Live Strong : Inspirational Stories from Cancer Survivors-from Diagnosis to Treatment and Beyond
From the introduction by Lance Armstrong: My work with the LAF shows me daily that sharing our stories and learning from one another's experiences helps us cancer survivors continue to survive. Some people think the cancer experience is only about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as if after the disease goes into remission, it no longer exists. But survivorship goes beyond remission. Survivorship is an evolution. Survivors from all walks of life talk about what ""living strong"" in the face of cancer means to them. Since the now ubiquitous LIVESTRONG(TM) wristbands became available in May 2004, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised more than $50 million for cancer survivorship programs, and the signature phrase has become a battle cry for those who fight the disease every day. Now, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has compiled, from hours of videotaped interviews, poignant and dramatic personal accounts from cancer survivors. Covering a wide range of subjects, from grief to spousal relationships, employment discrimination to coping with medical bills, infertility to fear of recurrence, survivors share their experiences and speak candidly about how cancer has impacted their lives.
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September 27, 2005
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Excerpt from Live Strong by Lance Armstrong
I became a survivor when I was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in December of 1999.
I went down to New York for treatment and started in January of 2000. Treatment went through September of 2000 with seven rounds of high-dose chemo and surgery. The tumor was in my leg, in the tibia. I spent about four months at home afterward, September through December, recovering with physical therapy. I was a senior in college when I was diagnosed and only had one semester left. I went back to school in January of 2001 and was always tired, always bruising, and always catching everything that was going around. Because of the high-dose chemo that I got, I kept going in for tests, but the doctors just kept saying, "Your bone marrow is tired. It'll start working. It's just working slowly." Finally, I went in for a bone-marrow biopsy in April of 2001 and they found the secondary myelodysplastic syndrome, which is one of the precursors to leukemia. I said to them, "If there is anything I can be doing from now until May when I graduate, I'll do it, but otherwise, leave me alone. I want to go back to school." I knew that the search for a bone-marrow donor could be long and drawn out. They said that was fine. So I went back and graduated from college in May of 2001. I started chemo again in June or July to get the disease back into remission, because it had started to progress. I was home for a couple of weeks and they found a perfect donor match for me. All they told me was that he was young and male. I found out later he's from St. Louis, but I haven't met him yet. I underwent the bone-marrow transplant in August of 2001, was in the hospital for three months, spent the nine months afterward going in for tests and medications and anti-rejection and anti-everything drugs, and finally in June of 2002, they said, "Okay. You're set. Go do your thing." So I went up to graduate school at Middlebury College for the summer and moved to Boston in September of 2002. I started working for a public-health-education nonprofit where we do mostly HIV-prevention research, and interventions and violence prevention.