So this is cancer 

About a year  ago I was diagnosed with stage four intimal sarcoma, surgery was not an option and survival rate is extremely low. Treatment options are minimal and general knowledge about it is scarce because of how rare it is. I was 33 years old and otherwise, in the best condition of my life. My daughter was 2 years old and rach was 2 months pregnant with another baby girl. We thought this was the end, how could we possibly get through this? It seemed there was no hope at all that I would be here to see my girls grow. Luckily there is a sarcoma clinic right here in Toronto and the head of that clinic oversees my case. When I went to see him for the first time, he was pained to see how young I was and how little time he believed I had left. He painted a picture of a very dark year ahead of us. Rach and I had a hard time digesting the news and we wondered if we should be bringing a new life into this world and this situation. We decided that regardless of how much time I have left, I still have all the love to give and so does she. I started chemotherapy last March and endured 5 rounds of Doxorubicin (the red devil) before they realized it wasn’t working. Mouth sores, hair loss, fatigue, nausea and body aches are all the physical side effects that I was afflicted with. The mental side effects took more of a toll though, I felt a massive sense of guilt for putting this burden on my family, I felt disconnected from pregnant Rach and the baby she carried. I wasn’t as eager to touch her belly or be a part of the pregnancy journey because I was scared that it wouldn’t make a difference if I was gone anyways. Chemotherapy stopped at the end of June and I spent July recovering from it and trying a targeted therapy that had little to no effect. On August 10th with trembling hands, I personally delivered Sadie Grey Meyer to the world. I was overjoyed and terrified, I can’t explain what it feels like to have a child and know that you won’t be there for them. The stress of my own illness coupled with a newborn and a toddler at home was the perfect combination of things for me to completely disconnect from everything and bury myself in video games, model cars, Lego, writing or music. I would do anything that would keep me preoccupied and give me some space from my reality. I felt awful for the longest time, knowing that even though I have such a limited amount of time left, I’d still rather do anything other than hold a crying a baby. 

For months I carried this guilt, stress and anxiety. I knew that if I wasn’t sick, I would be the father to Sadie that I was to Riley. I would be present and involved in every second of her precious life but I wasn’t and I blamed it on me being sick. After so many months of bad news, failed treatments, doctor visits and outlandish treatment plans, the weight of it all was becoming unbearable. We tried to stay positive at every turn and with every doctors meeting or scan result, we would tell ourselves that whatever it is, we’ll keep moving forward and we did but it wasn’t easy, there have been many days where I wanted to bury my head in my pillows and scream and not get out of bed at all. Days where I wanted nothing to do with my two girls or anyone else, that shame and guilt just snowballed and got harder and harder for me to even take that first step in fostering a relationship with Sadie. As my anxiety hit an all time high, I was experiencing panic attacks and sleepless nights. 

I started a new treatment that came with its own set of risks and side effects and no one knew if it would work or not. My brain scan was cleared and that gave me some relief but the real test was whether or not the new treatment was working. 10 weeks later I finally got results that changed everything for me, Sadie, Rachel and Riley. We found out that not only is the treatment working but it’s working very well. My oncologist was happy to report that there had been significant reduction in all of my tumours and in some cases had eliminated them altogether. I wept and texted Rach the good news. It was the kind of news we all desperately needed to reignite the hope that was fast fading at almost a year after being told I have a year to live, we got news that proved that wrong. This news allowed me to breathe and start being the father that I know I am to Sadie and Riley. It gave me freedom from anxiety and guilt to start living a semi normal life again, one that wasn’t shrouded in constant fear. Instead of being anxious for my next scan, I’m excited because for the first time in a long time, I feel like things are falling in to place the way they used to for me. Silly things like a line of people forming behind me instead of in front of me, cars moving out of the way to let me pass, pulling the microwave door open when the timer hits zero but it hasn’t made a ding yet or the sun shining through the clouds in the perfect way. I know that there are so many things that can still go wrong and I won’t waste my words listing all of them but after getting the good news from the scan, I just don’t feel as anxious about all the things that can go wrong and instead i feel more excited about all the things that can go right. I know this journey is unique to me and there will be hard days ahead so I’m trying to focus on how good I feel now, I don’t feel sick and I don’t look sick so I want to live how I would if I wasn’t sick. It’s impossible to explain but it’s all those little things that just make me feel like it’s going to be okay. Last year if you had looked at me you would have seen a cancer patient, the one we all know and see in tv and movies but now if you look at me you’d think I was lying if I told you i have stage IV cancer. I look in the mirror and I’m baffled because I look perfectly healthy, almost exactly how I looked before my diagnosis, the treatment is working wonders and my mental health is at an all time high. It took me a long time to write this post and I went through a lot of iterations before this one because I couldn’t figure out the best way to share my good news. 

Rach helped me realize that my writing had always been a therapy to help me through the difficult and I thought that’s what made my writing good but I know now that what makes my writing good is the story it tells and the people it inspires. 

16 thoughts on “So this is cancer 

  1. Clayton Jacobson says:

    The amount of happiness I felt reading this as an outsider makes me confident that you and your family’s happiness is unimaginable 🤍 may you only continue to receive good news! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris and Richard says:

    Lorne, your words are the best medicine for all and gives everyone who reads them a perspective on who you are and how fortunate Riley and Sadie are to have such an amazing Daddy and for Rachel having chosen a precious partner❤️


  3. Taylor B says:

    This is great news! I’m currently going through treatment for intimal sarcoma as well! I have previously had surgery to remove my tumors but they grew back at a rapid rate. I going through chemo (the red devil) now, and I completely despise it. Your story gives me hope that one day I too can enjoy life like I did before my diagnosis. I don’t have a family or a spouse but I can sympathize with you and your feeling of not wanting to communicate with others because it will make it harder to leave. Thank you for telling your story and keep fighting!

    Liked by 1 person

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