What a wonderful face. He looks a lot like a young Lance Armstrong, lean and fit with a soft smile and a voice that pulls you closer because you don’t want to miss a word of what he has to say. He knows his medical record better than any doctor. He can tell you what his counts are and what his last scan showed and of the ten or twelve chemo’s he’s tried, which one seemed to work the best. Actually, they all seem to have worked pretty well. When you ask him how he feels, he’ll tell you he’s had a little discomfort.
Thinking back, I remember how Leroy responded when he was asked that question. He would answer the same way. “Feels kind of like the flu,” or “It’s not too bad, it passes.” What I would remember was a very different reaction to those nasty cancer drugs. Just like yesterday, when the wife of this young man spoke up and spoke the truth.
But like Leroy, this cancer patient, refuses to give, even the slightest advantage to the disease. By not acknowledging that the chemo makes him crazy sick, he’s still in the drivers seat. He’s still in control. One of the most important parts of living with cancer, is staying in control.
Who knows how much longer this pillar of strength will be in that position.
He was at the cancer center yesterday to meet and listen to a different set of doctors, who remind him of himself. They are willing to take safe, agressive steps and think outside the box, if that’s what it will take to keep on living.
He’s already thrown the survival stats on his disease out the window. He’s the patient the doctors talk about when they quote the science numbers for a particular cancer treatment. So many die, so many live an extra 3 months and then there’s the one who just keeps on living.
That’s the best stat of all.