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Software for the finest computer – The Mind

TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART I

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 16, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A personal look at what goes on during such a fight.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

tbliver1I’ve got cancer; Stage 2 liver cancer to be precise. I’ve been sitting on this piece of news for some time now and have only shared it with family and close personal friends as I didn’t want to be awash in sympathy cards and notes through social media; I still don’t want to hear it. I’m going to beat this devil, which is probably what every person diagnosed with some form of cancer says, but I think I have a good medical team in place and I am optimistic. I am therefore writing this to let people know what it is like to go through this process, what goes through a patient’s head, and hopefully help someone along the way.

Years ago, I wrote a column titled, “Cancer, the Big Kahuna” of diseases which described the various forms of the disease. Since then, I have lost a lot of friends to the many forms of it, e.g., pancreatic, lung, brain, and more. Each had a unique experience in their battle with it. I realize there is no super-cure for cancer, but we have still made considerable progress during my lifetime. As of this writing, I am in my 67th year on this planet and there is still a lot I want to do with my life, but I am now mindful I have a problem and will watch the clock carefully.

What triggered all this was a routine review of my blood by my primary care physician who informed me my platelet count was falling. According to the National Cancer Institute, “a platelet is a tiny, disc-shaped piece of cell that is found in the blood and spleen. Platelets are pieces of very large cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding and to help wounds heal. Having too many or too few platelets or having platelets that don’t work as they should can cause problems. Checking the number of platelets in the blood may help diagnose certain diseases or conditions.”

To check on this, I was turned over to a specialist who ordered a biopsy of my bone marrow as produced from my hip. As it turned out, I was producing a lot of good blood, but something was eating up the platelets. This resulted in a series of tests, including an MRI, CTscan, and another biopsy on my liver. After all this, I was called in to speak to the doctor who broke “the news” to me. He was all business and “matter-of-fact” in his demeanor, and I appreciated his brutal honesty and professionalism, even though this wasn’t the news I hoped to hear. I learned a long time ago in business of the necessity of not sugar-coating anything of a serious nature. Political correctness be damned.

As I drove home, “the news” started to sink in and I found myself in a Twilight Zone or fog, wondering how the hell I got cancer. It was a very odd feeling, particularly since I feel pretty healthy right now.

There was no real history of cancer in my family, other than my maternal grandmother who fought and lost to cervical cancer, but neither my mother or father had any trace of the disease. I was asked if I had any exposure to Hepatitis C or a dirty needle; none to my knowledge. I was also asked if I used excessive alcohol; I said “No” as I consider myself a social drinker. The only other possibility was that I had become rather heavy years ago which may have created a “fatty liver” which would lead to cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer. For those of you who remember, I threw off considerable weight some time ago. I also stopped drinking a few weeks ago after hearing “the news,” which is helping me to lose weight.

Another thing I thought about while traveling home was Mickey Mantle, the legendary New York Yankee slugger who I revered as a kid. In 1995 he succumbed to an aggressive case of liver cancer. The doctors tried to give him a donor liver to solve the problem, but this didn’t occur. This too passed through my mind. Something else, for five years I was the primary caregiver for both my wife and mother who lost their battles to COPD. I find it rather ironic that I am now the patient and not the caregiver, something I never thought would happen.

The first thing I did when I got home was to “circle the wagons.” I reviewed the results with my former primary care physician who retired a couple of years ago and lives nearby. He read through the documentation carefully and clarified a few things my doctor had mentioned to me. I also reviewed it with a friend who is a retired Oncologist. He too confirmed the findings of my Doctor. I consider myself to be fortunate to have two friends from the medical community who could coach me accordingly.

As mentioned, I notified family and friends about my condition which surprised just about everyone. I asked them to keep this quiet while I tried to sort out what to do. One was a breast cancer survivor who fought her battle just a couple of years ago, so she was particularly sympathetic with my plight. My immediate family was very supportive, but I am determined not to let this have an adverse effect on their lives.

As some of you may know, I lost my wife almost two years ago. Recently though, a lady friend has entered my life who also fought and beat breast cancer about five years ago. She has been a tower of strength to lean on and I appreciate her candor on the subject. This group represents my safety net which I think is natural for humans to create as we want as much advice as possible

One of the first tasks I performed after learning of “the news” was to have my will and related estate paperwork updated. I had not reviewed the documents since we left Cincinnati in 1985. As good as it was, it still needed some updating which a local attorney handled promptly. He also helped me prepare a Power of Attorney, and a living will. This is something I should have been more mindful of, but finally put it to bed.

Following the initial shock, I then underwent a battery of tests and visited specialists who confirmed my diagnosis and discussed various treatments. The tests revealed the tumors were localized in the liver and not spreading. I also discovered how liver cancer is treated is not quite the same as with other forms of the disease. For example, chemotherapy is not applicable in this case. A liver transplant is one option, but I was told mine should be handled differently. In addition, surgery could be used to cut out the tumors and the liver can grow back. Unfortunately, in my situation, there would be a lot to cut out and my liver would never recover. The final treatment, and the one I will be undergoing, is to go in with vascular surgery and cut the blood vessels in the liver feeding the tumors, thereby killing them. So, the lesson learned here was: keep an open mind and consider all options. My doctor friends, as mentioned earlier, agreed this was the right road for me to take.

It is unlikely the surgeon would get 100% of everything on the first pass, so I might have to undergo the same treatment a second (or third) time until it has all been eradicated.

So, how do I feel about all this prior to embarking on my therapy? At first I was a bit in shock. As I said, physically I feel fine right now which caused me to disbelieve I have a problem. Then you ask yourself, “Why me?” Once you get past this stage you start focusing on the problem with a clearer head. More than anything, I appreciate the professionalism of my medical team. This has given me a sense of confidence and optimism.

Am I scared? I suppose I should be, but I have lived a good life, have seen a lot of the world, met a lot of people, and I’m proud of my family. Instead of being scared though, I have been preparing myself mentally as if I was going into a football game much like when I was a young man. I am not so much concerned facing a formidable opponent and getting hurt, but I am now focused on beating my enemy on his home turf. I realize pain will be part of the game, but I believe I can take it. Frankly, I like my odds of winning.

One last thing I’ve noticed since my diagnosis. The next day, I went to a local family-style restaurant I frequent and ordered my meal. Across the room in a booth, an argument erupted between a husband and wife. From what I gathered, it had something to do with simply keeping the house clean. It turned rather loud and nasty with a few choice expletives thrown in for good measure. To me, it seemed blown out of proportion. I just looked on in disbelief at the rage over something rather innocuous as cleaning a house. It was then that I realized we as humans tend to worry about the wrong things.

Now on to the next stage: implementation, which will occur shortly.

Remember this: all of this was triggered by a simple and routine blood test.

Again, please no sympathy cards or notes. A little prayer wouldn’t hurt though.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

27 Responses to “TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART I”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A J.F. of Cincinnati, OH wrote…

    “‘Frankly, I like my odds of winning’ is by far my favorite line!

    I hated telling people what I was going through and so I decided to just put it out there on social media (sort of like quickly pulling off a bandaid) and get it done. I believe that I benefited by telling friends because let’s face it, you can never have too many people care, love, and pray for you.”

    A K.L. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “Wow Tim. You wrote the article in pure Tim style. Straight forward and to the point. You’re a fighter and will beat it!”

    A C.M. of Tampa Bay, Florida wrote…

    “As an experienced cancer survivor, you are handling it just right. During treatment let those closest to you know and understand at times you just might want to be alone. It is because you will quietly need to tweak your thoughts and mindset to do battle. I wish you a safe journey in all aspects. No fear.”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A C.M. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “I was beside my husband through his fight with Multiple Myeloma! Positivity is key and it sounds like you’re there, along with a good relationship with your medical team. The one thing I wish I had done was to keep a diary……blessings to you Tim.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An H.N. of East Lake, Florida wrote…

    “You have the right attitude to fight this cancer! I had breast cancer years ago and survived. Know you can too! Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with!”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A J.N. of Tampa Bay, Florida wrote…

    “Thanks for the frank Article/Audio. Prayers will continue. Keep the Faith, my Brother.”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A P.T. of Washington, D.C. wrote…

    “Thanks for sharing this Tim — if anybody can beat this, you can, and it sounds like you’ve got a great team on your side.”

    A W.B. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Optimism in the face of some adversity. Good for you, Tim. Trusting your doctors is half the battle. You’re in good hands.”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    My interview from Monday on Conservative Commandos (Washington, DC) with George Landrith and Rick Trader where we discussed my column, “Tim’s Fight with Cancer” (26:22 in length).
    [audio src="http://www.phmainstreet.com/audio/cc_11_15_2021.mp3" /]

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    An L.M. of Atlanta, Georgia wrote…

    “All you can do is fight the good fight and live your best life! Glad you have a good support system, but am here if you ever want to chat.”

    Like

  8. Tim Bryce said

    A C.M. of Mason, Ohio wrote…

    “Tim, it sounds like you are very prepared mentally and emotionally to kick cancer’s butt. I’m certain cancer has no idea who it is up against. Keep the faith and keep us posted.”

    An S.H. of Los Angeles, California wrote…

    “As a survivor, I get you. Here’s to bolstering your strength and resolve! Prayers!”

    An A.L. of Cincinnati, Ohio wrote…
    “Having a positive attitude is a large part of the battle, and you already have that!”

    Like

  9. skyblue2day said

    “it was then that I realized we as humans tend to worry about the wrong things.” I had to take a pause after this line.

    Thank you for sharing this experience, Tim. You will in my morning prayers. I’ll continue to follow your strength and victory over cancer.

    Like

  10. Tim Bryce said

    An L.S. of Tampa Bay, Florida wrote…

    “Thank you for your candor and sharing your story. Praying you make a full recovery.”

    Like

  11. Tim Bryce said

    A B.B. of Athens, Ohio wrote…

    “Wishing you well Brother in your fight. Your Brothers are on your side!”

    Like

  12. Wanda Kimsey said

    Tim,

    Just wanted to let you know my prayers are with you! I know you said no notes- but felt it was important to tell you there are a lot of people praying for you. I am a strong believer in miracles and the power of prayers. Nothing is impossible with or for God. Jeremiah 32:17, 27.

    God bless you – Wanda

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tim Bryce said

    A K.R. of Tarpon Springs, Florida wrote…

    “You are amazing.”

    Like

  14. Tim Bryce said

    A D.B. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Praying for you as you go through this fight.”

    Like

  15. Tim Bryce said

    A D.L. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “I will keep you in my prayers my Brother.”

    An M.B. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “I will keep you in my prayers my Brother.”

    A J.P. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Hi Tim, I just read this and will join you and others in prayer as you journey through this. This verse is Psalm 91:1 (It was appropriately placed as “911” in the Bible): “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.'”

    A J.D. in Colorado wrote…

    “Very well said. Keep the faith and prayers are on the way.”

    Like

  16. Tim Bryce said

    An S.G. of Idaho wrote…

    “Tim, thank you so much for sharing. You have an amazing attitude and I am praying for your speedy recovery as well as for wisdom for your team of doctors! Positive thoughts from one end of the country to another!”

    An A.L. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Prayers and hugs Tim. Stay strong.”

    A B.A.C. of Atlanta, Georgia wrote…

    “How about a laugh moment? I had a cancer diagnosis in 2013. It was called meta plastic carcinoma. In the shock of hearing it, I heard “metastasized” and went right home and looked it up! Didn’t get it clarified for a couple days. It’s funny now but not so much then. Take care of you Tim, it’s as important as the doctors treatment! You got this Tim!”

    An M.D. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “Just heard it yesterday, Brother Tim. You will be in our prayers every day and you will beat this.”

    An M.C. of East Lake, Florida wrote…

    “You are on my prayer list. Keep the faith!”

    Like

  17. Wayne Broen said

    I am sorry to hear that you have to endure this process. At the same, I am hoping that you are early enough in this diagnosis that will allow the process to be successful. The key here to to beat it down to avoid the spreading to other organs. The liver has great regenerative ability but it is also a main pipeline to other organs. We are at an age where every visit to the doctor yields another journey for us. I see the doctor about once a quarter and dread every trip. My mind conjures up things that I am sure will one day become a challenge for me. Cancer is a strange circumstance that, to me, more than anything else, robs people of their hope and the desire to fight it. Please do not give and go there. Take things a day at a time and keep doing what you do, like writing, to give yourself a focus and a continuing desire to stay strong and fight your best fight. I have a friend who has beaten cancer, but psychologically, he has given up and when that happens hope dies rapidly. I think you are stronger than that and I pray that you will see enough success early on to motivate you to carry on. Keep us posted, Tim, even if it is just to talk.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tim Bryce said

    An R.G. of Hinsdale, Illinois wrote…

    “I appreciated reading your story. So few share so candidly and frankly. You are an inspiration. I will keep you in my prayers for health and healing. Tim. Stay strong dear one!”

    A J.M. of Blue Ridge, Georgia wrote…

    “You have exactly the right attitude. Thanks for sharing your battle looking forward to reading about the victory celebration.”

    An M.B. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Thanks for sharing your story Tim, keep writing. You have many more chapters!”

    An M.L. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Hang in there Tim….you have a lot of support from your peeps.”

    An L.S, of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “You’re a fighter; you’ll have ups and downs, but you will win and be on top. My prayerss are with you.

    A C.P. of Tarpon Springs, Florida wrote…

    “Thank you for the article Tim. Our prayers to you my friend.”

    Like

  19. Bill and Cindy LeVan (friends of Jon and Gail Schier) said

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May your faith help you meet this challenge with strength and positivity. As others have said we are believers in prayer that will continue to be with you. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Worthington, Ohop wrote…

    “Tim, thanks for putting into words what many go through. I survived a nasty throat cancer last year. Thoughts and prayers for your battle ahead. You will find that positive attitude and confidence in your team will carry you.”

    A P.S. of Michigan wrote…

    “Tim thanks for sharing! I will keep you in my prayers. You sound like in good hands and well prepared. Fight hard and go kick this!”

    Like

  21. Tim Bryce said

    A W.U. of Tampa Bay, Florida wrote…

    “Dear Lord,

    I lift up Tim, my good friend and fellow warrior, in this battle which we are having to ‘Take Back America.’ I need this young man which you have paired me with, to bring common sense back to our citizens.

    Therefore, each day my prayers will begin with my cry out to You, ‘Fill Tim’s body with Your Holy Spirit, with Your healing Grace. Heal him, restore his body to complete health. You have called Patriots like Tim and I to stand in the gap, to lead others; to inform many; and to encourage all. Lord, be with Tim’s medical team. Produce test results that are informative. Give wisdom to his doctors. Heal him before December 2!

    In Jesus’s precious name we pray. Amen.”

    Like

  22. Tim Bryce said

    A B.J. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “Sure would have liked to hear better news from you but glad to hear you’ve got this under control and will be taking swift action. I’ll be praying for you and adding you to our church prayer list.

    Also of concern is your lack of attention to legal matters. 1985? It’s about time you updated your will to include your kids and grandson. If I had known that, I would have reminded you to get that done a long time ago. Think of all that money your lawyer lost by you not revising your papers periodically.

    Please know that I’m here to help you or to just lend a friendly ear.”

    Like

  23. Tim Bryce said

    A C.C. of St. Petersburg, Florida wrote…

    “I love this too. I will include in my prayers as well. Tim Bryce thank you for sharing your story. It was very moving and reminds us all of how precious every day is. I’m proud to have you as a Political partner in the fight against tyranny. And join your newest battle in life.”

    An S.M. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “Sending you all our thoughts and prayers, Coach! If anyone can fight this thing, it’s you!”

    Like

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