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I was in the hospital five years ago tofay waiting for my second cancer surgery in five days. I was being treated for occular melanoma (eye cancer) using placque radiation therapy. Today I am five years post op. I had a physical this week and there was nothing of note. Because this cancer is so rare, there are very few statistics cocerning five years post treatment and survival. The statistics that are out there are very discouraging. My wife recently told me that one doctor tolf her that five year survival was less then 20%. My wife said, "You don't know my husband!" I know she was trying to reasure herself and she knows that I do not buy into the the best fighters are the ones who survive." I know so many people with cancer who were truly fighters and did not survive. It really had nothing to do with fighting or a desire to survive. It had to do with treatments, the doctors who treats, attitude, stage cancer was discovered, luck, hope, support of loved ones and God. I was lucky that my cancer was caught early (luck and doctor), having had treatment by a world class hospital by one of the most well respected and experienced occular oncologists in the world (luck, good doctor making the referral and God), I asked questions and considered my options (attitude and supportive family), I was oddly calm throughout my surgeries and hospital stay (attitude, belief, supportive family, and doctors I trusted), and the best follow-up I could get (luck, I have had to fight with insurance company to get this, supportive family, and God). I am now blind in my treated eye (retinal myopathy) and I have adjusted. My depth perception is still goofed up, but I drive during the day wherever I need or want to go.

This issue of labeling cancer patients as "fighters" or "warriors" is interesting to me. People refer to me this way all the time. I do not make an issue about it. But to think those who have been "fighters" or "warriors" who have passed from this terrible disease did not just "fight hard enough" is plain stupid. We all make our choices and go forward. The type of cancer I have almost always mets to the liver (95%) and there are few treatments. Many of those who chose the treatments suffer a great deal from the treaments. I am prepared to try whatever experimental treatment my doctors suggest to extend my time, but only up to a point. My wife knows I will also try to maintain my quality of life as long I can. The choice at some point will be quality of life. I will try the experiemntal treatments to try and help those who will follow me with this horrible disease. However, I also know there is no cure or remission for my cancer.

I am truly blessed to still be here enjoying my life. Becasue of the retinal myopathy, my blind eye blinks. Because I am blind in the eye, I don't always know when it is happening. It usually happens in the grocery line. I only know when I am blinking because the check-out girl thinks I am some creepy old man flirting with her! I am a teacher, so I have to explain this to all of my students the first class. It is at this time that I explain to them about my cancer and how it has affected me. A student stopped me after class yesterday and asked me if there was anything I wanted to see or do if my cancer would mets now. I told him the only thing I want to do is to continue to feel the love in my life and to love others. I have no desire to "see" something for the first time. I just want to see what I saw today when I gave my wife a new suit for our 22nd wedding ann. tomorrow. Today, those are the things I want to continue to see!

Sorry this is so long. This board is pretty quiet, but I check it everyday!

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