damage from fighting my cancer has inflicted many losses on me. I can't sing, can't teach in a classroom, can't talk on the phone for long periods of time, can't go on an energetic hike in the woods - all things I used to love passionately. I also suffer from chronic pain of various kinds. There's not a day my wounds will let me forget the battle I fought although I am three years cancer free. My cancer has caused me a lot of grief because of this.

My cancer showed me both the best and worst of others in my life. People who I barely knew came through for me in amazing ways and sometimes my dearest loved ones (including my husband) withdrew and let me down. I have had to learn to forgive that, which has been hard. My cancer has stretched my forgiveness muscles.

My cancer has also stretched my gratitude muscles but I have learned to be very very grateful for the smallest of things. Nothing is guaranteed and despite everything I feel like overall I have lived a blessed life. Although sometimes I have a hard time saying why exactly.

Sent by N.R. | 11:03 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer (and my husband's cancer 6 months earlier), were a loss of innocence. Even at 60, I thought illness and old age happened to other people, not me. Now life is defined as before cancer and after cancer. I liked it better before (even though we're both doing's always there lurking and ready to tap you on the shoulder)

Sent by Trudie | 11:05 AM | 4-29-2008

I don't have cancer, my mother does and my best friend did. About four days before Carole died I asked her " do remember what we complained about last year?" So my friend's cancer gave me gratitude for every day I get that she didn't, helps me know how important the relationships in my life are, as my mother's cancer has spurred me to repair a lifetime of being at odds. Feel better.

Sent by Dianna Austin | 11:07 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer crouches in the corner of my psyche, and I know it is ready to pounce at any moment. I am hyper aware of this, and therefore, more aware of everything.

I believe that writing this blog every day must be difficult for you, Leroy, and while you are helping millions of people, none of us will mind if you take a little time off from it.

Sent by Liz Cratty | 11:12 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me aware that life is short, regardless of how long you live, so appreciate the moment, forget the irrelevant.

Sent by Cay Welsh | 11:15 AM | 4-29-2008

My Dad's and best friend's cancer has taught me that each day is precious and never take anything for granted. Also, that the beast can touch anyone's life.

Sent by Teresa in WV | 11:18 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer reminded me that every moment is worth living in -- I can remember the past and plan for the future, but I can only truly live right now.

Sent by Jane J | 11:18 AM | 4-29-2008

Cancer (I resist saying "my cancer" for some reason) has separated me from my old life. From my former sense of invulnerability; from some good friends who are strangely less available; from a world that I understood and knew my place in.
My new world is more contemplative; more focused on now; and more forgiving of myself and others.
Thanks for the opportunity to wrestle with this question, Leroy. You are, as always, my hero! Anita

Sent by Anita Solomon | 11:19 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer gave me a new world...a cancer world but also a window of oportunity to DO something about this awful word. To change other's lives, to not let it happen for some . I can never go back to the way 'it once was'. After that word, this is what is, why not make the best of it? In this world my cancer=advocate.

Sent by Jo-Ellen | 11:19 AM | 4-29-2008

allowed me to accept the love of family and friends and taught me about the generosity of strangers.

Sent by Carole | 11:23 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has paralyzed my life due to my disabilities. It has taken away so many things that I used to enjoy... eating, the ability to plan future activities and commit to them, traveling globally, working intensely, participating/hosting fun social gatherings, scuba diving, golfing, working out, and communicating verbally comfortably. I can still do some of these activities some of the time, but not with the pleasure that I was able to do before cancer. It has also taken away my spouse's ability to enjoy many of the activities we used to so much enjoy doing together. It has not been easy on either of us.

My cancer has allowed me to spend more quality time with my daughter and help her with homework and when asked, social situations. She's now a teenager and knows everything by the way. But, she humors me and still asks for advice occasionally. I've been thrilled to spend this time with her and help her become wiser in the ways of the world. This is time my cancer doctors didn't think I would have 2 years ago. It has also shown me great friendships and compassion from so many people including family, friends, and medical professionals. This has taught me to be more compassionate, generous, and thoughtful at times.

Although cancer has made me wiser and smarter in a few very important ways, I would trade it in a minute for the life I had before the words I heard for the first time 3 years ago today on April 29 2005, "you have cancer." I miss my old "normal." My new "normal" is something I do the best I can with daily, but each day is a reminder of the good times I had and the things that I've lost.

Ed Steger

Sent by Ed Steger | 11:25 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer helped me sort out what is and what is not important. I learned that I could get up every morning for 33 radiation treatments and still make it into work. And I learned that my employer didn't really care, and laid me off anyway. That would be illegal in Europe. I learned that my boyfriend of many years was a coward and ran away, so I let him go. This I think opens up a place for someone in my life who will love me the way I deserve to be loved. A friend calls and says "I think about you all the time." That is love.

Sent by Dianne (DC) | 11:27 AM | 4-29-2008

I agree with Jen Barad's post, I refuse to give cancer credit for anything good in my life. My cancer has made me aware of my mortality and through this awareness I have a deep appreciation of my husband's unconditional love, of my friend's love and my sister's love. I love waking up every morning, to be here, to be alive.

Sent by Ruth White | 11:30 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is both a blessing and a curse. It has given me clarity and vision that I didn't have before, but the price I've paid for it has been pretty steep. I wish that there was an easier way to have earned that clarity and vision that wasn't so painful, and not really so much painful for me (although it is), but painful for family and friends to endure.

Sent by Bob Maimone | 11:31 AM | 4-29-2008

I don't have cancer but have had loved ones with it.
Cancer has taught me fear, anger, and awe.

Sent by bettye | 11:31 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me how precious life is and that I will not be here forever and neither will anyone else.

I kiss and hug the love of my life and my daughter every morning, no matter what!

I talk to the ones I love almost daily.

My cancer has shown me what a warrior I truely am.

I have learned to stop putting crap into my body. At first I felt justified with all I was going through that I could eat whatever the heck I I say to myself whey would I want to put that in my body and make my body process all that stuff. I also excercise now!

True friends have been there. They were not afraid to call or visit. They showed up.

My cancer has taught me to appreciate even more the sunsets, beach, birds, animals, all of nature and beauty.

My cancer has taught me that we just really don't know when we are going. For this reason I never take for granted the ones I love so much. I want them to know how much they mean to me.

Through cancer I am learning not to worry about things I cannot control. Not an easy lesson. Stay in the moment...

I talk to God and pray daily.

My cancer has taught me I am not afraid to die, I just don't want to. I love life and living!

Sent by Carolynn Dubicki | 11:32 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer took me to places that I'd witnessed as a nurse, but couldn't really appreciate fully until I found myself there. It took me to the depths of despair, it forced me to become assertive in advocating for myself, to be persistent when I wasn't being heard or treated effectively. It reinforced my trust in synchronicity. When I needed help and it showed up without struggle, I knew that it was the correct path, the right decision, and it always worked out. My cancer became my cancers in November when I was diagnosed with a second type of metastatic cancer. I went through some tough early times, but was able to use the tools I'd been given, and the strengths that I'd found in myself with breast cancer to cope with what I had to do and find peace once more.

Sent by Nancy K. Clark | 11:32 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is not mine. It is some THING that I will fight against with every breath in my body. It is not welcome here.
But that THING has taught me to hold onto the best things in life. Love, laughter, family and friends. Everything else can go jump in the lake. :-)

Sent by Laura Stechschulte | 11:37 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me how to live life one day at a time.

Sent by Alycia Keating | 11:41 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is my sister's cancer and my other sister's cancer, my mother's cancer, my father's cancer, my mother-in-law's cancer, my
father-in-law's cancer and even my cat's cancer. What is said to be their cancer is my own, even if I don't have it growing in me. Cancer surrounds me and makes me want to spend my money more freely and my days more calculated because this disease gnaws away at our time. Life's end has become so much closer with each of these cancers that now I'm more thoughtful in sculpting what remains.

Sent by Laurie de Gonz??lez | 11:43 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) has taught me more fully enjoy life. The gift is being at peace with a terminal illness right from the start.

Sent by Paul Syvertsen | 11:44 AM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer made me grow up and take responsibility for myself.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 11:46 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has gotten me at least four trips to Vegas in the last two years from my wife that she previously would have probably rejected.My cancer has also gotten me pity sex on a few occasions from my wife, my cancer has also made me realize that life can get real short if you're not lucky and has made me hustle in my business and my work-out schedule to stay ahead of the cancer. My cancer has changed my morning email ritual. I used to read my emails and stocks in that order, now I read NPR(Leroy) my emails then my stocks. Thanks for everything Leroy.

Sent by Tom | 11:48 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is something I hope I don't develop. Dealing with my father's cancer was enough.

Sent by Joyce | 11:48 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer helped me realize how blessed I have been in my lifetime. My cancer helped me appreciate my friends more and to learn how to "let" them help me which is also good for them. My cancer taught me to accept a new normal after each major treatment that took away some part of my previous normalcy. Three years ago wearing a diaper every day would have been a big deal--now it is part of normal and just fine. It allows me to lead a more "normal" life in other ways. My cancer taught me to value each day to the fullest and to realize that any day that is relatively pain free is a good day. My cancer also robbed me of my ability to continue my job as a professor that I truly loved, to play golf, to hike as long and as far as I would like and will likely soon end my life. It is not all good but cancer has taught me to find the good in each day.

Sent by Sally W | 11:51 AM | 4-29-2008

My cancer... sucks. That's all. If I'm supposed to have learned something from it, I missed it completely. It hasn't made me embrace the moment, it's made me more fearful and anxious. And that's despite the fact that I'm currently cancer-free. I feel like I'm just waiting for it to come back, and every ache and pain makes me wonder if it's back.

I hate that now, at 32, I know (not just a logical knowing, but deep down really believing) that I'm going to die someday and that there are things I'm just not going to be able to do with my life. Before cancer, I still believed anything was possible, and even though I knew, logically, that someday I'd die, I didn't really believe that, because death is something that we all believe happens to someone else and not to us, at least not until we're old. (You can define "old" however you want to - I've noticed my definition has changed over time.)

Sent by Shannon | 11:51 AM | 4-29-2008

Above all, my cancer has made me really understand at a gut level that we're all going to die -- and that in my case, it will most likely be far sooner than expected. It has taught me how precious every day is -- and made me hate wasting time on meaningless or small-minded activity. Knowing how little time is left causes me to speak more directly and honestly, since there's no time to beat around the bush. Sometimes, I must admit, my cancer makes me angry. But usually,my cancer makes me feel a sort of aching tenderness toward my fellow humans, all just stumbling along, doing the best we can.

Sent by Doris | 11:53 AM | 4-29-2008

My Dad's cancer, and my friends' cancers, have taught me that life is fragile and uncertain, and that it's a good idea for *all* of us to have our "affairs in order." All the time -- not just when cancer is knocking on the door.

Sent by Dorothy | 12:01 PM | 4-29-2008

My brother's cancer woke me up. Life and love are now. This minute. Today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Sent by kathleen | 12:05 PM | 4-29-2008

My Cancer has not yet arrived. Maybe I can be prepared for that arrival. With family history of both survival and death, it leaves me unsure. But with that history I am also as prepared as possible. I neither obsess over nor ignore my health. But I am aware.

Sent by Kathy C | 12:15 PM | 4-29-2008

My son's cancer taught me that life is precious and should not be taken advantage of - that I should live in the moment.

Sent by Jeff B | 12:17 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me realize how much I'm loved.
My cancer never brought down my spirits.
My cancer enabled me to reach out to others and tell my story.
My cancer made me aware how fragile life is.
My cancer didn't take over my life - I wouldn't allow it to!
My cancer made me realize how strong I was and that a smile and laughter go a long way!!

Sent by Susan Sheehan | 12:22 PM | 4-29-2008

Hi Leroy. Thank you for challenging us with your post today.

My the age of 48 starkly brought into my consciousness that I was mortal. My cancer taught me that I had inner strength not even imagined before. It taught me the power of the human spirit to fight, to succeed, to live. My cancer brought sharply into focus the fact that I believe in God, in Jesus, in the promise of the future, whether or not it's in this body today.
My cancer, amazingly, turned me into a role model for others who were shocked that someone they knew had this disease. My cancer taught me that I have an empathy for others who have illness, and that I can offer a new level of support that I wouldn't have known before. My cancer taught me the value of slowing down and taking time with those I love; my cancer taught me that each day is a gift to be cherished.

Sent by Martha in FL | 12:27 PM | 4-29-2008

I bring you my sister Tamara Engel's words and what cancer taught her and in turn me about the wail and the wonder of life.

"Ovarian cancer and chemotherapy has changed my body and mind. My energy is good, but my stamina and endurance are not what they used to be. The muscle tone I once had from regular exercise is gone. "Chemo brain" is real for me. It takes me longer to process information, read and write. My short term memory and word retrieval is much slower than what it was two years ago. At times I think I've aged ten years in two! Then I feel worried and weary. I wail. At times I notice that I'm thinking more with my heart and funny bone. There is more love and laughter in my life. That's the wonder.

Twice I've lost my beautiful thick, never a bad hair day, hair. Even worse three times I've lost my eyebrows and eyelashes. Eyebrows help give expression to my face, eyelashes filter out dirt and could have protected me from repeated eye infections. I wail. I look in the mirror and see that I look like I'm a cancer patient. I say to myself with amusement, "Well, what did you expect? You are." I notice a wide smile. I have not lost my inner beauty! That's the wonder.

I have a quick-minded eighty -- eight year old mother. I find myself thinking about what this is like for her. I have a much beloved thirty year old daughter. I find myself thinking about what this is like for her even more. I wail. I hold my daughter in my arms and she holds me tight. We sob and sob. A stillness replaces the sobs and we breathe more naturally. Emily asks hesitantly, "Is this a good time to ask if you could proofread a paper I wrote?" I respond, "It couldn't be more perfect." Life as we have known it. Ah, the quotidian things of life. That's the wonder.

Having and treating ovarian cancer and its side effects devours time. Managing my illness is a full time job for me and takes plenty of my partner, Jim's time as well. Another double header day. Jim accompanies me to my PET Scan and later an appointment with my oncologist. Traffic is heavy. We are both tired, cranky and weary. We wail. In the evening, we watch a Marlins baseball game and talk about the Brooklyn Dodgers just as we did together when we were teenagers living in Brooklyn. Time becomes timeless. That's the wonder."

Celia Engel Bandman

Sent by celia Bandman | 12:30 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me aware of life and how precious and beautiful it is. It also made me aware of how short life is and that every moment should be lived to its fullest and that nothing is more satisfying than love given and received.

Sent by Bob | 12:40 PM | 4-29-2008

My best friend's cancer taught me to stop and appreciate the beauty of each day and to appreciate the little things in life. To not be so fearful or to postpone living.
My best friend's cancer taught me the joy of having a "best friendship". It taught me to always remember that love and friendship are priceless treasures.
My best friend's cancer taught me that cancer can take a life, but can't conquer the spirit.
My best friend's cancer taught me that I can still live with a shredded heart. Wish it didn't have to be that way. For anyone.

Sent by Jen | 12:41 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer....has cut down on the number of times that I say "Tomorrow will be better" or "when x y or z happens, everything will be ok" and makes me try hard to make the here and now good.

Sent by Beth S. , Louisville, Ky | 12:42 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer haunts me.

Sent by Jane | 12:46 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer the first time was an impetus to change my life. I stopped doing things I didn't want to do and took greater risks, changing jobs, moving to a new house and enrolling in graduate school. Then I forgot about the beast as each year passed. Now, at age 64, it is back after 19 years(breast cancer mets to the pleura of the lung) I was shocked and sad but am now hopeful. I don't have anxiety because I have launched my kids. I'm in a different place, at peace. Currently, I'm in remission but don't know for how long. If it comes back, it comes back. There's not a lot I can do about it. I'm surprised that I feel this way. Leroy, I think cancer teaches each one of us different things and it is always in flux. I think you're open to its lessons which are unique to you and often shared by others. Thank you for blogging.

Sent by cna | 12:59 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer forced me to distinguish between life's really important stuff, and life's trivial details. My cancer came at an inopportune time-IS there an opportune time? My cancer transformed me from an impatient perfectionist to an easier-going woman with more understanding and compassion for human nature and human spirit. My cancer made me really ill and therefore I now really appreciate my post-treatment vigor and attitude.

Sent by Sherri Eggleston | 1:09 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer thought me to appreciate the little things, enjoy every minute of the day, look at the flowers and enjoy their beauty. Listen to all and thank them for being around me. And most of all that this to shall end and life will go on for others. Thank you Leroy for sharing with us.

Sent by Marelly | 1:10 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer did not change me as much as I thought it would; I guess I've always believed that any day I wake up is a good day.

Still, I'm keeping it [the experience], I think I need it. I've felt a lot of love. Keeping that too.

Sent by scott bronson | 1:17 PM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer:
-has shown me how strong I really am.
-has brought us closer together.
-has helped us leave that fast-paced workaholic life behind.
-has helped us focus on what's really important.
-has helped us live life one day at a time.

Not all of the lessons we've learned along this two year journey have been easy ... but we are both better people today because of them. Two years ago the word "cancer" was still 3 days away from being spoken. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Sent by Dianne in Nevada | 1:29 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is the knowledge that at any time, it could be my turn. It has taken too many people I love. Cancer is undiscerning. Sometimes we can see a reason why it strikes and sometimes the randomness is cruel beyond comprehension. My beloved friend Deb finally met the love of her life after too many bad relationships and was dead two years later from breast cancer. It still breaks my heart. Cancer has claimed too many family members for me not to know it could well come for me one day. I don't live in fear of it, but in awareness. And I hate the mindlessness of this disease that takes good people to an early grave.

Sent by Carol | 1:29 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me that there are good people out there who are willing to help when you least expect it...that everyday is a good day because it is one more day that you are alive...that my husband loves me in sickness and in health, big time...that given adversity, a positive attitude and will to live has its own life force.

Sent by Cathy Q. | 1:30 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me to LIVE each day to the fullest. JO

Sent by Jo | 1:31 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer stole my children's innocence.

Sent by ssd | 1:35 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer sucks. It gets credit for nothing positive in my life. Everything good, loving and hopeful in my life is there because I cultivated it. Cancer is screwing up my plans.

Sent by Tracy | 1:38 PM | 4-29-2008

Your Blog... is wonderful. There are times in my world when I feel alone. In reading other responses to your request to finish the sentence there are many I identify with.

I figured out my diagnosis as the head of radiation came in to talk to me after an ultrasound. It had to be ovarian cancer... OMG Martin Luther King Jr.'s wife died of that this morning. Gilda Radner died of that... I've always feared it (with no reason).

Fear started to build inside me... I then closed my eyes and asked God to give me strength to face what lay ahead. The fear was gone and is gone.

My cancer is being fought! I wrote this poem the day after the diagnosis hours before meeting with the wonderful surgeon that has given me 2 1/2 years and counting.

I know!!
??2006 by Carol Notermann

I know that I'm not in control... But Thank God that He is!
I know that I've no need to plan, for the best plan is His.

I know that I am not alone. Friends walk the path with me.
I know that yes, I must be strong, find out what waits for me.

I know that as in "Footprints" there's only one set in the sand.
and I know that I am clinging, very tightly to His hand.

Today, I'll see what surgeons -- can do to help me stay
here with all my loved ones, cherishing each day.

Sent by Carol Notermann | 1:40 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has put me back on the path.

Sent by Marshall T. Spriggs | 1:41 PM | 4-29-2008

Treating cancer has changed my personal view of the world.

Sent by Krupai Tejura MD | 1:42 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me that I am living and dying at the same time. The living feels so full and so intense, filled with exquisite beauty and wonder. The dying feels like I am tearing away all the layers, seeing parts of me I didn't know were there, and it hurts, but just a little. And I am also learning forgiveness and gentleness and a lightness of being that will hopefully let me die with peace and grace.

Sent by Rebecca | 1:43 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me how to survive. It made me look at each day that I get to live in one of two ways: it's either a good day or a great day.

Sent by Jason | 1:49 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "Carpe diem"

Sent by Karen | 1:51 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancerS thought me that I can hold still for needles, but will never be able to watch or get used to them. My cancers continue to teach me how wonderful my (now)husband is than in all the years I knew him before. My cancers have taught me how to be a caregiver and that it is truly harder to be a caregiver than it is to be the patient.
Leroy and Laurie - Keep up the good work! Thank you!

Sent by Judie from CT | 1:51 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has only strengthened my pre-cancer belief that there is not a god in the sense we mortals understand. If prayer works then god is ignoring a lot of good people. And if it's because we can't understand the workings of god then I really don't want to understand how a god that allows so much suffering works. Not just cancer suffering, but all the other even more horrible things that go on in the world. Either god doesn't exist or is not paying attention.

Sent by Marcia | 1:51 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me what is REALLY important in my life....

Sent by Marilyn Trujillo | 1:56 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has humbled me.

Sent by Susan P | 2:01 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is theoretical until I get this lump examined in my breast. Will I be the lucky 80% with something benign? I know now that we are not any disease that we have, but still our lovely selves no matter what.

Sent by Lisa | 2:02 PM | 4-29-2008

My Cancer has been a lesson in humility, patience and perserverance. I have met many people who are survivors, and some who didn't make it. Some of these people have been a great inspiration to me.
I have sent several emails to you Leroy, in the past, and just realized sending them via a return from your email to me doesn't work. Sorry, my fault!
I carried "The Beast" since late 2004. I've gone through several operations, treatments and lots of pain.
I was determined over the last two years to defeat it using a Holistic method of eating, and supplements that are known to have helped cure it.
I feel I'm alive because of my attitude, and determination to learn about the disease. Consuming foods and supplements that Cancer can't feed on has helped some.
However, in Feb. of this year, I had to be admitted to emergency. I could'nt urinate. The tumors had again grown back in my Bladder and I had to have them removed.
At this point I decided a different approach was eminent.
My daughter in Santa Monica, CA., learned of Norris Cancer Hospital and a Dr. who perfected the "Radical Cystectomy" procedure.
I am currently recovering in Michigan.
My Cancer kept me "trapped" in my apartment for a lot of time, before my surgery. I began writing a column for a 10-12 page circular called "The Lighthouse" published for the Knights of Columbus (Charter 11368) of St. Hubert's Parish in Harrison Twp. of which I am a member. In it I tell of my experiences with the disease.
I was a Printer for a major newspaper in Detroit at one time, and take a some pride in what that craft taught me. I wished for years I could do write and Cancer made that possible.
I believe there is a purpose to everything that happens to us in life, good or seemingly bad. I'm sure you are beginning to see this at times.
The key however, is attitude, and never, never giving up. Finding out everything you can about the disease, what it feeds on, what it hates, and about eating habits and foods and supplements that slow it down and help defeat it, is a must! Doctors and the medical profession are well trained in surgery and pharmacy. However, I believe they don't know what causes Cancer, nor what can help prevent it or slow it down once it rears it's ugly self! They have made great strides, but utlimately you have to be pro-active and do everything you can to beat it!
I hope you keep up the fight, and keep praying as I will for you. God Bless!

Sent by Vic VandenBulcke | 2:04 PM | 4-29-2008

My son's friend Matt's cancer taugh me how lucky I am to have a healthy son. How great it had been to see him drive a car, go to his prom, graduate from high school, go to college, work.....
It also made me realize how sad it was that his parents never got to see him do any of those things.

Sent by Sue in Rochester, NY | 2:07 PM | 4-29-2008

Your cancer reminds me how to live during this amazing journey called life.

Sent by Kathy | 2:10 PM | 4-29-2008

Cancer stripped me of my hair, breasts, uterus, ovaries, eyebrows, eyelashes, 60 pounds of excess weight, career, and marriage. But I looked in the mirror one morning and saw big green eyes, a beautiful smile and a spirit that filled the entire room and said "There you are. I wondered where you were all these years. Welcome home."


Sent by L.K. Fuehrer | 2:11 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me a more compassionate human being.

Sent by Mel Sebastiani | 2:12 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer both shrunk and expanded my world: it limits my choices in life, but allowed me to understand that I control how I take each breath.

Sent by Venita | 2:16 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me you really don't know how you will feel about a thing until it happens to you. I am stronger than I thought I was. I am loved beyond my wildest imagination. I know the meaning of the word "precious". Life, grandchildren,husbands love,care of friends, waking up each day with breath in my (diseased) lungs. Regardless of what happens to me, life goes on. I have learned that no matter what I am going through, someone else has it worse. I am truley more blessed than I deserve to be.

Sent by Theresa Lovin | 2:19 PM | 4-29-2008

My mom's cancer taught me to do it now or it may never happen. It taught me that I would rather try and fail, then never try at all. She showed me that we all have mounds of "Someday I'll..." statements that never see reality. Make them real. This is my life. I don't want to regret. Not ever. She is filled with broken dreams and now may never have the chance to try. I will follow mine for her safe and for my own.

Sent by Rachel | 2:19 PM | 4-29-2008

Cancer has been a beast in my life. The ultimate robber baron, a ruling force in my life, in my life choices, in love, in loss, in redemption, in my future............................
I have never been given a diagnosis of cancer. Yet cancer charged into my life like a bull from early childhood without me even knowing it. As a young child, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Not just cancer, but malignant melanoma....a serious cancer today, but a virtual death sentence in the early 1960's. The family folklore goes that soon after his father's death from lung cancer (yes, he was a smoker); my father threw out his pipes and cigars and cigarettes and quit smoking cold turkey. Soon afterward, he was diagnosed. Like many daughters of Eastern European parentage in the mid 20th century, the word 'cancer' was only spoken of in whispers and never to a child.
So I grew up with this unnamed monster in my house. My father was periodically hospitalized, vacations cut short by medical test results, and hushed tears and whispers of grown ups as my then 30 something (medically unsophisticated) parents had to make agonizing decisions-and then choose to tell or not to tell their child.
As I grew and went to college, my parents were emotional...not only because I was their first child to go away to complete a four year degree, but now that I was out of the house, my father would go to the National Cancer Institute for experimental chemotherapy. It has been a miracle that he has already lived a functional life for approximately 15 years with his cancer.
By Christmas break the revenges of experimental chemotherapy took hold and I finally was told he had cancer ....he died by summer and like so many families, the beast of cancer fragmented our family beyond repair.
I became a virtual orphan and after rattling around for a bit finished college and graduate school becoming a therapist and occasionally working with cancer patients and their families. I married and began to live the happily ever after that I had longed for all my life.
When my 33 year old husband David told me he was 'going to get his summer cold' I did think too much of it; but 6 weeks later an MRI showed a mass in his stomach the size of a watermelon. A virulent cancer had attacked his colon and liver. He was dead in a year.

Angry at God for letting lightening strike twice, I went back to school, submerged all the hurt and grief and received an advanced degree in epidemiology 2 years later. Putting that together with my personal and professional history, I swore to make a difference to fight the monster that thus far made my life a misery each time I reached for happiness. During that time God and I came to some sort of uneasy piece. I still shake my fist at Her on occaision-but I am confident that She can take it.
Now I am an epidemiologist specializing in cancer. I take calls for research data, write papers, and give lectures to students; but the most rewarding work I do is handle the public calls. People who are scared, people who need to be educated, people who want to be reassured-by someone who has been there to....
Cancer taught me to survive against the odds even when I wanted to die. To speak the truth in love, to live with courage and take risks, to live confidently, to love fiercely like there is no tomorrow- and for those of us left to survive, we must live the legacy of the lost loves, and move on.

Sent by Carolyn | 2:22 PM | 4-29-2008

There are only two choices with Cancer, give up or keep moving forward. MY CANCER taught me that I have the strength and the will to only have one direction, and that is forward.

Sent by Amy Jenkins | 2:23 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is gone ... but never forgotten.

My cancer tightened family bonds and gave friends and acquaintances the courage to share their kind thoughts of me with me.

My cancer opened my eyes to my inner strength.

My cancer gave me the gift of appreciation -- appreciation of life, of others who are fighting the battle, of a beautiful sunny day.

Thanks for asking Leroy.

Sent by Rhonda Howard | 2:24 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has brought me:
- my highest highs and lowest lows
- serenity
- love in greater depth and breadth
- a new motorcycle to feel the wind and open my eyes
- more awareness of the unknown and mystery
- more appreciation of tears and laughter
- more blessings than I can count!
Thanks for asking, Leroy!

Sent by Dan | 2:30 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me patience. I used to be one of those people that became agitated at a restaurant while waiting for a table. Now I wait for doctors and nurses, and have learned that I cannot rush them and I cannot get mad! I find I expect to wait one to two hours to see my surgeon or oncologist. I read and bring snacks and talk to other patients and the time goes by. I don't eat out much anymore, but when I do I find I have learned to wait for that table.

Sent by Victoria Cox | 2:31 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me less tolerant of what I consider trivial things, illnesses, complaints, crappy food etc. But I have more compassion for people with cancer.

Sent by Janell | 2:32 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer allows me to relate to Tex, Kathy, Shannon, and Jane. I agree with Liz. I wish my life with CA was more like Susan's. I try to live better and learn from this experience, but I'm not sure I'm succeeding. It helps me to read your blog.

Sent by Lynn | 2:39 PM | 4-29-2008

My mom's cancer made me realize she may not be at my wedding and may never meet her grandchildren.

My cancer made me realize I may never get to have those grandchildren.

Sent by Kara | 2:47 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me to not be afraid, to plan a life and say "to hell with it!". My cancer introduced me and all the others to you and that has been a tremendous blessing. Thank you and may we continue to hear from you for a very long time.

Sent by Pat Doyle | 2:47 PM | 4-29-2008

Wow, excellent question / comments! Carol Noterman, I love your poem and plan to post a copy of it nearby.

- Margo in Michigan

Sent by Margo Gerber | 2:53 PM | 4-29-2008

Your cancer, Leroy, has taught me about strength, fortitude and the importance of support.

Sent by Emily | 2:56 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is the thief of all the opportunities life has to offer, yet also the perspective by which I appreciate everything more.

Sent by Raul Chavez | 2:59 PM | 4-29-2008

My Cancer: I wish I could find some thing good cancer has given to me, but I can't. I HATE seeing the despair in my families eyes. I Hate depending on others. I want my old life back. Every day is an effort. Leroy I am thankful for your blog and all of the comments. diana k.c.

Sent by Diana Maloy | 3:00 PM | 4-29-2008

Like a few others, I'll start a bit differently, with . . . My husband's multiple and disabling illnesses (which will take his life sooner than later)have taken away the essence of the man I married. His diseases have brought me pain, loss and loneliness. He has chosen a very different path than Leroy and many of you - he's not growing or learning from this experience. Not everyone learns from cancer or other life-threatening, life-sucking conditions. We bring to cancer, and these other illnesses, who we are. Some choose to be changed, enhanced by what they experience. Choose to open up, embrace life, grow, appreciate the fragility and preciousness of what we have now, never knowing when any of us will face death, slowly or in an instant. Like other life tragedies (abuse, molest), it is up to us to find a way to not be defeated by our experiences but to find that deep place within us where we connect with something that is beyond who we are as an individual, and reach out and find the connectedness of all life.

Sent by Kathleen | 3:08 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer helped me to see others with greater empathy. I spent the month between the diagnosis of kidney cancer and surgery living with the real possibility that I might not survive it. I moved through the ordinary world without feeling part of it, yet no stranger could have guessed there was anything different about me. If such a staggering thing was invisible, I realized, what hidden burdens might others be carrying?

Sent by Martha | 3:20 PM | 4-29-2008

I wish I could say something positive and profound. My husband's cancer has given me heartache and sadness, fear and loneliness. I am so scared of losing him.

Sent by Tina from Alton IL | 3:24 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancers (3) make me more aware of my body, my thoughts and my feelings. I am more sensitive to those around me and more likely to talk with a stranger who looks lost or in need. I try to grow in strength each day - not just physical strength, but mental and emotional strength as well. I seek understanding rather than victory in situations that involve conflict. Cancer lives in me, but I LIVE with cancer -- emphasis on the living.
You are in a difficult place right now but don't get discouraged. There is value to each day because you are alive to experience it and you are loved by many people. Live life as it is -- in the moment. That's all we really have. We just think we have more control than we actually do.

Sent by Debra Thaler-DeMers | 3:27 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me to be more patient with myself and others, especially my wonderful family.

Sent by Steve Schneider | 3:27 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me not to mind IVs,even with rolling veins,that if you find the right cancer center, you just feel surrounded by competence and caring. I learned that it's OK to be "put out" if I really don't want experience a bone marrow test. My cancer has helped me be there for my best friend even though I couldn't keep her from dying from the damn thing. God,I miss her so much. My cancer makes me feel like we're all swirling around this unfathomable universe together and that it doesn't matter what state we're in.
Bless you, Leroy!

Sent by Nancy Abbott | 3:38 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me a better person. Stronger. Wiser. More compassionate. Tougher. More appreciative. But this was only because I was lucky and, for the time being anyway, I beat it.

One thing I believe to be universal though - cancer sucks. My cancer still makes me cry for everyone who has to go through the pain both emotional and physical. Family, friends, relatives... Cancer is unfair. If I had 1,000 word limit I would run out of words.

You guys out there are truly inspirational every single day. Name one time you went on this blog and were not inspired or brought to tears by what you have read? Every single day.

God be with all of us and give us all strength and wisdom.

Sent by Dave U. | 3:38 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer forced me to make a decision whether to live in fear for the rest of my life or embrace the life I have. I chose to embrace life, spar with the demon and live as best as I can. So far, so good. Susan

Sent by Susan Richter | 3:40 PM | 4-29-2008

Leroy, What a fantastic question! I read your blog every morning and because of that and because we both have cancer, I consider you to be a very good friend.

Frequently I have thought about how my cancer has changed my life.

For me, "my cancer" has:
- caused me to slow down in every aspect of my life. This has been a very good thing, as I am now able to appreciate much more of life's offerings, than I ever did before.
- allowed me to think frequently about how much I truly love my wife, my son, my daughter, and the rest of my extended family.
- forced me to face my mortality. This has been very hard, as I didn't think I would have be doing this at the age of 52.
- made me realize how our society and others around the world have misplaced priorities.

I could go on and on with so many things, but I think I'll stop here. If I had to pick just one thing though, I truly appreciate that my cancer has slowed me down in such a way that I feel I can appreciate so many things now that perhaps I didn't before.

Leroy, I know we will never meet, but I want you to know how much your blog means to me, and I'm sure countless others.

Keep up the great work with your recovery, my friend!

Jeff Beach from Latham, NY

Sent by Jeff Beach | 3:56 PM | 4-29-2008

my cancer is realizing how strong my dad was during his fight with the beast. He had NO FEAR (at least did not show it). He told me 'he will be beginning a new life'...My cancer revealed to me "How to be strong and believe in yourself".

Sent by Rudy from Montrea | 4:09 PM | 4-29-2008

My partner's cancer is tearing me apart and reaffirming the wonderful 27 years we have been together as a gay couple. He is my rock and my ocean but I hate this beast with a passion unknown to me before now. He is changing before my eyes and yet is more profoundly the same gift I have always loved.

Sent by Paul | 4:14 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is unwelcome. I have not accepted it. I am angry. I am scared. I am 46, a wife, mother of two, no longer working - and not ready to thank this disease for anything. I struggle to revel in the moment. I regret my cancer-free self of six months ago. I am making small steps towards serenity but fall short. I want to live. I want to live exquisitely. I want to live for the loves of my life, my husband and children. I want to rise to the occasion yet go with the flow. I want hope. I am here still, not yet calm, still catching my breath. Soon.

Sent by Dominique | 4:17 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer ... made me appreciative.
My cancer made me treasure every normal day, value every important relationship, treasure every opportunity. My cancer, at 22, made me realize whether I die tomorrow or in 70 years, I didn't want to have wasted a single moment.
My cancer made me thankful for the opportunity to live a cherished life.

Sent by Kelly Elisabeth Nieman Anderson | 4:19 PM | 4-29-2008

My son Derek's cancer had one beneficial aspect: when it was all over (and he survived), I was no longer in the spotlight at the center of my life. Derek, and later, his younger brother Brent, are now at the center of both my life and Linda's life. Cancer forced me to grow up.

Sent by Ross Barker | 4:30 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is kicking my @## today, but I'll show it who's boss tomorrow!

Sent by Patte | 4:31 PM | 4-29-2008

Leroy, I'd like to start that sentence this way:

My dad's, mom's, sister's and best friend's cancer changed my life because they really needed me to take care of them; be their advocate in order to negotiate the mine field that is a horribly deficient medical world. They needed my love 24/7, to alleviate their fears, bathe them, sleep with them, read to them, minister to them in many ways. I could help them in a dignified way when it seemed as if there was no dignity left as their bodies failed them, their faith failed them, and life itself seemed to be failing them. Through it all I actually have some of the most meaningful and beautiful memories of my life. I used to be an ambitious person, consumed with myself and my accomplishments. I now tell others caring for those I loved who died of cancer along with those who survived has been the greatest accomplishment of my life. Everything else I've done in my life pales in comparison. Especially the memories of those that died: these memories are etched into my heart. The relationship goes on after they die enriched and made deeper because I took care of them until the end and refused to leave it up to someone else. Intimate moments we both agreed we wouldn't trade for anything. Those that survived we now share the knowledge of how precious and fragile the gift of life really really is. In the end those that I have loved that had cancer (and others with life taking illnesses)whether they lived or died transformed my life. I have found myself by loosing myself in my care for them. I hope I have been given the courage and equanimity to draw on when I am needed again or when my time comes so that I can be a power of example for others like they were for me. So that I can have the humility to let those who love me have a chance to care for me, to give back to me, to give to me strength in my time of need, to bring me back to health or to a good death.

The "Beast" can be turned into an angel no matter what anyone says.

-Graham from Sag Harbor.

Sent by Graham G. Hawks | 4:35 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has primarily made me a more patient person. My cancer has also made me immensely more aware of what crosses others are bearing. (We all have one.) Lastly, my cancer has introduced me to psychological and physical pain tolerances I never knew I had.

Sent by Beth Lehman-Brooks | 4:52 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer showed me that, ultimately, we have no control over much of what happens to us in life. However, we do have control over how we react to it. Looking for an answer to the "why me?" is futile, but there are answers to the "what now". Once we take responsibility for our reactions we are free to live again.

Isn't this the real message of your blog each and every day, Leroy?

Sent by Susie | 4:53 PM | 4-29-2008

Too sappy and buried down 200 posts, but it's an easy question.

My cancer taught me that love is deeper and more important than I ever imagined.


Sent by Jeff | 4:58 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has shown me how strong I am. I'm finally learning the lesson that when I need a nap, I take one without guilt. That's another thing - no guilt! I eat what I crave. I say I love you more often. I learned I have more friends than I could ever have imagined. I have new friends from unlikely places (Dr.'s office waiting rooms, chemo suites...) I have learned that my Oncologist and I have the same sick sense of humor and we enjoy bantering around (The good news is you will live, the bad news is the treatment will kill I said to him as he laughs...) I enjoy my chemo visits where I can incite an entire riot by these simple words "So, anyone want to talk about who they are voting for?" My first name is now Troublemaker. I know how much my kids and husband love me - although I haven't been able to push the grandkids thing even using the C-card. I refuse to face this as a victim - I'm like Leo in that I will try anything - I feel that's my part for whoever comes behind me. I want the women behind me to have it easier, better, curable.
I embrace my cancer. I visualize mine as the monster in the movie that refuses to die - when you know he has fallen off 10 story buildings, been shot, stabbed, burned and electrocuted. How does it do that? How is this cancer surviving the onslaught of what we have thrown at it?

My life is good. I treasure everyday.

Sent by Anita Apodaca | 5:00 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer teaches me to lean on the Lord, that everyday is precious, that I am not in control (ha), that my friends and family bless and support me beyond words.

Sent by Linda Hughes | 5:01 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer and the cancers of my brothers, father and friends have encouraged me to: make love more often, drink wine with dinner, stand taller, breath deeper, plant more sunflowers, listen to more music and less bullshit, promote a peaceful existence and...

Sent by JRon | 5:05 PM | 4-29-2008 not my life.

Sent by Pat DiPrimo | 5:10 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has not yet arrived...and I don't know if it ever will. But I have seen it peeking around the corner at times, in the form of my father's two bouts with it, or as it displays itself in the life of friends. And if my cancer does indeed show up one day, naming me as the next one to house it, I can only hope to be as gracious and brave as those whom I love have been.

Sent by Beth | 5:13 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has not called just yet. But I expect it to some day. It runs deeply in my family, taking my father, two grandparents and has eaten away at my family tree like rot in the roots.

My father's cancer taught me what it feels to truly lose someone. It has taught me, years later, how precious true love really is. His cancer lives with me and my family every day in the way we live our lives, in the bond we share.

My father's cancer, and the way he dealt with it, was his final lesson to me. I wish it was a lesson I never had to learn. I hope it's one I never have to impart.

Sent by Allen | 5:15 PM | 4-29-2008

Leroy, may I enter where I am not entitled? My cousin was buried today due to pancreatic cancer. Cancer shows us how quickly it can change the life of the person with it and those who love her or him. And it is ruthless.

G-d bless you and take care of you.

Sent by Janice Goldberg White | 5:15 PM | 4-29-2008

Hi Leroy,
I don't have cancer so will answer the sentence like this--Your cancer has taught and continues to teach me to slow down, take life less seriously, be thankful every day for friends and loved ones, and that there's a big world out there with people suffering similar ugly diseases. I am grateful to you and every person who contributes to this blog.

Sent by Paulette | 5:31 PM | 4-29-2008

Leroy: My dear friends' cancers have taught me about true courage and about resilience none of us ever thought we had.

Your cancer has taght me to celebrate with new appreciation the indomitability of the human spirit.

My best friend's leukemia taught me what she herself learned and passed on to me: that accepting others' expressions of love is a gift we give back to the givers. Love and God bless you, CaroleD

Sent by CaroleD | 5:32 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me gratitude for having cancer, in that I could live long enough to say I love you to all I know and to be able to look into their eyes while still living, to do so. There are so many other ways to die so instanteously that would have left them bewildered and lost at my demise - now I can have everything ready for them to lessen their burdens. And even though I am still in remission from lung cancer I still feel the same way.

Sent by Maureen Kennedy | 5:33 PM | 4-29-2008

The cancer was not my cancer at all. It was an invader, and my enemy. I fought it body, mind and soul. My sister a nurse said "Never call it my cancer. Never own it, never invite it." She was right.

As a result of the disease, I learned to love better, be more honest, and focus on what is in front of me. I am still anxious, nitpicky, and a bit of a know it all. Cancer did not perfect me, but it definitely improved me.

I work out in a gym in a sport bra and no prosthesis. I think all should see the truth that many will face in the next few years. The scar is mine, the fight was mine. But the cancer was never mine.

The thing I feel the most about the experience is gratitude. The people who joined me or suppported me in my fight were incredible; cliche as that sounds it is the only word that appies.

If there is one lesson I would like to share, it is this "There is no such thing as "just" a sparrow."

Sent by Peggy (another one) | 5:44 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is in the not too distant past, but it rears its ugly head daily in my mind and in my life and in the lives of the people around me. I just hope and pray it doesn't appear in person again.

Sent by Chris | 5:45 PM | 4-29-2008 not MY cancer. I never wanted it and have endured much to get rid of it.

But it did teach me that I have THIS day and for that I am truly grateful.

Sent by pam | 5:47 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer scared me a lot, however, I believe that it has taught me a lot. I realise that the little inconveniences in life are not important. The important things in life are family and friends without them my cancer would've been lonely and I would've been even more scared without them. I enjoy every day now as I realise I am not invincible, I continue to worry that the cancer will come back, it has changed me physically, mentally emotionally but whilst cancer free I will live life to the fullest.

Sent by gill | 5:53 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me to live in the present. I don't need to worry about what happened yesterday or what tomorrow may bring. Instead I need to live in the moment, enjoying every minute with my family and friends. It has made me realize how lucky I am to have so many who care about me and love me. LIVE * LOVE * LAUGH

Sent by Mary McLellen | 5:55 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer sucked (I say sucked rather than sucks because hopefully I'm in remission). My cancer taught me how precious every day is and definitely what's important in life. My cancer humbled me with the outpouring of love I received and opened a whole new world of wonderful people for me to meet. My cancer scares the s%$# out of me that it could return at any time and it takes up way too much of my time worrying about it. My cancer is the enemy but it is not me.

Sent by Laurie | 6:03 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me a better doctor.

Sent by k | 6:05 PM | 4-29-2008


I have been reading this since day 1..never replying, just praying for you.

This I will respond to...

My husband's cancer...shocked me, scared me, sent me in to a place that I never wanted to be...a part of a group that I never wanted to be a part of...It destroyed my young children's safety...made them scared, helpless...
I thought things that I never thought I would think of...those things only happened in the movies, or tv, not to me.We did everything right, we love each other,we have 4 small children,I pray every day,..we are just beginning...why is this here???

It makes me nauseous to think of it...we're still only a year and a half out...3 and a half to go before we can take a breath.

Cancer has taken away, but I know it has given ,too...I'm just not ready to give it credit yet...

Sent by Jane | 6:23 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer transformed me in many ways but it gave me the freedom to fly on wings I never knew I had.
Thoughts and prayers Leroy
Lyn [Australia]

Sent by Lyn Smith | 6:42 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has truly changed my life. I continue to be tested by God and it truly made me realize how precious life is and how I am greatful to have the support and that I AM ALIVE. People today have so many things they complain about. I say let a doctor tell you you have cancer and you HAVE TO deal with it, then you are greatful for the little things and somehow those things complained about don't really matter. If you've had cancer or and have survived, be greatful. Just remember, my Father once told me "there is always someone worse off then you". Think about it.

Sent by Debbie | 6:59 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has beat me up physically, but has changed my mental outlook for the better. I absolutely do not worry about the small things anymore. I ENJOY everyday and then thank God for allowing me to enjoy it.

Sent by Roxi | 7:01 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer is a phrase that I don't accept. I have disowned it and don't claim it as mine. It is not MY CANCER. It's in my body but it's the enemy. It's as foreign as the "rocks on the moon".

Sent by Lisa Majors | 7:01 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me realize how very precious life is and forced me to realize that I am not in control. I learned how very much I am loved and am focusing on not wasting my "now" by worrying about tomorrow or longing for yesterday.

Sent by Artie | 7:08 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer backed me into a corner, and to escape on my terms I had to realize that my physical form is impermanent, and accept that reality. Accepting that reality took months, but once I truly accepted the physical condition, I began to free myself from it's grip. I also learned that my physical form is not my true self. My true self is eternal. And peaceful. And although I don't really know how that happens, or how to define it, I know it exists. And cancer can't touch it.

Sent by Michael Reese | 7:19 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer gave me determination and courage that I never knew I had in order to make goals that have kept me alive for 10 years.

Sent by Fran | 7:24 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me how to really see people for who and what they are, really really see them. my cancer is something I have to deal with, it is not who I am

Sent by Estelle | 7:32 PM | 4-29-2008

My [friend's] cancer tried to own her, but failed. My friend's cancer killed her, but she never gave up the fight so she won. Sadly, cancer had to move to someone less strong.

Sent by Mary | 7:35 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me to 'let it go'....

Sent by kate | 7:44 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made my boys cry. I hate it. The f.....g thing follows you like footsteps in a dark alley. Hurrying might get you to a streetlight, but you know there are dark places to travel. Treatments give you ammunition to travel with but not protection not at all.
I knew I was being followed before the doctors.
After treatments still haunted. "It" is always there.
Turn around alley look in its eyes get the chill and SCREAM if you want me come on. Go full speed into it and it will cower like the coward cancer is.
Getting yourself back is going to the dark side of the moon, it cant happen until you go there, everyone knows it.
God bless all in your journey back.

Sent by vince | 7:47 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer was Neil's cancer and when the cancer finally took his life, it ripped mine apart. It made me realize how lucky I was to have him in my life, how much I loved that man and just how proud I am of him! He fought a courage battle against that beast! It may have taken him from me, but it will never take away the memories we shared...

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 7:54 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has had the decency to stay at bay for over a year while I have had a ball with my wife, kids, and friends.

Sent by Todd Brooks | 7:56 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has taught me to treasure, not mourn, transience. Because the beauty of this spring will fade, or because it might be my last, does not make it less glorious. In fact, the fragility of life leads me, in my better moments, to savor it more heartily.

Sent by sajenkins | 7:57 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer...
has yet to show up (with the exception of a basal cell carcinoma), and I hope that by the time it does, America's doctors will have learned a heck of a lot from your cancer...
at least to pad the tables properly.

Sent by Ellen Wijesinghe | 8:11 PM | 4-29-2008

I think cancer is a wake up call, to make changes in your life. I would love to send you some information on alternative solutions you can try to strengthen your body so it can heal itself. Email me your address I would love to send some information.

Sent by Sandy Patterson | 8:26 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has shown me how many wonderful loving friends and family I have.

Sent by mary fitzpatrick | 8:32 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me stronger, deeper and softer (but I still hate it)

Sent by betesy in albany ny | 8:40 PM | 4-29-2008

cancer is the answer to all the questions I had about what to do next..cancer, at least my kind (the incurable, gonna die from it kind) has let me off some hooks, like ever having to interview for a job again, or move into another place, or date, or have my eyelids lifted....or worry about my retirement....i get to play the "cancer card" (that's what my boyfriend calls it) when I'm tired or just don't feel like doing something...all of the years of neurosis, worrying about zillions of things that never happened...and now I have the big C...the horse has left the barn...please pass me another piece of chocolate cake....

Sent by wave | 8:42 PM | 4-29-2008

My sister's Hodgkins, stage 4 was defeated fifteen years ago. My mom defeated lymphoma at age 78 and lung cancer at age 83. She now enjoys her remaining years. All varieties of the scourge have their weaknesses.

You inspire me. Fight on Larry !

Sent by Barry Rubenstein | 8:55 PM | 4-29-2008


Sent by dee | 9:02 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me a better mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.

Sent by Mo Spikes | 9:02 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer made me realize what a marvel my 56-year-old, overweight (my husband calls it "plush"), imperfect, scarred, achy, malfunctioning body is. I thank God for my life.

Sent by Ronda Tentarelli | 9:03 PM | 4-29-2008

Leroy, My Cancer, and I guess this will sound stupid, has made me face my mortality!! I know no one gets out of life alive, and all that, but when I heard the diagnosis it brought it all home in one rush. Hard to deal with. Stan

Sent by Stan Wozniak | 9:06 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has made me feel less fearful, if that makes sense. I still feel the initial panic when told I need a scan or a test, but I am better able to cope since my dx with cancer.

Sent by karen weixel | 9:15 PM | 4-29-2008

My husband's cancer...made me stonger than I thought I could be. For him, I was tough. His death taught me that life does go on, even when you want to crawl into that casket and curl up beside him. His sons and grand-daughters show me each day how much he is still here with us. Just look at them and there he is.
Cancer is a thief.

Sent by Jane from Arkansas | 9:20 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer taught me that "my cancer" was not mine alone. It was my husband's cancer too; my family's, my friends'. Everybody has been effected and changed by it.

Sent by Lori Maliszewski | 9:43 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer, renal cell carcinoma, July 2006. Now I have one kidney. First of all I was in shock, I had absolutely no symptoms. I just had a feeling that I had cancer. I thought maybe it was because my husband passed away from prostate ca in 2003. Thank God that my Dr. listened to my fears and ordered a CT scan. I learned to listen to that small voice inside and from now on I will be my own advocate when I need to. It also taught me to not procrastinate, life is short. I have a greater desire to live it and enjoy it. The 3rd thing it taught me is that I'm a "tuff ole bird"!! Peace to you and Lori, Leroy.

Sent by Kathie Scott | 9:54 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer gave me a second chance to be a better wife, a better mother and the best grandmother ever! I am grateful for all my second chances!

Sent by M. | 9:59 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer stopped me in my tracks.I could go on with the story about the diagnosis and that nightmare, but what I needed to do was move forward with surgery, finish the "job" of chemo, and go on living. I had a daughter graduatng from High school and was determined to be stong enough for the graduation. I have turned that rotten time in my life into my past, however, it truly never leaves me. It has made me more sensitive and sometimes very angry. I am now able to be part of Surviors Teaching STudents. We tell our stories (of Ovarian Cancer) to 3rd Year Residents at UCONN Med School, who are finishing their Gyn rotation. I never thought I would be speaking publically, let alone, about Ovarian cancer. So, from a horrific disease comes, new friends, new opportunities, and moving forward.
Thank you for this wonderful blog and your insightful views. Jan C. from CT.

Sent by Jan Cassella | 10:03 PM | 4-29-2008

My Mom's cancer showed me what true Courage and Bravery was. Even when the cancer had virtually made it so hard for her to get around physically she said that it didn't take the most important part of her away -she was still able to be a Mom. It's been almost 10 years since she died. I can only hope to be half as strong as she was someday if faced with the "Beast" myself.

Sent by S A | 10:05 PM | 4-29-2008

my fight against the cancer in my bone marrow is the greatest fight and adventure of my life. I rejoice in the very experience of living, hour by hour. I am amazed and humbled by the love and caring of my friends and family. I am thankful beyond words for the science and researchers and the medical technology that is prolonging my life.

Sent by Leroy Forney | 10:19 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer has given me life.

Sent by Teri Thomas | 10:28 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer experiences with my family have allowed me and my siblings to say our goodbyes, laugh, cry and share some time together with our mother, a hospice nurse who was diagnosed and died of lung cancer....provided us all with the experience and wisdom to know what was ahead of us when two years later our father was diagnosed with another form of lung cancer and we were given the opportunity to say our goodbyes, laugh, cry and all ask for forgiveness from one another...and to be there to support my sister, the special one, the favorite, the one we all loved so much, that had already experienced a severe burn as an infant with numerous surgeries and life-long scars, as she endured a breast cancer diagnosis and chemo and radiation treatments and now lives and loves and shares all of her specialness with so many as a teacher, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend.

Sent by jmw21 | 10:35 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer reminders me, persistently and effectively, that all I have is now. This one moment in which I type this post is all I have. The past is just memories -- some of us have more of them or remember them better but they are past. And who knows what the future will be? Yes, I have metastatic breast cancer but knowing that fact still doesn't tell me anything about my future. I could live 20 years or I could die in a car crash tomorrow. All I have is now. So I'm going to leave it at that and go enjoy some "now."

Sent by Margaret Metz | 11:22 PM | 4-29-2008

My cancer:
- broke my mother's heart, and terrorized her with the possibility of losing a child
- made it possible to truly empathize and connect even more deeply with my best friend, who received a cancer diagnosis 4 months before I did
- taught me to let go of anything that isn't moving our lives forward in a positive direction
- showed me the true measure of my family, friends, and colleagues who continue to be so loving and supportive
- refocused me to reach for that brass ring everyday, and not to wait for tomorrow.

Sent by Sheara | 12:06 AM | 4-30-2008

Not my cancer. It's my best two best friend's cancer. It's my old classmates cancer. Maybe my cancer I better figure it out now. Through the lessons and losses of others. From you Leroy. I have learned. Thank You.

Sent by Ken Sanchez SMHS Class of '73 | 12:15 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer was quiet and painless. The treatments were hell. The experience taught me how very much I am loved by my parents, my husband, family and friends. I taught me to accept help; of course I wished I didn't need it. It made me humble. It took away my vanity and while it's nice to have it back... I like that I can think to myself, hey, be thankful you have hair now! It made me count the blessings in my life. It forced me to go through treatments that scared the hell out of me. I love my babies too much to leave them now. It makes me want to do something to help others dealing w/cancer now and for those that will have it in the future. I am willing to be involved in studies for future benefits. I want to be my best each day and remember how lucky I am to hop out of bed and go about my business. It makes me happy to hear my children laugh and to know that I'm still here and will be for them. Cancer sucks. We make the most of a bad situation by focusing on all of the good around us and in us. Crises situations can really bring out the best in people and make it easier to show love.

Sent by Jennifer in CA | 12:36 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer is a huge part of who I am today, but it does not define me. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mom, and friend first. When I'm done with those things, then the cancer can get in. But it has to wait in line. While fighting it is a priority, the cancer itself isn't a priority. It's a petty nuisance that will eventually take my life. Until then, it is my enemy. And I hope that my family and friends will remember my kindness, love, and generosity before they consider the ferociousness with which I have fought my cancer. Remember me, not my disease.

Sent by Nancy Nelson | 12:56 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer experience links me to ancestors whose mutated genes I share; to the earth whose disease I share.

I am humbled by the interconnectedness, freed to live ??in the moment??, and curious about what lies beyond this life.

Sent by Joan S. | 1:17 AM | 4-30-2008

Leroy, this is a good lesson you've given us.
My cancer has made me very aware of time. It's been 25 months and 24 days since I was diagnosed with colon cancer. It has been 18 months and 2 days since my last chemo. It's been 15 months and 4 days since my third surgery. In four trips I spent 55 days in the hospital that first year and got to know that third floor and the bad food and the TV that couldn't get PBS. I also got to know a lot of nurses who I want to hug every time I see them. It's been 22 days since my last blood test and 11 days since my last appointment with my oncologist. Now I'm trying to plan my life to fit in the next three month increment between the tests that might detect those cancer cells that are in here someplace. Dang, my cancer has me just living in three month increments.

I think your lesson is that I should be doing more than this. How did I do?

Give me a few more days and I'll see if I can put together a better response.

Sent by Walt from LA | 3:11 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer is not me.
My cancer has tried to change me.
My cancer has tried to take me.
But it only made me more and more what I am before my cancer.
It made me discover parts of me that cancer cannot touch.
Indestructable hope. An ability to laugh. A mind of my own.
Friends recognize me under a wig, behind a mask, thinned down,and post op hunched over. It takes a second to register but it does. The fact that I haven't changed, not really. One breast less, maybe, but I'm still me.

Sent by jean | 4:13 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer...I do not own. I surely do not want to own it right now. It is not My-ne. These cancer cells do not have my orginal DNA in them. The DNA that is unique and my true persona. I think Cancer is a messenger. I have heard the expression--Heed the message-kill the messenger. My feelings are that the message has been to really look at who I am-and to really Be true to myself. You have to KNOW yourself before you can be true...and then I think one can connect with the rest of the world and all that is good. I want to heed the message and move on. At this point I'm not sure if whether if we live or die with cancer is the point--after all I don't think we intentionally sniffed Benzene in Gasoline cars all these years-it just is part of our world and probably is a big mistake. I hope I die with peace. My oncologist likes to remind me that Yogis, Buddist monks,etc get cancer. I then I reply. Yes, and I think they die happy--maybe happier than most.

So...more than any other time in my life- I think who I am -is really defined to myself. I've stood up and spoke up for myself more than I ever have. I feel I'm at the most comfortable in my spirituality. I've had to learn the lesson of "letting go"--The ultimate Patience with physical pain, discomfort, and disability. I guess these really are good lessons and virtues. And..I've gotten to look at what Really makes me angry-all the injustice.

I have a new saying and I don't know how it applies but I decided that "If we really Love something we can't help but Protect and Nurture it" so...maybe the focus with the environment and everything else should be/could be to really Love it. I don't know--maybe some would disagree. So then we have more questions--what is Love :>) What is it to love? Some say God is Love. So what is God? also ...:>)

Anyway...thanks for asking Leroy...I guess all us cancer patients have something to say..

Sent by Linda | 4:24 AM | 4-30-2008

My husband's cancer made him realize how much everyone around him loved him, cared for him and how precious life is. My husband's cancer made me a very lonely person.

Sent by Cindy | 5:25 AM | 4-30-2008

My husbands cancer brought me to this site. I am forever grateful for that. I have got some great advice here - shed some tears here - and learned a good deal of information. Thank you!!

Sent by Deb from Michigan | 6:10 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer made me realize time is not infinite to get about completing the last chapters of my life-story; the time I have left is precious, representing both an opportunity and an obligation to complete that story in a way that brings meaning to my life and properly honors the tremendous gift of each day alive.

Sent by Carl Armstrong | 6:42 AM | 4-30-2008

My mother's cancer taught me that you never can say "I love you" too often.

Sent by toenie | 6:52 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer has taught me to love better, be humble, run races, enjoy baldness, embrace the day, to cry when needed and join a club of remarkable people.

Sent by anne lumberger | 7:35 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer proved to me how much my husband and I love each other and how much each of us is willing to do for the other. It has brought our family closer together. We spend more time together than we have in years. My cancer has made me appreciate all the wonderful things I have gotten to do in my life -- travel to magical places such as Hawaii; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Sorrento, Italy; Venice, Rome, Paris, and many more places. Those wonderful memories help me fight through the long nights of this disease.

My cancer has given me the opportunity to meet wonderful people dedicated to fighting this horrible disease -- both the health care professionals and those that suffer from this disease.

Sent by Carol, Nashville TN | 7:55 AM | 4-30-2008

I'm a little late on this one, but my cancer doesn't define who I am, just what I am living with. Found strength and courage through my trust in God and that everything that happens has a reason.. How react to it forms how will will live. Sometimes God calms the storms, sometimes He calms the child.

Sent by Jo Ann Baswell-Margate,FL | 8:25 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer showed me who my friends were, who could do the hard things (like shave my head and sit with me in the chemo room), and who would rather run the other way. I let the later go.

Sent by Marcia | 8:26 AM | 4-30-2008

I don't have a cancer diagnosis, but all the patients I meet with daily, do. Their cancer teaches me that life is finite, that I'm never too busy to stop and talk if someone needs to, or to put my arms around them. Or ask someone to hug me if I need it!
It's taught me that if that other situations that don't have this finality, are "speed-bumps" and not the "road-blocks" I'd imagined.

Sent by Norma | 8:29 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer scared me. My cancer opened my eyes. My cancer made me braver, but because it also made me more honest, I have to admit... it still scares me. And I work everyday, like an athlete in training, to stop being scared and to start seeing me- only stronger. And healthy. So, my cancer taught me about hope, too.

Sent by Cathy Skubik | 8:36 AM | 4-30-2008

My life long best friend's and another soul mate's cancers made me cherish each day.

Sent by Pat Z. | 9:24 AM | 4-30-2008

Before my mom died from renal cell cancer she said that there was nothing to learn from having cancer, that the lesson was that there was no lesson. I have thought alot about that since she died and I think she meant that the learning and the lessons are our one of our life's purposes and ongoing. We don't get cancer because of any 'reason' nor do we get it to learn something. We get it cause we are alive. There is a lot of freedom in this for me.

Sent by Diane, Ellison Bay, WI | 9:27 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer has made me appreciate my mensch of a husband, by my side through sickness and in health.

Sent by Mary Ann O'Rourke | 9:45 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer has taught to me love almost every minute of my life. The good and the bad. Enjoy it and have fun! Cause one never knows when the picnic will be over!

Sent by Janis | 10:06 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer made me humble.

Sent by Randi Free | 10:44 AM | 4-30-2008

Leroy, it's interesting how much other people's cancer can change someone's life. I too would like to change that sentence.

My granddaddy's cancer taught me about optimism, love, and the man that I admired, and still look up to, himself. For the full two years that he suffered, I never heard a complaint, and though at first I was taken aback by his lack of emotion about the subject, I realized much later that he was protecting us because his family feared the beast and what it would take away from us more than he feared it.

Even three years later, I think of him every day, and he remains the hero that he always was to me.

Thank you for your blog, your optimism, and your own love. Your compassion has reminded me again and again of my granddaddy and everyone else who has faced cancer with courage. You give me courage, and I am not fighting anything.

Sent by Sadie Ann | 11:44 AM | 4-30-2008

My cancer does NOT define who I am. It has taught me to appreciate the time I do have.

Sent by sgiardina | 12:04 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer pisses me off, at the same time makes live for today, confuses me, makes me afraid to go forward, because I don't know what the future holds.

Sent by Eden Jones | 12:06 PM | 4-30-2008

My mother's cancer diagnosis made me aware of how we all are moving towards death and cancer hastens that journey. I am committed today to living each day as if it counted, because our lives upon this Earth are so finite.

Sent by Sharon Eicher | 12:20 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer made me realize that the only way I could have done better or more for my Grandmother, who went through a more rare, not very treatable cancer, was to have been a more than one person. I had always stressed over the fact that I couldn't seem to do more.

I learned that the world will go on without me someday, and that I am now comfortable with that, as long as I don't allow my time here to be wasted on things that really don't matter. The things that matter are all around us. I learned just how important all of my family are, and just how caring and close we are even at a distance. I learned that people who work in the hard parts of medicine, such as Oncology, are truly special people, who do so much to help others make their way through this journey. I also learned that I must put myself up higher on my priority list, instead of as an afterthought with whatever is left. I learned that I can get through just about anything, although there are some things I hope not to have to get through again. And that I can find a way to be positive under the most difficult of times. And lastly, I learned who my real friends are, and to have discovered that they weren't always the people I thought. The others pretty much disappeared on their own.

Sent by Lilly T. | 12:20 PM | 4-30-2008

My skin cancer taught me among other things that a kind word from a stranger can be very healing.My skin cancer was on my face and after they had removed it,I had to wait a week for further test results. During this time,I wore a large bandage on my right cheek. I was in a local Italian market one day,trying to conduct my life as normal,but thinking all the while that I may not be here much longer. An older woman came in the market and as our eyes met she smiled,walked over to me and gently putting her hand on my arm,she leaned in and said softly.." Be well". I thanked her. I remember crying in the car on my way home...beleiving that I may have just been touched by an angel. I will always remember the kindness that was shown me that day by a stranger with two simple words. I hope to be able to pass it on someday.

Sent by Suzanne German | 12:34 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer was the first day of the rest of my life.

Endometrial cancer, stage IIIc since 2/2007.

Sent by Marilyn Johnson | 12:37 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer taught me that most things in life are out of my control. My cancer taught me to let go of the things I can't control.

Sent by Gyla | 12:43 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer taught me there are no answers and I must enjoy every moment, something we all know but don't appreciate until it hits us over the head.

My thoughts are with you always.

Sent by Laura Ehrlich | 1:16 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer taught me what to be afraid of - how to let people help - and together how to kick its ass.

Leroy, I've been gone for awhile. My mom died of cancer six weeks ago. She knew she had lung cancer for the last two years but refused treatment. Mom knew the beast well battling skin cancer for over two decades but she feared chemo. That fear, however, did not stop her from sitting with me that beautiful October day in 2006 as we watched my remaining hair float away. She died twenty years to the day that my dad died of brain cencer. Fighters to the end.

Sent by Jessie | 1:43 PM | 4-30-2008

My niece-in-law's cancer taught me that cancer steals the innocence of young people.

Sent by Alice | 2:01 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer let me know how many love and care for me. Each time I have been diagnosed, now for the 4th time, I have received so much support from all types of people. Customers I had worked with years earlier, who heard through the grapevine; brand new customers I only met a few times, coworkers who I hardly knew, friends and relatives from the past. It always amazes me and touches me. I feel lucky I do not have to die to learn what I mean to so many people. Its a beautiful thing.

Sent by cv | 2:03 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer has given me wings.

Sent by David Larsen | 2:12 PM | 4-30-2008

My Cancer has given me the freedom of not having to be everything to everybody. Before my first bout with Breast Cancer I would make myself sick with trying to do what everyone expected, or what I thought they expected. 32 months later Cancer came back. This time in my stomach.I figured God was trying to tell me something.
I still do for others, but only if I feel up to it. Cancer taught me to let go of others who always brought turmoil to my life. Cancer taught me not to wait to enjoy life to find pleasue in little things, and spending quality time with those I love.
Barb Rilling Oregon City, Oregon

Sent by Barbara W. Rilling | 2:24 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer robbed me of choices, like having another child. That decision was taken out of my hands. My cancer made me regret foolish choices I made BC (before cancer) when I thought the possibilites were endless. Like having an abortion. My cancer fooled me into thinking I had gotten away with something, until 25 years later when nerve damage from radiation saps the strength from my legs and I worry if I'll end up in a wheelchair. My cancer still frightens me, because as a long-term survivor, sometimes I wonder whether I've already used up all my luck. The single good thing about my cancer is that it helped make me more empathetic to others going through the same thing. But I'd rather have gotten there on my own.

Sent by Laurie | 2:48 PM | 4-30-2008

My mother's cancer gave me a greater undestanding of what the meaning of true compassion really is about. Her caregiver, my father, showed a gentleness and kindness that I never before witnessed in their relationship and I carry that with me now always.
Be well Leroy!

Sent by Vivian in Delaware | 2:55 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer... freed me from the worry of wondering if I'd get cancer! It was (is) rampant in my family. I was lucky; I had a type that can be treated, and I was very aggressive about it, selecting surgery and chemo that the doctors suggested was "not strictly necessary," but which reduced the chance of having to deal with The Beast again someday. I don't worry about it anymore. If it comes back - I know I did all I could to prevent it, and I'll do it again if necessary. In the meantime? I'm going to relish my life and the love that my husband, family & friends have showered on me ... and try to give some of that back to everyone I meet.

Sent by Susan | 3:10 PM | 4-30-2008

My friends cancer killed him before he was 17. It has taught me how to remember a person and it has showed me how precious life can be.

Sent by Colin R. Ferriman | 3:42 PM | 4-30-2008

My son's cancer taught me how to live with fear.

Sent by Paula | 4:22 PM | 4-30-2008

I consider my cancer experience a turning point in my life. I was coincidentally diagnosed with melanoma (stage2) on my leg and invasive ductile carcinoma breast cancer with lymph node involvement at the same time. (I had an annual physical and asked the doctor to look at a funny mole on my leg...) That was 8 plus years ago when I was 47. The subsequent surgeries and 10 months of chemotherapy required me to really exam who I was, what my goals in life were, and what was important to me. I came out of the experience really knowing who I was and what I wanted for the first time in my life. It was a life-altering experience, empowering me and teaching me to stand tall and be firm in my convictions. Now that it has been 8 plus years, I sometimes have to remind myself to keep that keen focus on what's really important. The answer for me is to live each day with joy and compassion. Nothing else really matters. I often tell people newly diagnosed that cancer is a gift, if you take the time to unwrap it.

Sent by Mary Brown-McChrystal | 4:24 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer gave great clarity to my life. Before cancer, I had to decide what was going to be my priority for the day. After cancer, I know what it is. Every day, I try to do those things that I was put here to do, while reminding those who I love how much they mean to me.

Sent by Jeanette Carney | 4:27 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer made me realize that I am not defined by "what" I do...or by "who" I believe I am...but, I am defined by how much of myself I invest in those who love me. My cancer is not me. My work is not me. The only me that exists is the ME I have established in the hearts of those who I love and spend my valuable time with. That is the "Mark" that I want to leave in this world. The scars that I am left with on my body are the "Marks" that remind me EVERY DAY to tell my kids, my husband, my friends and my co-workers THANK YOU. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for allowing me to be a piece of your heart.

Sent by Carla | 4:41 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer made me sad as it ended with my husband asking for a divorce.

Sent by anonymous | 4:48 PM | 4-30-2008

My carcinoid cancer has been cut out of me and in remission for almost 10 years. I didn't know it was there until they found it on my appendix. They say it took up to 10 years to form all unknown to me butnow it has been in my thoughts for 10 years and will remain in my thoughts forever.

Sent by Susan | 4:53 PM | 4-30-2008

My husbands cancer has taught me to rely more fully on God. It has increased my faith, and taught me to look for the positives in everything.

Sent by Sandy Quinn | 5:00 PM | 4-30-2008

I hope this is not trivial, but I do not have cancer...I have an auto-immune disorder: alopecia areata. I do not wear a wig...AND...people assume (sometimes) that I have cancer. This is surreal in and of itself-but reactions (and I can only judge the surface as I do not have cancer) run the gammut from- "you are so brave and noble" to "just get over it- stop showing off and wear a WIG". I can not immagine having to go through the inner pain also.

Sent by sharon blount | 5:19 PM | 4-30-2008

Mark's cancer taught me that at 17, neither he nor I were invincible.
Jim's cancer taught me that life can change in an instant with the words "I have cancer."
Ellyn's cancer taught me that every person has the right to deal with their disease the way they need to.
Lisa's cancer taught me that a mother's love is a ferocious weapon against the beast.
I don't have cancer, but is sure has taught me some life lessons, not all of which I wanted to learn.

Sent by Kelly | 5:40 PM | 4-30-2008

My husband's cancer has made him sad, made him live with limitations, made me mad, made me angry, but we keep on going & try to make the best of it because what else can you do!

Sent by Kathy | 6:44 PM | 4-30-2008

My sister's cancer is still new to us...still unbelieveable...still a surprize...still keeping us awake...still hovering over us...still a nightmare that we hope waking will solve...
She was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC just 1 month ago.

Sent by Gail | 6:45 PM | 4-30-2008

My Cancer has crushed my dreams...makes me feel like I've wasted my life....will destroy my daughter when it kills me....

Sent by Jill | 9:19 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer took me completely by surprise. So once the insanity of surgeries/chemo/more surgeries and breast re-construction was over, at age 56 I had finally learned never to assume anything in life, and that it's best to always expect the unexpected. It was a good lesson I think.

Sent by Diana F. Cramer | 9:33 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer is not me. I have cancer. It doesn't have me.

Sent by Sandra | 10:00 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer makes me hug my kids a little longer than they want me to.

Sent by Sarah | 10:37 PM | 4-30-2008

My dad's cancer taught me that at your weakest you are stronger than you realize. That cancer does not discriminate. That I am a daddy's girl. That cancer may take those from you that you love but those people will never truly be gone from you. Cancer taught me what unconditional love is truly.

Sent by Amy | 11:37 PM | 4-30-2008

My cancer reminded me how I love being alive on this planet with the people I love.

Sent by Robin | 11:50 PM | 4-30-2008

Burge's Cancer
...took the most wonderful person I know from me and his sons.
...stole my faith that God changes our daily lives once the laws of nature were put into effect.
...made me more empathic to others and to realize that we all "take our turn coping with bad things"
...overlook the petty things in life.
...makes me realize that I may not be so lucky to have someone to care for me when my turn comes.
...introduced me to our troubled medical system and all it's problems.
...makes me realize how lucky I have been in the past.
...scares me to death about the future.
...gave me many friends in Leroy's army.


Sent by Nikki in Kansas | 12:52 AM | 5-1-2008

My cancer has made me a better pastor, husband and father.

Sent by Carl Wilton | 2:29 AM | 5-1-2008

My cancer reinforces a life lesson: the power of the present, timeless moment.

Sent by Marti Hill | 8:59 AM | 5-1-2008

My cancer has given me the insight to see what was/is truly important and how to not waste time will all the day to day BS that people tend to throw out there.

Sent by Tom DuBois | 9:28 AM | 5-1-2008

My cancer made me somewhat less materialistic - example: when I start to whine to my husband about my 25 yr old crummy kitchen it does pop into my head that a crummy kitchen is better than having died from the ovarian cancer that was diagnosed 11 yrs ago when my kids were ages 1, 4, 7, and 8!
(But I want a new kitchen!)

Sent by Nina | 9:44 AM | 5-1-2008

...changed the way I live my life. My cancer narrowed my focus to 3 important things for me, my two daughters and my wife. Everything else is a distant second.

Sent by Dave Watanabe | 10:25 AM | 5-1-2008

I guess my most recent epiphany is that...My cancers let me know, I'm not always in control and that's alright. I'm a control nut and I've been learning to let go and trust.

Sent by kathy bero | 11:03 AM | 5-1-2008

My wife's cancer reminded me how nothing lasts forever, and to show the people you love while you can. She's been gone nine months today. Thank you for your brave posts - they have helped me before and since I lost her.

Sent by Russ | 12:17 PM | 5-1-2008

My mother's cancer gave her reasons to listen to Handel's Messiah every day, take more trips to the mountains, hug her children more and edit out the unnecessary. My mother's cancer showed me how strong a family can be, and how it can be irrevocably torn by by her absence.

Sent by manda | 3:08 PM | 5-1-2008

My cancer diagnosis probably saved my life but it also turned everything upside down in an instant! I'm still a relative newcomer - recently diagnosed and still in active treatment, but the lessons and gifts have been many:
* the depth of love and caring given freely by family and friends
* the ability to hold my head high even when I'm unsure of what tomorrow might bring
* a deeper understanding of hope
* an impetus to do things that are important to and for me and ignore the rest
* a wake-up call

Cancer is by no means a gift, but a diagnosis of cancer can bring gifts and heightened awareness to life.

Sent by Michelle | 3:19 PM | 5-1-2008

My cancer makes me sad.

It was tough hearing the word 'incurable' at 47, almost 10 years ago. I've outlived many who have CLL, and it is very tough to have a CLL buddy pass on. Some I've gotten to know well, others less so. (I run a CLL patient's group. BTW, our members who have passed on still have their name tags in the box. They will be part of our group as long as there is a group.)

It hasn't been easy, knowing one infection could end it all. It especially isn't easy losing friends.

Sent by Scott S. | 3:25 PM | 5-1-2008

My cancer broke my foundation.

I am trying to rebuild it. I am more anxious and worried than before. I've lost my confidence in everything, especially myself.

I learned that I'm not in control, and that bad things happen to me. I am reminded that I can fight hard and have faith, and sometimes that will help, but sometimes bad things will still happen to me anyway.

I don't know why things happen, but I do know that I will die. I can't remember what it feels like to see beauty. I have a feeling I will find it again one day, but I'm not sure how.

Sent by Lisa | 4:12 PM | 5-1-2008

My cancer... No, it wasn't really mine. It belonged to everyone close to me, especially my then 27-year-old son, who carried with him the possibility of his mother's imminent death but still finding the strength to become his mom's knight-in-shining-armor.

It belonged to:
-my step-children and their families, far in miles, but close in caring.
-my brother & his wife, with whom I lived while I experienced chemo.
-my ex-husband, a good man who no longer knew what he should do.
-the doctors and nurses who got me through surgeries, stitches, staples, and super glue.
-the orderly in the hospital late at night, checking on me when I was too scared to even cry.
-all the people I met in doctor's waiting rooms, whether they survived or not.
-the person I backed my truck into during a rainstorm, who then just saw a bald, breastless woman standing crying in the rain.

This list is endless for everyone who has had cancer. Cancer is a rock skipped in the lake, and everyone the ripples touched was affected and affected me.

I think it was harder for them than for me sometimes. I had pills to take, radiation to bask in and doctors' appointments to keep. My family and friends could really only watch and wonder if they were doing the right thing. Without them, though, it would have been an even lonelier planet.

If we get back to "normal" life, let us not forget that we are never in control, no matter how many IRA's we have, and no matter what we have planned for next week. We are all just little people, usually in emotional or physical pain, trying to get through another day.

Thank you, Leroy, for giving me a chance to say thank you to all those touched by the ripples. You are a good man making ripples, too.

Sent by Mauri | 8:09 PM | 5-1-2008

made me more patient and appreciative of everything in LIFE.

Sent by DONNA DOMROY | 11:53 PM | 5-1-2008

My cancer brought me face-to-face with my mortality. It released many feelings within me that I had buried for years, especially regret and guilt over being too stoic and not being proactive enough. I'm working on dealing with these feelings and making positive changes. I'm learning to express anger when I feel it. My cancer also allowed me the freedom to accept the love and compassion of family and friends along this journey, for which I will always be grateful.

Sent by Glorya | 1:43 AM | 5-2-2008

My cancer is making me take stock of my life and priorities. It has been here for a while, but realization crept in slowly. First it was "Maybe", then "Tests are inconclusive" and finally "Yes". It's incurable but after eight months of chemotherapy it's still under control. So far I've been fortunate in that treatment side-effects have been minimal. I've started to try and prepare myself for when things get bad so that I'll have the resources and inner strength to deal with whatever comes along with dignity, presence of mind and, especially, awareness of others - family, friends, carers. To keep body and mind in shape, I work out at the gym, do a little yoga and I'm about to start Zen meditation.
Thank you for your blog.

Sent by Catherine Doyle | 7:47 AM | 5-2-2008

at 26, my cancer made me hopeful in ways i never imagined possible.

my cancer's absence made the simplest sights and sounds beautiful - and often caused tears of joy as i drove or rode my bike place to place.

my cancer's return has been frustrating. i am back to fighting with everything i have. i am determined to live my life despite the cancer. i hate it with all my being. thank goodness for all the extra love i have stocked up.

Sent by ejd | 9:16 AM | 5-2-2008

My father's cancer taught me to fill now, with dignity and love and hope. When asked how he continued to smile so freely, to face decisions with such courage and resolve he replied, "You are stronger than you know." I remind myself everyday of this message, as the new normal of life without his voice unfolds.

Sent by Kay from Pa | 9:28 AM | 5-2-2008

Hi Mr. Sievers- It wasn't my cancer, it was my partner's. Her cancer changed my life, her family's, everyone who loved her and wanted only for this hideously cruel disease to go away. I learned the profound lessons of compassion. It is almost two years since she died and every day I wondered what more we might have done, in practical or emotionally supportive terms for her. Cancer taught me lessons I never wanted to learn but am glad to know now. I miss her so much.

Sent by Lisa in Switzerland | 10:24 AM | 5-2-2008

My colleague's cancer taught me to be a patient listener as he needed to talk through the loneliness of being at home alone. The last time I saw him before he passed away, he told me to take good care of my young son. It's been 10 years but it seems like yesterday.

Sent by Marie | 10:49 AM | 5-2-2008

My cancer has no redeeming value. I want to find love and courage by other means, not through fear and hatred of this malignant growth.

Sent by Don | 10:58 AM | 5-2-2008

My cancer makes me scared, sad, mad and at times proud. Proud because I am more resourceful than I ever thought I'd be, I'm braver than I ever thought I was. I am more compassionate and spiritual than I ever thought I was. It has brought me closer to God than I ever thought possible. My cancer sucks, but I have never worked so hard to be alive in my life.

Sent by Becky | 11:47 AM | 5-2-2008

I'm a nine year, four-time survivor. who is now in remission. My cancer has taught me an endless sucession of lessons. The latest being that just because you have cancer, doesn't mean that everyone will be kind to you. Many who have not been where we have been, have no empathy. You may have bosses who scream at you for not having your work done, even though you came in every day in pain from tumors in your spine, and tears streaming down you face. You may not qualify for healthcare, because you have a pre-existing condition. You may even get comments like "who cares" when you say you have cancer. That actually happened to me not too long ago. For all the wonderful, loving, caring people who are out there that have prayed for me and took time out from their day to call or visit, I love you all. For the rest, I truly believe that what goes around comes around. And I truly hope that I was never mean to anyone in that way before I was diagnosed with this horrid disease. God bless all of you who are suffering.

Sent by Lorraine Ballarin | 11:58 AM | 5-2-2008

my parents' cancer made me finally understand, right into my very core, why i have never given a rat's bottom about housework.

when it's my turn to walk their path, i will *never* think "i wish i had cleaned the toilet more often." *they* never did.

Sent by mary | 12:55 PM | 5-2-2008

I decided early on that I do not "have" cancer so that my cancer will not "have" me. I have some rogue cells in my body that need to be dealt with for the rest of the life that God gives me. I made that pact with myself lying on the radiation table. I think of you daily, Leroy, and send good thoughts to you and everyone in this community you've brought together.

Sent by Jeannine | 3:12 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer...made me feel betrayed by my body. But when I started yoga after all the treatment was done, I came into a new and different sense of my body and a deep appreciation for it. I live inside my body. My body is not "me." Without it, I wouldn't be able to hear the birds singing, feel the wind blowing, taste the spring's first rhubarb, smell the aroma of freshly baked bread. It's a package deal. I love my body. I love my access to all my senses. I lament its decline, but it's all part of my incarnation...

Sent by Julie | 4:48 PM | 5-2-2008

Living with cancer on good days reminds me to revel in simple pleasures, and on all days has nudged me and at times floored me towards trying to live life in present tenses. The silver lining in the brutality of living with cancer is that it is the greatest relativizer I have experienced, deftly separating what is of value from what is trivial, what is meaningful from what is trite, what is loving from what is hateful, and what is life affirming from what is destructive. It hasn't made me less vulnerable, or less strong or a better or worse human being but it certainly has made the journey vivid and luckily, on some days, makes me smile to be living life on the "wild" side...the beast is within. Living with cancer is life to the 100th power. No journeys to far flung places or difficult situations necessary...yet none of us planned for or purchased a ticket to living with cancer is also, unwaveringly, an act of grace.

Sent by Marcia E. | 4:57 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer reminds me that everyone dies....I just get a "heads up" on it. My cancer reinforces what I was taught growing up by really good parents, 1) you do not know what you're capable of unless you try; 2) appreciate what you have and not what you don't have; 3) others will always have it worse than you; 4) love always and find something good in today. Cancer never defines upbringing does and although I am not "alone", my cancer has left me lonely

Sent by Shannon from Keithville, LA | 5:23 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer.....has taught me not to take people and things on this earth for granted. It has shown me so many things in life that just don't matter in light of eternity. It has shown me I could never really relate to someone else or understand what it really means to have cancer without having it myself. People try and understand, are very compasionate at times but let's be honest. It's a hard one to grasp unless you have had the experience of having a few doctors walk in and tell you how long you have to live but with a little work they can probably extend your life on this earth for an unknown amount of time. I think some people are under the impression that the disease just goes away after treatment. It's not a very fun thing to have but it will never get the best of me. To God be the glory.

Sent by dpw | 5:25 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer gave me a razor sharp perspective on whats really important in life.

Sent by Kerry in Michigan | 5:40 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer taught me that death will come, but in its own time. It's taught me that its better to great death as an old acquaintance rather than an enemy. It's always better to end it own your terms, however minimal they may seem.

Sent by marti | 9:29 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer (acute myleoid leukemia 2006 diagnosed) knocked me down figuratively and literally. But thanks to my primary physician's prompt testing and a year's worth of chemo treatments, I'm in remission and here to read Leroy's amazing blog and find a great support system. It sounds trite, but I'm just not sweating the small stuff anymore. I'm focussing on things I love (painting, techy stuff, the Dodgers) and not fretting about things out of my control. The specter of relapse is always there but like I said, I can't dwell on it.

Sent by Dorothy - Los Angeles | 9:46 PM | 5-2-2008

My cancer is that lump in my throat. It comes back every time I think of my father.

Sent by Devon Oddone | 11:28 PM | 5-2-2008

My mother's cancer brought life to the surface. We began to feel emotions that we really never talked about. We had avoided the emotions that bring us to our knees. Cancer just makes you deal with everything. In a way it was the ultimate reality show. You come to a place that is sometimes lonely, yet many have traveled. Cancer makes your world so small. What is meaningful is experienced and everything else is put aside. I actually was "LIVING" during my mother's illness. I felt everything and at times understood nothing. We felt every emotion. I've lost that feeling since she passed on...Cancer becomes life, Cancer can also give life...I would have never understood that...

Sent by Richard Williams | 4:02 PM | 5-3-2008

My dad has lung cancer and no other treatments are available to him now. l keep looking, hoping there will be a miracle. lts very painful at times but you cant give up hope but then sometimes you cant keep kidding yourself. Its difficult when someone you love is terminally ill its like an emotional rollercoaster. l know its worse for him. Please what can l do for him, it must be very frightening and scary for him. l want to do the best l can so what and how can l support him. x

Sent by Donna | 5:35 PM | 5-3-2008

My cancer has taught me that I am lucky to be alive, that Life is mine to live and I get to create it the way I want. It has taught me to be brave, in the face of bosses and children and spouses, this is MY life and I can loose it at any moment. Each moment is perfect and precious.

Sent by Lynda Spangler | 11:34 PM | 5-3-2008

My cancer taught me knowledge that a young man would never learn. My cancer changed my outlook, my wants, my desires. It changed my friends, it changed everything. And yet, my cancer was somewhat of a doorway to seeing bright new futures for myself.

Sent by Paul | 1:54 PM | 5-4-2008

My cancer is an ominous evil presence of the devil in this world. It is also a thief. It has stolen from me my husband, my father, my mother-in-law, and has flitted in and hopefully out of my niece's body. It has struck my own body four different times in the last ten years, twice in the colon and twice in the breast; it has taken the lives of so many of my close friends and it is currently ravaging the bodies of several dear friends. I swear it nurtures itself when there is stress and I have sworn to live the rest of my life as stress free as possible and to trust in God's plans for me. I have learned what I began to realize during the Alaskan great earthquake of 1964 that nothing is solid and permanent except love and friendship. We are each able to be on this road of life because of those who have given their love and friendship to us. May we somehow always let them know our appreciation.

Sent by Lucy Groh | 2:31 PM | 5-4-2008

I have learned through cancer that I am not as strong as I once thought. My cancer brought me to my knees to humble me and reawaken the good I have inside, given me a greater insight as to purpose and understanding. A greater vision of humanity both good and bad and a greater understanding to love deeper and appreciate more. Oddly cancer has made me a better person, yet for all it's gifts I wish it upon no one!

Brian Walin

Sent by Brian Walin | 3:07 PM | 5-4-2008

My dad's cancer makes me happy every morning I wake up, yeah it's a new day and I get to live it.

Sent by cd | 5:08 PM | 5-4-2008

Dear Leroy,

I'll start with my cousin's cancer (stage IV colon cancer diagnosed 2.5 years ago). We just spent 4 wonderful days together and I took her to the airport this morning. Her attitude is "I feel lucky every day" because so far her cancer has responded to chemo/surgery. However, during that 2.5 years, I have lost one friend to breast cancer who left 2 small children, had another friend who lost a 14 year-old son to leukemia and another friend who died of colon cancer. This makes me sad and angry. As for my cancer, my breast cancer diagnosis was 6 years and 7 months ago. I too feel very fortunate. Like many people, I mark my second life from that point. I still think about cancer every day and wonder if there will ever be a day that I don't. I came across a saying that spoke to me and I try to live by it: "Every dawn is a new life to a wise man [woman?}"

Sent by Linda | 7:06 PM | 5-4-2008

My cancer was cured relatively easily with surgery and radiation, but it left me with a big hole in the roof of my mouth and a profound understanding for the people who are not as lucky/blessed as I was. This is a great help in my work as a Hospice nurse. My cancer also pushed me toward Hospice nursing, in an effort to give back to the Universe for all my good fortune and health. It was another big reminder of how fragile we can all become at any time. I don't know if I could have fought as hard and as long as you have, Leroy. I am very thankful that I didn't have to. All the best to you. I once wrote suggesting you listen to Hospice, but obviously you did what was best for you, which is what Hospice is really all about too--the patient and family decide when/if it is time. Love, -RC-the Hospice RN

Sent by Rachel Carnahan | 8:05 PM | 5-4-2008

My cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma) pissed me off but brought me to my knees. It was an alien invader that made me feel like my body failed me. But I got my revenge- I let the doctors pump all kinds of poison into me and sent the invader packing! I've always had a good outlook on life, but I have gained a new respect -more like awe- of those like you Leroy, who persevere, never knowing what's around the next corner. Your blog really helped to sustain my sanity during the challenges of chemo.

I will say that cancer did show me that my husband meant it when he said "in sickness and in health." He has been my rock and it makes me sad to read of those who have not had this wonderful support.

Keep up the fight Leroy! You have the world rooting for you!

Sent by Nancy | 11:34 PM | 5-4-2008

My dad's cancer taught me that nothing in life (even the things that absolutely should be) is permanent. It also taught me to listen, and to appreciate what he did give me. He won't be at my high school graduation, but I have the memory of him telling me his goal was to see me walk across that stage. He didn't make it, but he taught me of the importance of setting goals, even if the result is beyond your control.

Sent by Brooke | 12:13 AM | 5-5-2008

My cancer (inflammatory breast cancer) has taught me to let go of frustrations, to let go of some of my dreams and to look for new ones.

Sent by Jill Wilson | 9:38 AM | 5-5-2008

My (wife's) cancer made me a better person but I hate it with all my being for taking her from me.

Sent by Steve | 10:03 AM | 5-5-2008

My father's cancer. I hate that word - cancer. He was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer that was 100% lethal & up until that point had only been found in children. The doctors told him to put his affairs in order and gave him 6 months to live. He fought it - had surgery, chemo, radiation and beat the SOB. That was over 30 years ago and he's still here. He's had that cancer twice, prostate cancer, minor strokes, Alzheimers and a full life - he and my mom traveled all over the country and Canada in a RV each summer, along with two cats. He has seen all three of his children through childhood into adulthood, and has been there for us whenever we have needed him. He has shown us faith, courage and strength, and was even able to walk me down the isle in '98 (his only daughter). Now he is in Hospice House, with abdmonial lymphoma. They have (again) given him 6 months to live and doctor does not recommend treatment, which whould involve 3 months of in hospital chemo. If he survived it he might have 2 or 3 more years sliding down Alzheimer's slope. So after his full life, the monster called cancer is finally going to get him. So I hate that word, but I am thankful for it as well - my biggest fear with the Alzheimer's is that he'll reach the point where he does not know us, and my hope is that the monster takes him quickly.
That's what dad's cancer has done.

Sent by Dannielle Higgins | 12:07 PM | 5-5-2008

My husband's cancer has taught me that we are all vulnerable to this horrible disease. It does not discriminate among young, old, rich, or poor. It has also increased our awareness of the disease and the need for a CURE!

Sent by Maria in Cali | 7:12 PM | 5-5-2008

My boyfriend's mom's cancer taught me that bad things happen to really good people. And it tought me that a strong family and friends are great to lean on in hard times.

Sent by Dre | 11:34 PM | 5-5-2008

Dear Leroy,
My father's cancer nearly claimed him 14 years ago. When I think about that time and what has transpired between now and then, I wish I could say something truly heroic--that it brought us closer together (true, but we were already very close), or made us better people (ugh; I'd like to think we were already pretty good folks). What I can share with you is that is affirmed what became his mantra during his bout with prostate cancer: There is a beginning and an end to everything. We've applied this whenever confronted with anything that seems unsurmountable, starting with his massive surgery and remarkable recovery. He would get through things by saying quietly, to himself, There is a beginning and an end to this. It was good advice as I went through noncancer-related events: childbirth, divorce, a custody battle, a job layoff. Perhaps that is the grace in it all.
While I remain ever-grateful to the incredible staff who tended to him throughout his recovery, and I am grateful to whatever Higher Power there is that has kept him with me, I still wish he--and you, Leroy--would not have to go through any of it. You're full of grace and lovely enough just the way you are.

Sent by Ellen | 11:50 PM | 5-5-2008

My cancer has
1. allowed me to be who I am
not who I want to be
not who I could be
not who people think I am
not who people think I should or shouldn't be
just "me"
2. demonstrated to me that when my husband said "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" he meant it.
3. made me realize I prefer Cottonelle to Charmin (rectal cancer)

Sent by Kirsten O'Neill | 7:53 PM | 5-6-2008

my mom's stage IV pancreatic cancer makes me want to have it instead of her. i would do anything to take away all her pain and suffering...even it meant that it would kill me.

Sent by lissett | 11:24 PM | 5-6-2008

My Mom's Cancer robbed her of seeing my brother and I get married, know our spouses, be the "Mother of the Bride/Groom", be a present Grandmother to the 6 grandchildren that have been born in the 10 years since she passed away, and reach that special place in each other's lives when we (my bro&I) have grown into adults. She handled her cancer, treatments, and decision at the end to stop treatments with a courage and grace that is indescribable.

Sent by S | 11:35 PM | 5-6-2008

My mom's ovarian cancer taught me to be a better nurse. It also taught me that ice cream is never overrated and is best shared between a mother and daughter.

Sent by Lauren Young | 9:37 PM | 5-7-2008

My cancer taught me that I really am going to die. ONE would think I would know that by now at 48 but I live in a bubble I suppose - death is OUT THERE not right here. NOT for me.....alas it is. I wish I had some deep thoughts to share other then ' HOLY CRAP I am going to die"

I miss my yesterdays.

Sent by carrie Belair | 12:16 AM | 5-8-2008

Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional....
I choose not to suffer!

Sent by k | 10:10 AM | 5-8-2008

My cancer reminded me at age 25 that I won't live forever, but I'm not willing to give up the fight to live. My cancer taught me to hold on tight to family and friends that have stood by my side; who have picked up my precious daughter from daycare because I couldn't drive due to treatments; who have just sat and listened and made me laugh when I couldn't breath because of the fear. My cancer has proven that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. It has taught me that even on the very worst of days, one smile from Sophia makes my world okay. My cancer has scarred me physically on the outside and emotionally inside. It has forced me to live from month to month and thankfully now, year to year.

But, even so, I wouldn't change anything if I could. I was devastated with the cancer diagnosis and blessed with a beautiful child at the same time. I know that God didn't want me to face this alone; so he gave me a reason to live. I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't been pregnant with Sophia when I was diagnosed...I know He has a plan and so far, so good. I am so blessed.

Leroy--thank you for your honesty, for giving all of us a place to come and feel at peace and for the encouragement. Prayers and hugs!!!

Sent by Tess from KY | 10:34 AM | 5-8-2008

my cancer was found ten years ago. An oncologist told me he could not cure me, only buy me some time. I looked for another oncologist. He said I won't cure you, you cure yourself. I will help you. He did.
It made me realize how interdependent I am with everyone else. I had always thought I could do it all alone.
Through all the long and tiring days of radiation and chemo I cannot even remember questioning why is this happening. I was probably in shock, but also engaged in my fight.
It made me realize too that I could be happy or not in spite of my external circumstances...
Woe to us who are not made of money.
It will take it all and more.
So ten years later cancer has defined my life's circumstances, but not who I am!

Sent by martha | 1:15 PM | 5-8-2008

My big brother's cancer is kicking my butt. He's been in ICU for over a week now, white-blood cell count .024, and how I try to deal by sitting next to his bed in the ICU is reading Robin Wright's 400pg book on the middle east in an effort to remind myself that I could have it worse. I read how woman are beaten in some countries for speaking their mind and I look at my brother's shaved head and inability to talk/move and I know it could be worse.

Sent by Caroline Hawkins | 5:14 PM | 5-8-2008

My cancer let me see the love in so many people around me and taught me to more often send the card, make the call, bring the meal. I am grateful for each day and the loving people in my life. I also learned that getting angry at people is a waste of time.

Sent by Lisa from St. Louis | 7:26 PM | 5-8-2008

My cancer proved that not every cancer is a "life changing" experience. June 1st will be one year since I had surgery for uterine cancer. It was caught early and I suspect I will remain well.

My biggest surprise about having cancer is how little interest people have shown in my recovery, as if it never happened. I blame myself because I don't ever play the "c" card or give out any different vibes, so therefore no one ever thinks to ask how i'm doing, cause nothings changed, right? I still get griped at by my boss at work and barked at by my boyfriend when he's in a bad mood. same ol' same ol'

Should I expect something different just because I had cancer? Well, no.

Believe me, I KNOW I was one of the lucky ones, but not all cancers are life-threatening, and the world doesn't automatically stop for you just because you were told by a doctor that "you have cancer."

Sent by ktocs | 12:46 AM | 5-10-2008

Leroy, I'll try:

My cancer hasn't appeared yet. There is a greater than 75% chance that it will because it did so many times before, to the rest of my family. My cancer is waiting, and it keeps me from forgetting about today. Nothing is better off waiting until tomorrow. My cancer is going to be a part of my adulthood. My cancer is like a lover that my husband knows about, but isn't willing to acknowledge yet. My cancer is almost my friend, and I will be almost relieved when I get to meet it, face-to-face.

Sent by Sarah Myers | 2:48 PM | 5-13-2008

My cancer was a huge surprise that I had a hard time accepting at the age of 53. Denial worked very well for me, it was months and months before I could even use the word cancer in the same sentence in describing myself. Emotions were something I expressed in private if at all. My cancer forced me to express myself outwardly and allow my family and friends to help me when I needed it. I learned I didn't always have to be the rock for everyone else. I am now in a 7 month remission from a very nasty rare form of t-cell lymphoma (only 25% of my kind live past the three year mark), but thanks to a very generous, anonymous stem cell donor I can now see a future. Just 14 months ago my doctor was asking my husband if I should be revived if my systems shut down, the chemo they had given me wasn't killing the cancer it was killing me. Today I am living normally as possible planting a garden and taking the dog for walks. My cancer has made me believe in miracles, strenghted my faith in God and with the help of my dedicated doctors and nurses know that every good day has been worth fighting for.

Sent by Candy from Wisconsin | 12:42 AM | 5-15-2008

My sister's cancer taught us to live awake. Two months before she died, she looked up at me from her hospital bed where she lay hooked up to a morphine drip, and said' "I never knew how much love there is in the world." And her bald-headed, emaciated face glowed with this truth. Now, nine years later, I struggle to remind myself of this all the time. Life without cancer allows us to be asleep.

Sent by Roberta Upshaw | 10:43 AM | 6-26-2008

My cancer survival fulfilled a promise from a friend that I would one day look on the uterine cancer as a blessing. Now, almost 15 years on, I know she was right. I am the mother of three girls and I have been blessed to NOT have to deal with my own menopause while they deal with adolescence. I have been able to focus on helping them, since my own hormones are always level. I am proof that a yearly PAP smear can save your life.

Sent by Donna Clayton, Lakeside CA | 11:45 AM | 6-26-2008

My aunt's cancer (She's my god mother as well) has made me feel undeservedly lucky that I have made it to adulthood with my mom (her sister) right by my side every step of the way to do all of the things that mom's do whenever their child needs a helping hand.

My aunt's cancer makes me feel incredibly guilty that I have my mom to witness and celebrate the milestones of my life with me, and that little 3 year old Ella will probably not have that same luxury (my aunt's daughter & my God daughter).

Sent by Kelli Bachmann | 1:51 PM | 6-26-2008

My cancer came as a complete surprise-- the result of a colonoscopy that I didn't really want to have but thought I should because I was at that age, thus making me a poster child for routine colorectal screening. There is no history of cancer in my immediate family, and so I had thought myself to be at low risk. Almost four years later and cancer-free, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that being a cancer survivor will always be part of my identity, along with wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, employee, Christian, friend, and so on. Sometimes it seems like it was all just a bad dream--until I head to the doctor for another check-up wondering if this will be the time when the cancer shows up again. The cancer thing is ALWAYS there, in the back of my mind, and not very many days go by that I don't think about it. Most of the time my thoughts are ones of gratitude for wonderful doctors, caring and compassionate nurses, good health insurance, supportive friends and family who prayed for me and cared for me in very practical ways when I felt like crap during chemo, very good health at the moment. But sometimes a cold chill washes over me and the fear comes front and center once again.

Someone asked me at the end of treatment whether I could say that anything good came from my cancer. I didn't exactly like the question, because I wasn't sure I liked the idea of needing to think positively about something so nasty (i.e., having cancer really does suck!!!). But while I would rather have learned certain lessons some other easier way, having cancer certainly teaches a person a lot about the value of life and love and faith, and in that respect, I guess I can say that yes, something good came out of it.

Sent by Harriet Bicksler | 2:35 PM | 6-26-2008

My Dad's cancer taught me how much I love life. I already knew how much I loved him.

Sent by Karen L | 4:01 PM | 6-26-2008

My cancer led to diarrhea.

Sent by liz | 9:19 PM | 6-26-2008

My cancer is hiding. I don't know where, but I know it's there. Somewhere in my body. Waiting for the right time. And before the blow, I try to remember to enjoy the life that's mine and not fuss about things that, in the end, have little importance.

Sent by Chantal Houle | 9:40 PM | 6-26-2008

My cancer brought me new faith, wonderful new friends, and the ability to ask for help if I need it. God has been so good to me and my life has changed so much for the better.

Sent by Lois | 9:42 AM | 6-27-2008

has been a journey to understand purpose, pain, humanity, divinity, suffering and what lies beyond the surface of this exterior experience. Always looking inward to find what the outer encompasses.

Sent by Psiplex | 12:59 PM | 6-27-2008

My cancer has shown me that - for me- the meaning of my life is love and forgiveness.

Sent by Joanne Bergamini | 1:10 PM | 6-27-2008

My cancer made me realise what is important in life - my family! The day that I knew that I had it I proposed to my hubby and am happily married 18 months now! I am in remission 14.5 months from esophageal cancer and while the surgery was hard I have never been happier in my personal life.

Sent by Aoife Mc Gibney | 1:13 PM | 6-27-2008

When I was a child, my father's cancer taught me that life is about defeat, and that my role is to take care of people who can't or won't take care of themselves.

Now I am an adult, and my boyfriend's cancer has taught me that only I can decide what cancer or anything else means in my life, and that in any situation in life people have the choice of who they will become, and that even with cancer people can chose to be strong and beautiful and loving.

Sent by Nikki | 10:11 PM | 6-27-2008

My cancer taught me that We shouldn't take our loved ones for granted. Life can change drastically in a moment. There are lessons I have learned. There are lessons I have been reminded I had already learned. This is one of them. Others include:
The anticipation of an event is usually far worse than the actual event itself. Prayer works.Some things just aren't that important in the big picture of things.There is great kindness in the hearts of strangers.One person's actions can have a tremendous affect on another's life. Drugs can make you say really funny things that you don't remember.What I put in eventually finds its way out; food, attitude, toxins included. The world keeps spinning. Being still is important, even when you are not coping with cancer. Silence is Sacred.I feel better if I meditate everyday. Love heals and miracles happen.

Sent by Deborah Haggerty | 11:56 PM | 6-27-2008

My cancer has taught me that some people come into our lives for different reason, and stay in our lives for a different period of time. Some periods are many many years, others are for a shorter period of time.It taught me who my true friends were, and taught me that some people I consider true friends, backed away when they heard the word "Cancer" I not longer see or hear from them. It is sad, but I learned who was real and who wasn't real.
Page - Gresham Oregon

Sent by Page Hendryx | 2:46 AM | 6-28-2008

My husband's cancer has broken my heart and frightens me but it has shown me what a strong person he is. He never complains and still does all the things he used to do especially with our children even during his chemo treatments. I admire him.

Sent by Doreen | 8:15 AM | 6-28-2008

ihate how it has changed my body but it has put a shine on my soul. donna in vt

Sent by donna trumbull | 8:33 AM | 6-28-2008

Cancer took my Mom's life 4 1/2 years ago. She was 95 years old. She gave so much love to her family. I remember at that time that I was not the "senior" member of our family and I would try my best to live my life as she did hers. That is indeed a challenge for me. I miss her!

Sent by Karen Frauman | 11:39 AM | 6-28-2008

With permision LeRoy can i start with life is cancer? Life is cancer our bodies some how produced this life that will some how take ones life. It is awful how a living cell can take toll on ones body. The human anatomy is just not understanding and I dont think it never will be. How can something living inside you take your life? The most healing part of this process to me is family. Remember you have roots that are strong and are spreading and that of course is your family. Stand strong and deliver to who loves you most. FAMILY

Sent by Alex Cuellar | 1:15 PM | 6-28-2008

"My" cancer? I don't want to claim it, to own it, to make it mine....having cancer has humbled me. Having cancer has caused my long term love (who is an MD) to leave me. Having cancer has allowed me to forgive those who have hurt me. Having cancer has allowed me to forgive myself a little bit more. Having cancer has made me afraid in ways I have never been fearful before. Having cancer has made me feel vulnerable and alone while also feeling totally loved and embraced. Having cancer has created a new and open place in my heart....

Sent by Holly Hamlett | 3:38 PM | 6-28-2008

My cancers are my life. I've lived with cancer since 1971 and it's always on my mind, even when it's not active in my body. Cancer has made me slow down and understand that we all live in the now--only most people don't realize it. I'm lucky enough to have figured this out. I've suppressed my cancers, ignored them, written about them to bring them to the front of my brain, and I've finally come to accept that cancer is an integral part of my life. Cancer is life--life with a new color that changes me, but makes me better.

Sent by Vicki Glassburn | 4:57 PM | 6-29-2008

My cancer is not mine, but my Dad's. It started off being lung cancer, to a clean bill of health, to cancerous growth on his shoulder, on his adrenal gland and to lymph nodes. he has completed his radium treatment and is undergoing chemotherapy. He is in so much pain though and, while i try to think positively, i cannot help but wonder what in the world i will do without this love of my life. Watching him in pain is so heart-wrenching as he has spent the better part of his life helping others. I have lived my entire life believing that he is immortal..WOW, what a wake-up call.

Sent by Ray Jacobs | 11:36 AM | 6-30-2008

My cancer has altered my way of thinking in such a positive direction. And I make sure to thank God every day for the beautiful day he has given to me.

Sent by Jeanne Stevens | 12:24 PM | 6-30-2008

My cancer made me think: if this gets too hard, I could leave early. That would be okay.

Most of my family live too far away to help. My sister and her husband came and helped me -- took care of my cats while I was recovering from surgery, cleared out my messy house so other people could stay and take care of me.

Friends stepped up.

My mother is in an Alzheimer's ward. My 79-year-old friend Kate came and read to me in the hospital. She cooked me dinners when I got out.

Three different people came to stay with me while I was recovering from surgery -- one of whom I hadn't seen in 25 years.

Different friends signed up to take me to chemo and played Scrabble with me while the IV was in my arm.

My friend Leslie was my rock. She drove me to my doctors' appointments and listened to what they said, my second set of ears to help me remember what I heard.

Email kept me in touch with a lot of friends and family while I recovered. I got to write about what was happening to me, and hear back from many supportive people.

I also joined a cancer support group, and made new friends, some of whom I've lost.

My cancer made me aware of how wonderful my friends are. I've also met some terrific radiation therapists, chemo nurses, and doctors, and the receptionist at the cancer center is great, too.

My cancer made me afraid, and it made me see angels in everyone.

Sent by Nina | 3:52 PM | 6-30-2008

My cancer scared me. When the doctor said the lump in my neck was Lymphoma I thought it would be the end of me. Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night and cry.

I've gotten used to living with my cancer nowadays though. It came back a few times since, but modern medicine is amazing, and I am still here, it's been 5 years now. I have someone who loves me, she is winderful, I am soooo lucky.

P.S. Good luck to you Leroy and the rest of you too!

Sent by Rob Brown | 12:34 AM | 7-1-2008

Hi Leroy and friends,
I've been reading your blog since just after you started writing it. I never really felt it proper to contribute a post, because I didn't have cancer, my husband Harry did. Even when you sent an open invitation, to finish the sentence, "my cancer...," I didn't get it. Yet, I continue to read, felt compelled, obligated somehow, to read your posts every morning. Not until I just sat and read the 300+ responses have I realized that I do "have cancer" after all. Somewhere along the way, his cancer became our cancer. I don't know how or when it happened, exactly. It was Harry that had the pain in his side that wasn't the gall stones we suspected. It was Harry that had the surgery and had to learn to tolerate the sight and sticks of needles he so dreaded in the beginning. He is the one that slept with the sound of a constantly rewinding camera attatched to his chest every other week for three years. He was the one they called the "mayor of the chemo suite," because he had gotten to know so many and always tried to "welcome" or look out for the newbies. He was the one whose loud snoring through chemo treatments kept everyone else awake. He is the one that saved up his strength during the week, so that he could enjoy his escape to the golf course on the week-ends...the one place he could go where he could forget about his cancer for a while. He is the one that lost and regrew his hair so many times that in the end, he refused to cut or shave it, the ZZ Top look , he called it. He is the one that asked me to call in the hospice team, because he couldn't deal anymore with the pain and panic that cancer had been causing him. It was for him that our three children(20,15 and 10 yrs old at the time) carried our fully decorated 7 foot Christmas tree up a flight of steps when they realized that their dad wouldn't be able to manage the steps. He is the one I held in my arms, holding my finger on his pulse for hours, till I couldn't feel it anymore; not knowing what to pray for...strength,relief..and finally, PEACE.
Cancer changed our lives; our life together as a couple and as a family will never be the same. Harry was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, but we all experienced it with him, through good times and bad. Even now that he is gone from this world, cancer continues to be a part of our lives. We do whatever we can to remember, convincing anyone who will listen to "4-GET": Get screened; Get the polyps; Get the cure; and Get going!
Stopping cancer is my mission.
Thanks, Leroy and company, for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings with those that need to know that they are not alone.

Sent by Patti Hollenback | 2:53 PM | 7-1-2008

Dear Leroy:

I haven't been on your blog for some time now. November They found a tumor the size of a football on my uterus and ovary.The Dr.s tumor board said they had never seen an adenoma that large. Then one month ago I woke up and with a stabbing pain in the middle of my chest. My lung colapsed due to a tumor in my right main bronchi. Again unual to have an adenoma there too. The cure was brachi theraphy. Or can I say torture. They put a tube down your nose into the cancerous tumor in my right brochi then a machine pushes a radiated pellet down the tube and it stays there for about 3mins. I did this three times. once a week the kicker was I had to wait 2hours for the radiated machin all the time hacking and coughing. I wouldn't wish this procedure on anyone. However, it seems to be working. I have had colorectal cancer for almost 5 years now. I know one thing this is a Battle.............. One that keeps changing all the time.
I know I am lucky to still be alive. My lungs are getting worse and the chemo is getting stronger. Leroy, Have you ever just said to yourself. I need to stop. I am sooooo very tired. I am only 55 and beyond having cancer I am in great shap. But, the battle seems to be getting harder and harder.
Some days are great and at times other days well not so great. The thing that I most dislike is every one saying how are you. For God Sake, I have cancer, Most of the time, I feel not so hot. Sometimes I say I am ok and I am some times'
I am up and down and sideways. Truely that is the life of a person with this dreaful disease. Over the past five years I have felt every emotion one can feel. So with that kind Sir I am signing off. Cancer is every emotion one can feel and sometimes all in the same day.
God Bless you and Keep you


Beth Morrison


Sent by Beth Morrson | 4:38 AM | 7-2-2008

My mom's cancer killed her before I knew who she was. I didn't know how to match the color of my bra to the color of my shirts or who the first person she loved was. I don't remember her voice. I have two memories of her, at least that withstands the other voids.

Sent by Jennifer | 1:31 PM | 7-2-2008

My cancer is inextricably linked to someone else's experience with cancer. The two of us shared parallel worlds, exactly one year apart from each other. We had the same doctors, the same caregivers, and even shared the same bathtub. Now we share the same scar, a small pink line on our necks that has faded until it is barely noticeable. This souvenir reminds us that we have no thyroid. It reminds us of our cancer.
We are similar in other ways as well. We are both artists. We enjoy the same books and the same activities. We are mirror images, two people cut from the same mold. We are twins.
The fact that we are twins played an important role in my sister's diagnosis. My cancer was diagnosed first, as a result of an unrelated disorder I had which resulted in fullness around the neck. I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma in my second year of college. The process went very quickly. The cancerous nodules and my entire thyroid were surgically removed within a period of months. My doctor told me that if you are going to have cancer, this is the type that you want to have. It requires the least invasive type of surgery, and people live with this cancer for many years without problems. I had no symptoms of the cancer.
Because we are twins, my sister was screened for cancer as a precaution. Her cancer may not have been discovered otherwise. The nodules in her neck were smaller and further from the surface. They would have been impossible to detect if you were not specifically looking for them. I see this as a miracle, and was glad to have played this role in her cure.
My sister and I are similar in so many ways. We have shared so many experiences: the same parents, the same schools, and the same genetic and environmental markers. Therefore it should not be surprising that we shared the same cancer. But although we had all this in common, our experience with cancer was markedly difference.
I threw myself into my work, refusing to think about my cancer and its implications. My sister could not help but think about it and her work suffered. I isolated myself from family and friends. My sister turned to others for comfort. Because I was diagnosed first, I had a lot of attention from family and friends. But because I was diagnosed first, my sister's feelings and pain were overlooked by family and friends. She did not receive as many flowers. And we were not there for her emotionally. I thought it was enough that I could testify to the experience. My surgery was quick and the healing process was relatively painless. I had no complications. I was proof that this type of cancer "wasn't such a big deal." Of course, I was lucky. Others have complications. But I didn't think about this. I was confident that my sister would be fine. We had the best doctors. So I neglected her. She needed my emotional support to help her deal with her cancer. It wasn't enough to tell her that it would be alright. It wasn't enough to testify to the experience, having gone through it myself. She needed me to go through it again, this time with her. She needed to come to terms with her cancer on her own.
I've learned from our cancer that cancer is a very personal experience. At the time you are diagnosed, you cannot imagine that anyone know what you are feeling. And even if they do, it doesn't help you. You need to come to terms with your disease on your own, individually. You need to develop a coping mechanism. You need to rationalize the experience to yourself in some way. This is true even when your cancer is very treatable and requires the least invasive surgery. The word "cancer" is very scary. It can spread. And there are always risks inherent to any type of surgery, related to anesthesia and other possible complications.
Through Leroy Sievers's "My cancer" project, it is possible to see the coping mechanisms that people have developed. Cancer has been a teaching tool for so many people. They have used their cancer to reevaluate their lives and learn something about themselves.
I have learned by comparing mine and my sister's experiences with cancer. Our cancer taught me that cancer is a very personal experience, and there is no shortcut to emotional assuredness.
I have also learned from my personal experience with cancer. My cancer taught me to be more sympathetic to others, because everyone has hardships and struggles, and everyone's life has been touched by cancer and disease. When someone makes me upset, I try not to let it effect me. Instead, I wonder what has happened to them to make them behave in such a manner.
And I have learned from Leroy Sievers's cancer. Leroy Sievers's project has taught me that one person can make a difference. That it is important to connect with others who have shared your experiences. It is important to find comfort and solace in the sheer mass of people who have suffered as you have, and who have survived. And it is important to recognize that these people have learned and loved as a result of their cancers.

Sent by Beth Wolfson | 5:47 PM | 7-9-2008

My cancer is not a gift from God to make me a better person.

Sent by Rick Wagner | 6:28 PM | 7-10-2008

Leroy, have just discovered your blog and the "my cancer" comments. Am typing this through the tears! Can you PLEASE send a mailing address, I would love to send you a copy of my book, Cancer With Attitude. If the rules don't allow this, you can find it at or or Barnes and I would love to send you a copy as a gift for your sharing.

Sent by Kay Stevens Lloyd | 4:40 PM | 7-11-2008

My cancer has taught me that there is a world beyond the cells of my body. If I indulge too deeply in myself, I will lose sight of that world outside of me and truly be alone with my fear of living the rest of my life fighting this uphill battle.

Sent by Mary Jane Minotti | 2:15 PM | 8-18-2008

My father's cancer taught me that we are all given as much time as we're given...and how important it is to love, and be loved.

My bout with breast cancer taught me patience. And the power to say yes to what rings true for me, and the strength to say no to things that don't.

Sent by Caitlin | 3:04 PM | 8-18-2008

Tamara, where are you in Florida??

Sent by paula | 2:54 PM | 8-26-2008