My mention of having had cancer brought a query from a reader. I did a blog post on my cancer bout a couple of years ago. Here it is again, updated:
In 2013, I coughed up blood. My doctor at the time 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. It showed that I had a large lung tumor.
I underwent maximum chemotherapy and radiation, and then, in November 2015, a surgeon removed the upper lobe of my right lung. Recovery took about a year, and even after that, I was too weak to resume working out. I kept trying. Finally, in February 2020, I was able to lift weights again. I’ve been at it ever since.
The surgeon and my oncologist 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 lithe enough to run and work out. The end result was that I survived both the cancer and the treatment with flying colors. And I’ve never returned to the physician who failed to diagnose the cancer in 2013.
The other factor that helped me was that I never stopped working. Even on my worst days, I wrote. When the Naval Institute Press (NIP) accepted my novel Last of the Annamese for publication in 2016, I redoubled my efforts. I worked on the proofs of Annamese and struggled through the editing process with a genuinely excellent editor from NIP to get the book ready for publication in March 2017. Then I turned my full attention to Secretocracy, a novel about malfeasance during the Trump administration. It was published in 2020. Next came my short story collection, Coming to Terms, published last August.