I rememember when I was first diagnosed back in 1988. All I wanted to hear was that I could beat my cancer. I had never heard of a success story, let alone my particular cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I wanted to meet anyone, ANYONE who had taken this beast on and meet them. Unfortunately I did not have the internet, or Facebook, or any other digital media. I had heard only of a long lost friend of one of my uncles, and a New York Giants football player, named Carl Nelson. While I was encouraged by my uncle’s friend’s longevity, twenty years, it was unlikely that I would ever get to meet him. Nelson on the other hand, was not far from me, just up the New Jersey turnpike. I wrote to him to see if he could offer me any kind of encouragement. I never heard anything back.
Many months later, after I completed my treatments, I made a promise to myself that I would do whatever I could to get the message out, one person at a time if I had to, that cancer could be beat. That there was life after cancer. All I needed was a medium to communicate it. I started counseling cancer patients through the American Cancer Society and a peer-to-peer program called “Cansurmount” which matched up patients by their cancers. Unfortunately, volunteers were short to come by and doctors were put off by their concerns that as survivors, we might offer medical advice, which I never have and never will, delaying or even cancelling treatments by other patients.
Of course a few years later, the internet came along, for me anyway (I did not buy the original Nintendo until the Xbox came out either). And here I am now, in 2014, my second year of writing “Paul’s Heart”.
Please, feel free to share your stories with me. I have a large number of followers growing every day. If you have been inspired by my story of survival, share yours as well. You can either post it hear on this blog, or on the “Paul’s Heart” Facebook page. But take this chance to inspire others, give hope, that someday, cancer will be beat.