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My story, all in one place September 1, 2009

Posted by PAS in cancer, survivorship.
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When I started this blog, it was to set down my thoughts about living with a Stage IV rectal cancer diagnosis. It was to tell my story out loud, and help me find a path through all of the last five+ years.

I’ve told the story many times — to newly diagnosed patients, to medical professionals, to co-workers and friends. But until today, I’d never really read my whole story all in a row from beginning to now, set down in one place.

This month, in the September Colon Cancer Alliance Buddy Program newsletter, CCA turned the spotlight on me. When Buddy Program co-coordinator Jeannie Moore asked me if I’d be willing to be in the spotlight, she asked if I’d share my story. So I wrote down it all down; today it was published on the CCA website as Pat’s Story in the Personal Stories section, under Stage IV.

I’ve been working as a CCA Buddy since I had my own first buddy, right before my first liver surgery in 2005. Buddies give support to other patients and caregivers as they navigate cancer treatment and their lives as patients and survivors. My story there is from beginning (diagnosis) to now, because my story is still being written. I’m not done yet — it’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.

Typically I don’t refer to my docs by full names (to preserve some shred of respect for our doctor-patient relationship). But today, reading my story all in a row, I want to name you all proudly and gratefully. I want to say each of your names out loud, in print, so that they are recorded somewhere forever, all in one place.

In central New York, my team includes Erik Daly, PCP; James Yurdin, neurologist; Joel Bass, urologist; Jeff Kirshner, oncologist; Dennis Kotlove, radiation oncologist; Jim Spano, ACSW (who helps me find sanity); and the wonderful staff of Hematology-Oncology Associates of Central NY.

In Manhattan, my team includes Nancy Kemeny, oncologist; Martin Weiser, colorectal surgeon; Brett Carver, urologic oncologist; William Jarnagin, hepatobiliary surgeon; all of the wonderful staff in CT scanning (we’re closing in on #60, gang!), the amazing nurses on the 15th floor at Memorial-Sloan Kettering main campus hospital on York Ave., and many other members of the MSKCC team who are too numerous to mention.

I couldn’t have done this without any of you. And while we may not always agree on everything, I’m awfully glad your efforts keep me around to have the conversations. Thanks, gang.

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1. Rotorhead - September 6, 2009

Well you didi it again. I’ve signed up for the program (we’ll see what comes of it, but I figure if I can help out more people this way, then it’s a good thing, right?).

Also am going to share my story – we’ll see if it makes the cut – and ensure the onc’s/chemo nurses at Tripler know of that resource. Thanks again Gaelen, you are making a difference.

2. gaelenscafe - September 6, 2009

Thanks yourself, RH — voices of real people help, and I’m sure your contribution will make a difference, too.

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