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Odd question, but I'm looking for perspective for the experience

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  • Odd question, but I'm looking for perspective for the experience

    I'm a Children's Minister, so going through chemo has been eye opening for me and for the families in my church. For many of my young families and my kids, my experience with cancer is something new and personal. I have been open and honest about it with them to bring awareness. (I even got to be on our local radio to talk about it). Of course I haven't said to our second graders HEY I GOT CANCER IN MY BALLS, but their parents know the detail of the location. My kids just know to pray for Mr Chris because he has cancer, and it's curable.

    As a minister, I have and will be talking to and helping cancer patients. I know some will say "well your's was beatable, mine isn't" and for sure that's true. I'm grateful for the chemo killin this stuff off. (I'm half way through 4xEP). But I'm also well aware of how deadly this stuff is without treatment and early detection. For me the chemo has been REALLY tough. My church has pretty much said "take off till it's gone" and that's great. How does our chemo regimens stack up against others? I know there's no "easy" chemo. I have noted I'm the one there all day for 5 days. I'm pretty much sick for the week and a half after and have had to go on antibiotic for fever. Is this usual for other cancer treatments? How do other treatments stack up against ours. Not to say HEY MINE WAS MORE SUCKY THAN YOURS, but to know more about what others are going through to understand and empathize with their difficulty.

    I'm grateful that I'll be through this in a couple months and praying I'll be back to normal soon. I know many don't have that option. I dunno if this makes sense, I'm just trying to gain some perspective to understand my experience to minister to others in theirs. Thanks to you folks in this forum and the help it has given me. I've even made a friend here locally through it who was kind enough to come check on me in the clinic! Blessings on you all!
    September 9 Right Orchiectomy
    Pathology 100% pure Embryonal Carcinoma T2N2S0.
    Stage IIB
    Treatment RPLND deferred due to health. 4xEP

  • #2
    MY thoughts are the just because our cancer is curable does not mean our fight to get the cure was in any way small. I am able to minister by letting them know that I have walked in their shoes. I was sick for weeks, mouth sores, hospital stays etc. as well as knowing the feeling of is all this worth it. Of course I know the answer but before Cancer and Chemo I had never walked in their shoes. Don't feel guilt that your is curable, dig in and fight with those you minister.

    Diagnosed 4/12/12
    AFP 31, HCG 32
    I/O 4/25/12
    Nonseminoma Stage 1S
    Embryonal Carcinoma 95%, Yolk Sac 5%
    Lymphatic Invasion, Markers did not normalize
    BEPx3 Finished 8/5/12
    Post Chemo APF 2 HCG Undetectable


    • #3
      As a doctor who has done some oncology in my early years I can say that our chemo for TC is really no different from other people's experience with other cancers. Having watched my mother have chemo and radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer then yes I can say there was little difference. I also work with someone who has had chemo and radiotherapy for breast cancer who during her chemo spent the day vomiting into a bucket. All chemo is poison, with the expectation that it will poison cancer cells more than normal cells. However, there is a price to pay in side effects; the experience of which can be very individual.

      Why do it? Because of the hope of cure. When I see people in my clinics who tell me they have had treatment for cancer we have a common bond. When they disclose this to me I often tell then I know how tough this must have been for them as I have had treatment and we instantly connect regardless of the cancer type or treatment given. We have been at that "bridge" and have been fortunate in not having had to cross. Like military veterans we have survived but in doing so we mourn those who have not. Why have we survived and not others? That is not for us to determine.
      16 Dec 09 2.7 cm mass
      18 Dec 09 Right I/O
      Mixed germ cell - EC, chorio, seminoma
      5 Jan 10 CT scan - negative; Stage 1b
      3 Mar 10 CT scan - positive nodes; Stage IIa
      29th March to 11th June 4xEP
      Neutropenic sepsis after cycle 4 of EP
      Post treatment CT scan - complete resolution
      42 month follow-up - all clear


      • #4
        "How does our chemo regimens stack up against others?"

        Well, I can give some insight.

        I've been through practically all the typical TC chemos: 4xBEP, 2xHDC (carboplatin + etoposide), 3x oral etoposide.

        also had 3 rounds of a typical colon cancer chemo: FOLFIRI + avastin.

        and 3 rounds of a typical breast cancer chemo: herceptin + perjeta + taxotere.

        All of them have sucked in their own ways. The various chemos have killed my tasted buds, caused extreme nausea, uncontrollable diarrhea, really painful rashes, feeling so weak I couldn't get out of bed, the list goes on and on.

        I can't really say I would choose one over another...chemo sucks, period.
        7/25/12 : dx stage IIIC- nonseminoma (yolk sac)
        7/30/12-10/15/12 : 4xBEP
        12/12/12 - 12/16/12: 1X TIP
        1/10/13 - 2/21/13: 2X HDC @ IU