Nephilim's Journey with Stomach Cancer

Survivor: Stomach Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 12 years ago, Male, Age: 34

  1. 1
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was 22. The FIRST thing the doctor said to me was "You have an 8-14% chance of surviving the next five years. I can't imagine you have many affairs at your age (I think he was attempting to make a joke??), but you should get them in order." Stage 4B stomach cancer.

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  2. 2
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    They immediately removed roughly half of my stomach and large portions of my intestines, and (in a separate surgery, I still don't know why), a part of my liver and several lymph nodes.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Weight loss

    Side Effects

    (Obviously.) They wanted to do adjuvant chemo, but had to wait until after my body figured itself out. I went from 140 lbs to 100 in a few days (I'm 5'8). I had to eat 6000 calories a day, with half a stomach, no matter how tired I was (very, all the time) or how often I vomited (which was often).

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  4. 4
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Cancer has spread/Metastasized

    Oh No

    It hadn't 'spread', they just discovered that they hadn't removed all of it.

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  5. 5
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Money

    Oh No

    ...didn't have any of that left. Or any health insurance.

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  6. 6
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Clinical Trial

    Didn't join one, so much as one was created to figure out why a 22 year old had stomach cancer seen in eastern European Jewish men over 60, with no genetic linkage to eastern European Jews.

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  7. 7
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Decision Point

    I actually considered turning down the chemo, and walking away. In my head I just kept hearing "8%" over and over again. Life hadn't exactly been amazing up until that point, so I thought I'd be okay just letting it go. This started a process of burning bridges (more like just backing away from them slowly) that I still haven't fully repaired.

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  8. 8
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I was consistently the youngest patient in the room, by about thirty years. I'd repeatedly get told I 'should have no problem' because I was 'so young and healthy'. Ha!

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  9. 9
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Removed the rest of the resectable tumor(s).

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  10. 10
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Other

    Side Effects

    Don't want to put up a new thing for each side effect, since there were so many. Tired all the time, hair loss (even though my head was usually buzzed, I managed to freak out anyway. I lost my eyebrows!), my teeth (already very soft, but well taken care of) started degrading, which still impacts my social life, depression, I peed myself three or four times in public (wee!), etc.

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  11. 11
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Decision Point

    I still had not told my family I had cancer. The surgeries/ chemo all happened in such rapid succession... Which, okay, while that is true, really I just didn't want to tell them. Part of it is that it felt like it would be saying goodbye, part of it is that I was raised to 'handle my own problems', usually in such a way as to actually end up being detrimental, and the majority of it was that if I told my mother, it would not be that I had cancer, it would be that she had a son who had cancer, and could everyone just please console her, because that is so very tough on a mother, yada yada. I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to tell them-- and not telling them meant not telling most people, so it wouldn't get back to them. There was a lot of fear. I never stopped to consider how badly I needed support, and how thoroughly I was cheating myself by not getting help. I never told my family. To this day, the words 'lazy' and 'scrawny' are probably the most commonly used terms my mother uses to describe me.

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  12. 12
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    May 21st, 2006. No malignancies, tumor markers at an acceptable level. I send my (original) doctor a birthday card, made out to me, for five years from that date. I let him know that I'm going to outlive him. 8% can suck it.

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  13. 13
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Relationship

    Loss

    Met a former boyfriend (I'm gay, holla) the June after my treatment was finished. He knew about the cancer, but it was never discussed in detail. Almost two years into the relationship, there's a tumor scare (benign). He informs me that if I get 'sick' again, he won't take care of me. I leave him, healthy, two months later.

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  14. 14
    • Nephilim
    • Experience with Stomach Cancer
    almost 6 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    May 21, 2011. All scans clear. I celebrate with my family of choice deep in the heart of Texas!

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