Cancer, Coffee and Cookies

Luckily I am an optimist.

Gotten a checkup lately?

This has been a challenging summer for both my business and for my health.

I can fix my business but will have to trust Lady Luck and some professional advice when it comes to my health.

In late July I received a call from my doctors that I needed to come in immediately.  My scans indicated that I probably had cancer in my left lung. When I met with the consulting thoracic surgeon he was polite, calm and very businesslike. My wife was with me as he kept it simple: “Mr. Golden, you have cancer in the lung. We do not know what kind it is and it doesn’t really matter. We will take it out next week and come up with a treatment plan afterwards.”

Luckily I am an optimist.

My lung surgery was on August 7th and I really do not remember much about it other than being prepared for surgery and then waking up in the intensive care unit. For four days I lived life with a hose stuck in my stomach running up to my chest to keep things in order. The surgery did not hurt but that damned chest hose certainly did.

A long story made short: In May 2011 I underwent surgery for BSCC cancer, which is a very, very rare cancer. Doctors told me that I was incredibly lucky after the surgery.  They had removed it all with clean margins to make sure that they got it all, said my doctor who was and is a very caring surgeon. Two years of almost monthly check ups said that the cancer was indeed gone.

Research says different. The BSCC cancer always, always returns. It has almost no symptoms and there is not really a treatment protocol known to work. Eventually it comes again for you … and your only defense is to stay constantly aware of possible symptoms for almost any kind of cancer and to get constant checkups. I was just completing my two year checkup for the 2011 cancer when they found a new recurrence in my lung. It is a migratory cancer. You never know where it will appear next.

Luckily I am an optimist.

Doctors felt good about having gotten all of my cancer removed in 2011 and did not recommend chemo. Radiation treatment is out of the question as it is believed that the cancer was caused by overexposure to radiation to begin with. Radiation aggravates and just increases the recurrence rate. Chemo is on the menu this time.

This time we are taking no chances. I will begin chemo in early September. Doctors are still debating what kind might work best for me. None are known to work effectively. The idea with taking chemo this time:  it may not help but what can it hurt when combating a cancer that is relentless. Maybe we can slow its return or slow its growth when it does return.

As for cookies and caffeine: cancer loves sugar. I had altered my eating habits before but this time around I am doubling down on the cancer prevention diet. As for coffee, it is important for cancer survivors to keep their Ph in balance. Coffee can alter your Ph — for now I have these cool little Ph strips that keep me aware of my body’s chemical balance, or imbalance. I can give up cookies but coffee is staying on the menu. It is a way of life for me.

Luckily I am an optimist. For a second time I have overcome cancer in the shortterm and should be able to return to a full and active life … with a cup of coffee in one hand and a checkup scheduler in the other.

Smile. Life happens. I have no complaints. It has been good to me so far. I only see good yet to come.

Gotten a checkup lately?

8 thoughts on “Cancer, Coffee and Cookies”

  1. You ARE an Optimist! …and don’t think for one second that positive outlook hasn’t played a role in your recovery.

    I’m glad you’re writing this out. You are an inspiration to many. Thank you for sharing your story and thank your family for sharing you with us!

  2. Ok… No more cookies. The coffee pot is always on at my front porch!

    Think I’ll get a check-up. Thanks for sharing. Your hard lessons help the rest of us a lot.

  3. Bill, thank you for writing this. I am so sorry you are having this struggle, but am glad you have your wife and good friends to support you and that you can still have coffee!

  4. You’re wonderful for sharing. Hopefully all goes well and others are aided by your example and efforts to educate.

    The world needs great teachers and while that hasn’t been your exact job title in life, it seems to be your personality.

  5. Billie,

    Thanks for the update and I agree with Connie-being optimistic is a good weapon. Some of the new chemo is more targeted and perhaps fewer side effects. When Carrie went through hers, she always had a Mexican lunch. May nit work for everyone but she said something in the meal helped keep things calm. If, as many do, you lose your ALL your hair, it is hard to look surprised without any eyebrows ( my wife’s observation).

    Thanks for sharing this very personal information-you remain I our prayers.


    1. Work + healthcare is very important.

      Part of my bigger story is that if I had not served and retired from the military is that I probably would be dead already. I found out in the late 90s that insurers had declared me as having a ‘preexisting condition’ … without prompt and focused healthcare my cancer would probably not have been caught either time and if it was I would not have gotten the treatment that I needed.

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