• RichardH's Avatar

    RichardH shared an experience

    Celebration (Anniversary): Dear Friends and Family,

    Today is my 13th anniversary since being diagnosed with lung cancer. I have been on a Pfizer clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering since February 2016. I am happy to report my last brain MRI was clear and the CT scans showed the small tumor is still stable.

    This year my favorite word is gratitude. I am feeling tremendous gratitude for Dr. Mark Stoopler and Dr. Roger Maxfield at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, Dr. Mark Riely at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Alice Shaw at Massachusetts General and Dr. David Walshin at Stamford Hospital for their guidance, encouragement and care. It definitely takes a village to keep me alive.

    This year, I struggled for the first time with pulmonary issues and a body beaten up by 13 years of cancer treatments. I realize things may not feel so good right now but I will get through this with tremendous support from my family and friends, and there will be another positive patch ahead when I feel better.

    If someone asks me how were the last 13 years-was it wasted or was it a time filled with lots of happiness and joy? I would say the cancer thing was a pain but for the most part I’ve had a wonderful life. This past year was filled with two moments I could only have hoped and dreamed for 13 years ago. Chris and I were married under a chuppah stitched with “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” surrounded by friends and family. Two months later, my son, Michael got married to Genae in the most beautiful outdoor setting. I was so grateful to be there and I could be his father from birth to that day.

    It has been said the quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships and that is true for me. Chris came into my life four years ago, when I almost gave up on finding love again. I told him, I cannot guarantee the future and things might not go as planned. But Chris signed on for my health roller coaster ride, he never thinks of me as sick and we have a great life. I am so grateful for his love always.

    Please never think I have given up on life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive. I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to spend more time with Chris and my family, to enjoy my favorite things like going to the beach or a Broadway show, to travel if I have the strength, to be an inspiration for others living with cancer and to achieve new levels of insight.

    I try to conclude my letters each year with a lesson learned. This year, I will quote, Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, who said to a friend reluctant about an upcoming birthday, “celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My mother used to say I was like Peter Pan because I did not want to get older. Now all I want is to get older. This year, I shed my Peter Pan costume and celebrated my 57th birthday. How grateful I am.

    I know how precious things are in life and how we need to savor them. I hope all of you do too.

    For the thirteenth straight year, I will end my letter by saying:
    Life goes on…thankfully.

    Here’s hoping for many more!

    Love,
    Richard

  • RichardH's Avatar

    RichardH shared a photo

    Wall_13th_anniversary_photo

    Dear Friends and Family,

    Today is my 13th anniversary since being diagnosed with lung cancer. I have been on a Pfizer clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering since February 2016. I am happy to report my last brain MRI was clear and the CT scans showed the small tumor is still stable.

    This year my favorite word is gratitude. I am feeling tremendous gratitude for Dr. Mark Stoopler and Dr. Roger Maxfield at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, Dr. Mark Riely at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Alice Shaw at Massachusetts General and Dr. David Walshin at Stamford Hospital for their guidance, encouragement and care. It definitely takes a village to keep me alive.

    This year, I struggled for the first time with pulmonary issues and a body beaten up by 13 years of cancer treatments. I realize things may not feel so good right now but I will get through this with tremendous support from my family and friends, and there will be another positive patch ahead when I feel better.

    If someone asks me how were the last 13 years-was it wasted or was it a time filled with lots of happiness and joy? I would say the cancer thing was a pain but for the most part I’ve had a wonderful life. This past year was filled with two moments I could only have hoped and dreamed for 13 years ago. Chris and I were married under a chuppah stitched with “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” surrounded by friends and family. Two months later, my son, Michael got married to Genae in the most beautiful outdoor setting. I was so grateful to be there and I could be his father from birth to that day.

    It has been said the quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships and that is true for me. Chris came into my life four years ago, when I almost gave up on finding love again. I told him, I cannot guarantee the future and things might not go as planned. But Chris signed on for my health roller coaster ride, he never thinks of me as sick and we have a great life. I am so grateful for his love always.

    Please never think I have given up on life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive. I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to spend more time with Chris and my family, to enjoy my favorite things like going to the beach or a Broadway show, to travel if I have the strength, to be an inspiration for others living with cancer and to achieve new levels of insight.

    I try to conclude my letters each year with a lesson learned. This year, I will quote, Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, who said to a friend reluctant about an upcoming birthday, “celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My mother used to say I was like Peter Pan because I did not want to get older. Now all I want is to get older. This year, I shed my Peter Pan costume and celebrated my 57th birthday. How grateful I am.

    I know how precious things are in life and how we need to savor them. I hope all of you do too.

    For the thirteenth straight year, I will end my letter by saying:
    Life goes on…thankfully.

    Here’s hoping for many more!

    Love,
    Richard


    This photo is from our wedding day with my son, Michael, his wife, Genae, Chris, me & my daughter, Rachel.
    June 5, 2016-Woodbury, CT.

    4 Comments
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Congratulations on the fabulous milestones, Richard!! Thanks for sharing them with us!

      2 months ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      So happy for you both medically and personally. May your health continue to be good and happiness shine on all aspects of your life!

      2 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Congratulations So happy for you

      2 months ago
  • RichardH's Avatar

    RichardH shared a photo

    Wall_dsc03449

    April 12, 2015

    Dear Friends and Family,

    Today is my 11th anniversary since being diagnosed with lung cancer. I dedicate today to the other 15 million cancer survivors in the United States. A person is regarded as a cancer survivor at the moment their disease is detected.

    I am proud to be a survivor. One thing you accept as a cancer survivor is the realization you can never return to life as it was before the cancer diagnosis. Now, I am Richard with lung cancer. I can never go back to being just Richard again.

    But being a cancer survivor doesn’t have to define my life. I choose to live a little each day than die a little each day. In the book, Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand wrote, “You do not throw a whole lifetime away because it is banged up a bit.”

    This was a difficult health year as I was diagnosed with four new tumors. Fortunately, I started a new personal medicine, Zykadia from Novartis. Three of the tumors responded well to the new medicine; two died and one is shrinking. My radiation oncologist was able to kill the fourth tumor with pin point radiation. But the tumors and treatment reduced my pulmonary function. I am now exercising every day to increase my lung capacity and am thankful to have recovered 50% of the loss so far. And as Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

    When you have a diagnosis of cancer, you do think about your mortality but I will not let cancer break my positive spirit. As I continue to live with cancer, I continue to live a full life. I saw a poem once that said “The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy of life lies in not having goals to reach for.” I have lots of plans and hopefully nothing will interfere with them. I want to live my life like everyone else. What cancer has done for my life is to just make me pedal faster.

    The sportscaster, Stuart Scott, who recently passed away from cancer said “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live. So live. Fight like XXX and when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let someone else fight for you.” I am so fortunate to have my fiancé, Chris in my life. Some days I do not feel good and when I see Chris come through the front door my spirits are instantly lifted. He makes me feel safe and happy because I have someone wonderful to share good times, to survive the hard times and to keep me company all the time. Most importantly, he accepts who I am and who I am not.

    Finally, I am thrilled to announce our video, “Richard’s Rays of Hope” has exceeded all expectations. It has been viewed over 6,700 times around the world from the United States to Canada to Australia to Pakistan to Singapore. I believe we accomplished our goal of turning a negative diagnosis into a positive way of life by raising awareness and hope for people impacted by lung cancer.

    In honor of my 11th Anniversary, please tell someone you love that you love them.

    For the eleventh straight year, I will end my letter by saying:
    Life goes on…….thankfully.

    Here’s hoping for many more!

    Love,
    Richard

    Ps. Please “share”
    My Facebook page, Lung Cancer-Richards Rays of Hope at https://www.facebook.com/richardsraysofhope

    My video, Richard’s Rays of Hope at http://youtu.be/Yb_yULgxaJ0

    My Playbill.com story about my theater dates with Rachel at http://www.playbill.com/news/article/defying-the-odds-living-with-cancer-and-loving-broadway-with-my-daughter-a-readers-story-343202

    4 Comments
    • RichardH's Avatar
      RichardH

      Thank you GregP_WN for your good wishes!

      about 2 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      WONDERFUL!!!! It is great news and very encouraging to see someone celebrating 11 years as a cancer survivor!!!

      Congratulations!!!!

      about 2 years ago
    • RichardH's Avatar
      RichardH

      Thank you, LiveWithCancer. I wish you well. Richard

      about 2 years ago
  • RichardH's Avatar

    RichardH started following

    User: CancerNews

  • RichardH's Avatar

    RichardH shared a video

    After almost five months of production, I am thrilled and proud to announce the launch of our documentary, “Richard’s Rays of Hope.” The documentary shares my ten year lung cancer journey, and that of my family and loved ones, to create greater awareness and hope for people impacted by lung cancer.

    Please like and share our documentary with your friends and family (and ask them to do the same) on all social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), as well as, e-mail contacts, so our message of hope can bring inspiration to lung cancer patients and their families all around the world.

    Please also visit my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/richardsraysofhope

    Richard

    2 Comments
  • RichardH's Avatar

    RichardH wrote on GregP_WN's wall

    Hi Greg,
    Were you able to see the documentary?
    Thank you.
    Richard

    1 Comment
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I couldn't get it last night, but I see you posted another link, I will take a look this morning. Thanks for posting.

      about 3 years ago