LUNG FORCE Heroes
In July 2018, I celebrated my 70th birthday by running my first half marathon in Missoula, Montana. In the ensuing months, I, who have never smoked a cigarette in my life, developed chest, shoulder and hip pain, as well as shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness. I was alarmed, because I have always been an exceptionally physically fit and active lawyer/law professor and outdoorsman.
In December of 2018, after exploratory surgery, I was diagnosed with a stage four lung cancer that had spread throughout my chest, shoulder and hip. Though the lung cancer is incurable, within 90 days of starting chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment, I reached "complete remission" which the oncologist described as "spectacular and awesome." After four months, we ended the chemo, and have maintained the complete remission for the last eight months.
The treatments greatly reduced my strength, stamina and endurance, but I have maintained a rigorous program of physical workouts that has allowed me to return to running, swimming, biking and kayaking. I have had to end my law teaching and curtail my other professional work. Nevertheless, I would describe my quality of life as excellent today. T
he diagnosis has been most hard on my wife and children who have supported me in this process and must live with the uncertainty about my future well being. I am thankful every day for the ongoing cancer research and the availability of cutting edge cancer treatments that allow me to be alive and active and to weather treatments that have been devastating to patients who were treated only a handful of years before me.
First published: December 4, 2019
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