About Me

It's May 2013 and I have a shiny new diagnosis of tongue cancer. More specifically HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma with a couple of associated necrotic lymph nodes.

Oh Boy!

I happen to work in the cancer business. I work for a major pharmaceutical company building software tools for biologists and computational biologists. I've learned a little bit about cancer biology and genetics and a little bit about "personalized medicine." This blog is mainly a way to share this fun little excursion with my family, friends and coworkers. I'll mix my personal treatment experiences with the medical and scientific context in which they occurs. I love to learn, and I love to share what I learn.

Many people respond to a cancer diagnosis with anger. In a quick survey of other "cancer blogs" I see plenty of shouts of "Fuck Cancer!" and "I'm gonna kick cancer's ass!" I don't feel especially angry. My coping skill of choice is sarcasm (which is, of course, just anger in a bad disguise). Thus the title of this blog.

Perhaps one explanation for my lack of anger is the specific type of cancer I have and the fact that its cause is known. I didn't get cancer from not eating right or not exercising enough or not using sunscreen or smoking or drinking too much. I thoroughly enjoyed the activity that gave me this cancer. It's just a hand I've been dealt. It sucks. Now I'll play it.

Welcome to Cancer Fun Time! Who could imagine anything more fun than cancer?

3 comments:

  1. We find sarcasm is an excellent coping skill for dealing with problem adult children too. :)

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  2. Greetings,
    My name is Dr. Dana Hansen, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Kent State University. You can learn more about me by visiting my faculty web page at http://www.kent.edu/nursing/facstaff/bio/~dhansen1/
    We are contacting you because you are listed as the contact person of the blog. My research team and I are interested in learning about the family caregiver’s experience with reading their loved one’s illness blog.
    A family caregiver is someone who provides emotional, spiritual, or physical care or support to a loved one.
    I was inspired to conduct this research during my sister-in-law’s journey through breast cancer. After interacting on her blog, I began to wonder what it was like for her husband (family caregiver) to read her blog. The family caregiver of the person who is writing the illness blog can find out more about our study by going to our study website: https://nursing.kent.edu/caretaker. There is a screen for you to share your contact information if you are interested in participating.
    After we receive your information, we will contact you to discuss the study further and establish a time to conduct a 1 hour phone or Skype (your choice) interview. During the interview, we will ask questions about your experience as a caregiver interacting with your loved one on an illness blog. A nominal onetime payment of $50.00 will be mailed to you once the interview is complete.
    Participation is voluntary. Refusal to take part in the study involves no penalty or loss of benefits to which participants are otherwise entitled. Participants may withdraw from or stop the study at any time without penalty or loss of benefits to which they are otherwise entitled.
    If you are not the family caregiver of the person with a serious illness, please forward this information to someone who is.
    Thank you for your time and consideration,
    Dr. Dana Hansen
    Dana Hansen RN, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Kent State University, College of Nursing
    113 Henderson Hall, P. O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242

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  3. Hello, I wanted to drop in a comment and thank you for creating/writing this blog. I was diagnosed with stage-IV HNSCC due to HPV T-16 in January of 2016. Since then, your blog has laid out a play-by-play of my experience: 3 rounds of high-dose cisplatin, 7 weeks of radiation, surgeries, surgical procedures, feeding tube, etc. Your candor and humor has been much appreciated.

    As of now (mid July 2017) I’m just under 18 months since diagnosis and just over 12 months since the end of my treatment. I’ve also been an on/off again avid-ish cyclist since the 90’s, and three days ago I was able to complete a one-day STP, a feat that my chemo doc described as “laughable” and “not a reasonable expectation” just a few months ago. I’m back to cycling, climbing (rock/glacier), backpacking, riding my motorcycle, etc.

    I just received another set of clear scans a couple of weeks ago and am looking forward to my next set in December. I’m now halfway through that stressful “two year” period of likely recurrence, and am hopeful/optimistic about my chances at long-term recovery.

    Again, thank you for creating this blog. It is so informative, humorous, and well-written that I didn’t feel the need to create my own. Let me know if you make it out this way (I’m in the Seattle area) for the STP one of these years or if you end up doing the RAMROD (it’s been on my list for a long time).

    Your friend in survival, Barry.

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