WhatNexters Surviving Terminal Cancer

by Brittany McNabb

Whether it is 2 months or 2 years no one wants to be given an expiration date. The good news is that no one can predict the future. Below are a handful of perspectives from WhatNexters who are beating the odds. 

Surviving Terminal Cancer

"Every diagnosis should be accompanied by a written note saying: 'Take everything you just heard with a grain of salt. No one can predict the future. Don't panic. And remember you still need to look both ways before crossing the street.'" - Clyde

Focus on those that have beat insurmountable odds. - ajf

Phillie G Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter PhillieG)

WhatNexter PhillieG received a diagnosis of stage IV colorectal cancer about 9 years ago. Despite several surgeries, chemo, radiation, bouts with other side effects, and pneumonia, PhillieG keeps a positive attitude and outlook on his life...

"I am living with cancer and in some ways that makes me unique. But I have cancer. Cancer doesn't have me. I try to keep a positive attitude and I rely on the best medical team I have found. If you are a person who follows the statistics say 5% or 7% for x amount of years, I always felt, 'Why can't I be a part of that small percentage?' I have just as much a chance as the next person and that is what I look to." 

No one is allowed to rob you of hope. - kiki95632

Marycam Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter marycamp, son, and granddaughter)

WhatNexter kiki95632 has lived 8 years passed her prognosis...

"My first oncologist gave me an expiration date back on 2006. I couldn't believe that I had one, something like a carton of milk. The stubborn part of me got mad and I made up my mind that I would not accept it. I found a new doctor and now it is 2014 and I have been on chemo more times than I can think but have celebrated my remissions with celebrations that have been awesome. No one can give you an expiration date, for if you believe it, it robs you of hope."

Only God has power over life and death. - jewelhaque

Glam Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter glam)

WhatNexter glam was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at a time in her life when her husband was also fighting cancer. A cancer diagnosis was the last thing on her mind. After two years of having no evidence of disease glam says...

"I am a stage IVB colon cancer survivor. I am NED since November 2012 and doctors told me at that time when I was diagnosed that I had only 6 months of life and that I should not take any treatment as it would make me weaker. I decided to fight and I was aggressive against cancer. So here I am. To all old and new cancer patients, please never ever give up. Grab God's hand and move forward for with him nothing is impossible."

Don't look at the odds unless you plan to beat them. - BoiseB

Boiseb Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter BoiseB)

In the picture above, BoiseB is standing at the top of a hill near her home that she vowed to climb through her cancer journey to prove to herself that cancer wouldn't stop her. She made it to the top just like she said she would. WhatNexter BoiseB has also beat her odds by 4 years and plans on beating another one come September 2014...

"My doctors are great with the gloomy predictions. March 19, 2010 I was given 2 to 4 months to live. I went for my surgery, dear old Dr. Doom said I had only an 8% chance of surviving the surgery. I survived anyway. Last February, the cancer came back and brought a friend, I now have two cancers one at stage III and one at stage IV. Dr. Doom has stamped my expiration date for Sept 2014. Odds that I will survive to meet the five year mark are 1% . I just had scans done on Wednesday and I think I have a pretty good chance of passing that expiration date too."

Aim for the winning end of the bell curve. - melanomamama

Melanomamama Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter melanomamama)

WhatNexter melanomama has beat her odds twice and is over a year past her second prognosis...

"In 2008, when I was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma, my first oncologist gave me mixed messages. He said, "Get your affairs in order," so I assume his prognosis was that I had only months to live. At the same time, he told me about the 'Bell Curve,' where the average longevity of most patients is lumped in the center, but a few patients live less than average, and a few live longer than average. He encouraged me to hope I would be on the winning end of the bell curve, which I was. After successful surgery, immunotherapy and radiation, my prognosis changed to "as many as 20 more years!" But when the cancer returned in my brain, I asked point blank what that did to my expected longevity. He told me "nine months." That was two years ago!" 

Ignore the doomsayers and fight. - Petunia


(WhatNexter jbuchikos23)

WhatNexter Petunia with stage IV colon cancer, has lived with terminal cancer for 3 years and continues to fight everyday...

"I have Stage 4 colon cancer. I never asked for an expiration date since I decided to fight. Diagnosed in May 2011, still undergoing chemo but I am alive. Still fighting and not discouraged. To fight this horrible disease you have to continue to fight and fight. Always believe that only God can decide, not the doomsayers."

There's no such thing as a "sell-by" date. - Clyde

Powerofhope Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter powerofhope)

WhatNexter powerofhope was first diagnosed with advanced cancer in 1999 at the age of 29 years old. He faced a poor prognosis and four recurrences of cancer. He has always rejected the numbers and percentages and instead sought out long-term survivors that could help him through his journey...

"On my fourth time with cancer I found a 28-year survivor and a 10-year survivor within seconds. My whole mindset changed in an instant. I would learn that the 10-year survivor had started a website and a support group that worked through email. I joined immediately and was so inspired by all of the members of the group, which consisted of survivors of other types of brain tumors - I had hope. Hope led to an absolute belief that I would survive."

There is such a thing as remission. - laurasalzy

Cancer Free Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter lisanne6usa)

In January 2011 WhatNexter laurasalzy was sent home to die after being told there was nothing more her doctors could do. Three years later she is in remission...

"My oncologist never gave me a survival rate and said each case was different. But the second opinion doctor he sent me to told me I had about 8 months. That was in August 2010. I went to MD Anderson for chemo and after five months, they said there was nothing more they could do, that the cancer was not going away, so I went home to die. God is good because I am now in remission." 

Manage your day-to-day life. - SueRae1

Suerae1 Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter SueRae1)

WhatNexter SueRae1 is living with stave IV breast cancer and advanced kidney cancer. She tries to keep her attitude up everyday; her cancers are currently under control and shrinking. Her tip to WhatNexters with terminal cancer is to manage day-to-day life and emotions and seek help when needed...

"Some days are better then others. One thing that really helped me a lot was seeing a therapist who specializes in treating cancer patients. She was able to help me focus on the positive and things that I could still do, and manage my day-to-day life and emotions. You might want to to ask you oncology team and/or a social worker for a recommendation."

Go into survivor mode. - Gardener

Jodyrj Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter jodyrj)

WhatNexter Gardener was diagnosed with stage IV Uterine Cancer in November 2012. After finishing chemo in April 2013 there is now no evidence of the disease. Her advice to those with terminal cancer is to...

"Treasure the time you will be getting with family and friends. We have to be in the mode of survival and because what will be, will be. No sense wasting time thinking of the end- we don't know it anyway. Just say "I love you" one more time so you know that you made a difference. There is no sense in living with regrets. Try all that is possible and keep your attitude and strength up."

Remember all the people that are rooting for you. - kevin_ryan

Fredreiss Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter fredreiss and Medical Team)

In August 2012 WhatNexter kevin_ryan was given 2 to 4 months to live. A year later he is staring down the barrel of another poor prognosis. He says he has no other option but to fight because he knows his loved ones will be rooting for him until the end...

"I was diagnosed in August 2012 and told that I had 2-4 months. My diagnosis was stage IV rectal cancer but I am still here. My oncologist told me that with chemo I would last about 20 months, which puts my expiration at the end of February. I have so many people praying for me that love me that I feel an obligation to be here for them well beyond that date. I will keep fighting every day."

Statisticians are often wrong. - Fusionera

Fusionera Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter Fusionera)

WhatNexter Fusionera has gone two decades past her prognosis; this case alone should be incentive to fight. Fusionera says...

"When I was diagnosed with my brain tumor on September 8, 1995, my doctors told my parents, 'We'll do everything we can to make her comfortable.' I was given a few months at best. Now I am nearing two decades of survival beyond my expiration date. Incidentally, my initial "expiration date" was around December 1995. My first recurrence was in April 1996, which would make my "new" expiration date October 1996. It is now 2014. This is why I poke fun at statisticians!"

Take care of yourself and good things may come. - BarbarainBham

Lirasgirl Advanced Cancer
(WhatNexter Lirasgirl33)

WhatNexter BarbarainBham finds inspiration to fight her prognosis from a friend who lived 30 years with the word 'terminal'...

"I knew a lady who, like myself, had a poor prognosis. She was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer over 30 years ago. They said she had less than 6 months, but treated it aggressively, and she went into remission. Her cancer came back a couple of times, but she didn't pass until last winter at age 90 -- not bad to be "terminal" for 30 years! Her daughter claims her mother lived that long because of eating green vegetables, taking care of herself, plus her attitude of loving life and having fun!"

X, y, or z months is just a number. - Janetspringer

Marianne T Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter MarianneT and friends)

WhatNexter fastdog has an advanced and rare cancer and has lived with this diagnosis for two years. She has seen friends face daunting odds as they continue to live year after year. She won't stop fighting...

"I'm Stage IV, been here two years after that diagnosis, and I'd probably had cancer for years before that. They can call it Stage IV, they can call it a barn door, it's only a word, an estimate, a GUESS. Please never let what someone tells you rule your life. I know more than one person who was sent home to die, and they just didn't get around to doing so. A friend's husband was sent home from the hospital after being told he would die in a matter of weeks. That was well over a year ago, and he just got back from Disneyland!"

There are more factors to cancer than the stage. - banditwalker

Banditwalker Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter banditwalker's beloved pet)

Six months ago WhatNexter banditwalker wad diagnosed with stage IIIB breast cancer. She holds onto stories from other WhatNexters that have lived with advanced stage cancer. She says...

"Keep in mind that there is more to evaluating a cancer than just the stage. All kinds of factors come under question. I believe the more you know about every detail the more you will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully soon you will be able to see that there is a chance and it can be done. There is a bunch of great people here with a lot of inspiring stories." - banditwalker

Plan on beating it and go from there. - Lirasgirl33

Lirasgirl33 Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter Lirasgirl33 and her husband)

Lirasgirl33 is one of our encouraging WhatNexters who continues to declare that she is beating the odds. She says that she simply made a plan to beat them and went from there as if giving up wasn't even an option...

"I wasn't told a prognosis. Just that I was young and had strength to get through this. When cancer metastasized I was curious and asked what the prognosis was, hesitantly I was told 2 years with treatment. With God's help I plan on beating the odds."

In the face of your prognosis you can do wonderful things. - Terri

Terri Advanced Cancer

(WhatNexter Terri)

In June 2009 WhatNexter Terri was told she had 3 to 6 months to live. Five years and four clinical trials later she is still here and expecting a grandchild in March...

"I was told I had 3-6 months to live in June 2009. I got my things in order and bought my cremation. I was very depressed. I am still here after 4 clinical trials. None of them were deemed a success but I am still here. There is always hope. I still have stage 4 melanoma, but I have had time to do wonderful things. I am expecting a grandchild in March. I am so blessed."

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