Rerun: Cancer

A friend who follows this blog asked me why I never mention my battle with cancer. Somehow, it seems irrelevant. But just to set the record straight, here’s the story:

In 2013, I coughed up blood. My primary care physician said it was nothing to worry about. He diagnosed me with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Early in 2015, I brought up blood again. Since my doctor had told me not to worry about it, I didn’t go see him until time for my regular checkup in May. He sent me for a chest x-ray. I had a large tumor.

I underwent maximum chemotherapy and radiation for almost half a year, and then, in November 2015, a surgeon removed the upper lobe from my right lung. Initial recovery took about a year, and I still was not completely fit. I had a bad cough, and I lacked energy. But the tumor was gone. Repeated tests since then show no lingering signs of cancer.

I tried a number of times to resume weight lifting after my recovery from cancer but could never summon the sheer strength required. Then, earlier this year, I was finally able to do it. I started with very low weights, gradually increasing the load and number of repeats. Now I’m to the point that I’m doing twelve different lifts, three sets each, with respectable loads. I do the routine every other day. It takes about two hours. I’m looking better, and I feel great.

My surgeon and oncologist in 2015 were frankly thrilled at my ability to withstand the treatments and the surgery. I was, in every other respect, a pinnacle of health. I was a runner until my right knee gave out in 2013, and I’ve always been a devoted weight lifter. That meant that I had to watch my diet to be sure I stayed trim enough to run and work out. The end result was that I survived both the cancer and the treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) with flying colors. And I’ve never returned to the physician who failed to diagnose the cancer in 2013.

More tomorrow.

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