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From Survivor to Patient

You read that title correctly. Usually, in the movies and novels, the main character goes from patient to survivor, not the other way around. That was me in 2015, but things have certainly changed – for better or worse.

The first post-op MRI has shown that a significant chunk of the tumor has now been removed via the surgery and another chunk has been annihilated from the 30 day radiation and 42 consecutive days of chemotherapy. Now what remains is another 12 month chemotherapy battle. Despite the intimidating sound of this, the 12 month process is what I experienced back in 2014-2015, so in my eyes, I have been through the worst of this current battle.

However, the reason for this blog post is not to simply give you an update on my health. When I began this blog, my intention was to take my cancer experience and turn it into a life lesson for all, regardless of their health. Unfortunately, I sit here, with a significant amount of hair loss, a rare skin disorder in which doctors are yet to identify, and several medications next to my bed, not to mention the mental difficulties and stress both within me and the giving of stress to loved ones. How, in the world, am I supposed to give advice to any reader? When I created this blog, I was a strong, confident, and healthy cancer survivor. Hopefully I will become this survivor again, but for now, I accept the fact that I am, once again, a cancer patient.

Stay strong? Do not give up? Work hard? Are these the things I should be writing to you, the reader? Not today. Today, I am going to get as simple as I can by quoting one of my favorite actors of all time – Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. “Breathe, Just……Breathe.” With all of these doctors appointments, inability to work full days quite yet, and dependance on medications from numerous doctors, I need to realize that my own breathe, my own mindset internally, are the only types of action I am able to fully control. I am assuming that a few of my readers will roll their eyes towards this blog post. If that is the case, everyone else would be jealous of you because you are probably not going through the stress that the rest of us are experiencing.

For those of you who know exactly what I am speaking of, please take a pause from this blog post and breathe…..just breathe – even once. We give our lives away all day, every day. Working, relationships, friendships, anything. As I go through this cancer battle, I am reminded, from back in 2014, that life is moving forward whether you like it or not. Your ending time is unknown, so try to be aware of your present moment. I have found myself losing mental strength due to stress about the next doctor’s appointment, the next MRI, the next medication that I need to take. It is easier said than done, but we need to decrease the utilization of the word “next”. I do not mean to completely remove the word, but just attempt to increase the idea being here now.

I need to battle this final round of treatments in order to become a survivor again, once and for all. To the reader, hopefully you are experiencing something a bit less disturbing than this, but the same idea still applies. Understand your mortality, but do not obsess over the next step – try to focus more on the current step. I hope you are able to do this, because I am certainly struggling from it recently.

Breathe…..Just Breathe.

21 Comments

  1. Audrey Audrey

    BREATHE….just BREATHE…
    You are in my daily prayers Paul💕🙏🏼

  2. Dean Salah Dean Salah

    Paul, you continue to amaze us all with your courage and never quit attitude!! I for one, look forward to your blog posts and appreciate you taking the time!! Continue to fight and never ever lose your drive to beat this!! Keep your head up and “breathe, just breathe!!

    • Thank you so much, my friend. We all fight this battle together – as a family.

  3. Tracey Sousa Tracey Sousa

    You are wise beyond your years.
    Sending as much positive energy as I can your way. Get well soon.
    You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Jeanine Harris Jeanine Harris

    Paul.. You are always a source of inspiration… Sometimes breathing is the most difficult thing as our minds race, the fear Sets in… It takes great courage and faith to “let go and breathe ..just breathe”. My prayer for you is that you breathe in the healing love of our creator and breathe our the illness, fatigue and fear that accompanies these days

  5. Teresa Arnold Teresa Arnold

    You continue to make us proud with your wisdom and concern for others. Please know you are in our prayers and that we love you and Leah. God Bless. Xoxo

  6. Jeff Muise Jeff Muise

    Paul, you have such strength and wisdom, you will be a survivor. We can all take some advice from your blogs. You’re always in my thoughts, and I’m sure there are plenty of friends and family sending prayers and good vibes your way.
    BREATHE…just BREATHE…
    Love you my godson ❤️

  7. Angela Angela

    Praying for you every day

  8. Osha Rose Osha Rose

    Paul, you are being your true raw self and I am enamored by your scribe. I sincerely believe that the breath can heal all wounds (that and salt water) so I love your post today. Please remember that we all have a message to give and if you breathe, connect with your heart & soul, you will always reach those you are meant to reach with your postings.

    Rooting for you,
    Osha Rose

  9. Angela Regan Angela Regan

    Brave and beautiful attitude. Wishing you all the very best and will be taking this advise, I’m not going through anything like the battle you are but sometimes just in our own everyday situations living in this crazy world we all do need a moment to ourselves to breathe. Sending loving vibes to you and yours from ireland xxxxx

  10. Brieana Brieana

    Paul, my aunt Theresa posted this on her fb. I am currently battling an auto immune disease with terrible arthritis and about to start injections, not even close to what your going through but mentally going through the similar what’s next, mores appts, more meds, more MRIs. Thankyou for the reminder to live in the now and breathe. Praying for you always.

  11. Peggy Nicolosi Peggy Nicolosi

    You have so much to teach us all. You will be a survivor once again. Always praying for you and your full recovery.
    Thanks for the reminder to breathe, just breathe. 💙

  12. Maria Maria

    I think about you often. Get well soon! Breathe!

  13. Aunt judy parisi Aunt judy parisi

    You touch so many of us and as I was reading your blog I did take a deep breath & realizing our lives are a gift not a given. Why do we have to go through these mountains of stress, worry, despair? I don’t have this answer. Our biggest issue is letting God take our hand and giving ourselves to him so he will take care of us. Yes he wants us to breathe & he’ll do the rest. Love you!! Aunt Judy

  14. Kelly Gossom Kelly Gossom

    I’ve been telling myself this same thing for the last year as a care giver, never being able to imagine myself in his shoes.. you are fighting one of the most courageous battles imaginable and you are doing it with such poise.. never give up. Never stop fighting. And keep breathing

  15. Jen Kennedy Jen Kennedy

    Well stated Paul. Positive thoughts and prayers, and well wishes for every breathe you take. Stay strong, friends and family are supporting both🙏🙏🙏💞

  16. Debra Debra

    Paul, I would never guess that you are so young based on your insight.

    I too am on my second round of cancer and pray to become a survivor once again. Just finished radiation and now I wait for the ”next” Scan to see what my next treatment is. I try so hard to live in the moment and enjoy the day I am given. I have a eleven year old son and he keeps me going.

    I do find it is difficult now to stay positive. First battle was worse then this time but I was more positive then. No one can understand the challenge and impact of being a cancer fighter unless they have gone through it. The range of emotions in one day impacts the physical in such a daunting way. I never know how my day will be and what physical illness I will endure. I too take many pills: sleep, anxiety, neuropathy, thyroid, GI issues, etc. I hate that I rely on so many medications. I have to remind myself that I need them to help me with the battle. On top of these challenges I have a permative colostomy due to losing my rectum and portion of my colon during the first battle. She has her challenges and keeps me on my toes. It is my daily reminder of this terrible disease. She adds her own anxiety to my mix.

    We have no choice though but to fight. I’m scared that some day I will give up and not have the strength for the battle. Some days now I feel that way….I have pills to helwoth that too. Our minds are strong and will make a difference in this battle. Keep it healthy and strong
    And your hear surrounded my love.

    I will pray for you tonight….and will take a lot of deep breaths at the same time.

  17. Michelle Michelle

    Paul,
    Once again I am in awe with you and your positive attitude. Stay strong, many blessings to you and your family 💓

  18. Aunt Mary Aunt Mary

    Your come back will be stronger and greater then any set back.
    Breathe … just breathe
    Excellent advice. Thank you
    Love you.

  19. Almy Almy

    Paul,
    I am sending lots of positive energy to you. ❤️

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