Mo's Manic Monday - Survive

Posted: Monday, May 07, 2007 by Travis Cody in
29


Welcome to another Manic Monday with Mo. Today's theme is survive. Don't forget to cruise by MMHQ at It's A Blog Eat Blog World.

I don't think of myself as a survivor. I just get up out of bed every morning and do my thing. I have a lot of good stuff in my life - my beautiful lady, becoming a home owner, supportive family, a good job, my health.

My health. I lost the feeling of invincibility when I was 17 and had my knees destroyed in a football game. But I don't think recovering from that, physically and emotionally, qualifies me as a survivor.

Late in 1993, just before Christmas, I was nervously considering proposing to my girlfriend. I had a ring and I was just trying to figure out if it was really what I wanted to do. We'd been together for a few years and were kind of moving in that basic direction.

One morning in the shower, I realized that something wasn't quite right. I felt a growth in my groin. When I got to work I made an appointment with my doctor.

The doc suggested out patient surgery to remove the growth and get a biopsy. We scheduled it quick and the results came back - Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The next step was to stage the cancer and discover whether it was localized or if it had spread along my lymphatic system. I had surgery to remove my spleen and some liver tissue samples.

I was fortunate that the cancer had been found very early. It hadn't spread, and all I would have to do was a radiation regimen. No chemotherapy was required. By summer of 1994 I had completed the radiation treatments and the cancer was pronounced in remission.

I never lost my hair. I was only briefly sick when the radiation treatments moved to my abdomen. I was in the best physical shape since my days as a high school athlete - the worst part about the surgeries and treatments was I had to stop working out. It took a long time to get my abs back in shape.

Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a cancer with a very high survivabilty rate. Since mine was found so early, I was never really concerned that it was life-threatening, and neither were any of my doctors. My family freaked out a little, but once I explained everything to them they were able to settle in and relax.

After five years with no recurrance, I was pronounced cancer free in 1999 and am essentially cured.

One of the unfortunate side effects of the radiation was that it made me sterile. When I consulted with the oncologist, he said that was a possibility because there was really no way to block the effects completely, especially considering where I had to have the treatments - in my groin area and then up into my abdomen.

That wasn't a big deal for me though. And I didn't think it was a problem for my girlfriend, soon to be fiance. We had talked around the idea of children and I thought she was on the same page with me - I didn't want them and I thought she agreed.

She was with me through every step. But when she found out that children were now impossible with me, she left without a word.

I did survive that, but it took a long time. Part of it was the way she just picked up and left. We didn't talk or anything - one day we were going through this major illness, and the next she was out of my life.

Sometimes I still ask myself how I could have been preparing to tie myself to someone who I evidently didn't know as well as I thought. Surviving that emotionally was a lot tougher than surviving my Hodkin's.

29 comments:

  1. julie says:

    Baby, you ARE a survivor..but the thing that makes you one is because you don't dwell on your past. You move forward in a hopeful attitude.

    I can see how people may look at a survivor as one just barely hanging on, but I like to think as it as one persevering and getting all he/she can grab onto.

    And THAT my dear is YOU!
    Props baby, props!

    **hugs**

  1. Wow, you've been through some stuff! Hope you continue to survive and thrive. Do you think youv'e been able to draw on any of that experience in your writing?

  1. wow, trav you got lucky in both regards, the cancer and that she left. imagine what your life would be like with someone that would do something like that. why i'll bet she didn't even like cake!!

    smiles, bee

  1. Turnbaby says:

    thank you for sharing this sugar. it's a rather brave thing to do.

    You are so much more than a survivor.

  1. I am glad you've beat the thing for now. I keep watching the medical news, studying the developments in the field of oncology. I guess because I know that eventually my cancer will return. It's like I've been kissed and the mark will be there.

    Still...I believe the progress made in the field has been incredible. My friend Jon Zech had an inoperable tumor on his lung and was given a terrible chance for survival. With the help of chemotherapy and targeted radiation, the tumor is gone now.

  1. Matt-Man says:

    Great story Trav. You were lucky on both counts. One of my brothers had Hodgkin's and he is doing well also. Cheers!!

  1. Bond says:

    My friend... those turns in the road we have discussed in the past. The turn of her leaving, allowed the road to lead you to where you are now. Who knows what would have happened. Would you have met all these fine friends, would you be writing here, would you have met the woman in your life?

    That turn, though unfortunate and hurtful at the time, has brought you to a wonderful place.

  1. You definitely are a survivor. Hope things will just continue getting better and better :)

  1. Mags says:

    She left without a word...

    That's horrible. But you are very lucky with both stories within this story.

    You are indeed, a survivor Trav...

  1. Angell says:

    WOW Trav - I had no idea.

    Well, first off that's so amazing. I'm so happy that you have been pronounced cancer free.

    As for the ex - she did you a favour, as I'm sure Pam would agree right? :P

    No matter what small obstacles plague our paths in life - if we can get around them, or move through them, we are survivors.

    And you are.

    HUGS

  1. lisa says:

    Travis, so sorry for that difficult time and I am so happy you are cancer free. You have the right attitude and life is looking pretty good for you right now. I'm glad.

  1. Hi Travis! Glad to hear you are cancer free! And although I'm sure it's obvious now that you are better off without the old girlfriend, sometimes the emotional pains we suffer can rival the physical ones. Like Bond said though, it has all lead you to where you are now, and it sounds like you are in a wonderful place in life. Congratulations on being a survivor :)

  1. Sanni says:

    You truely are a survivor! I´m glad you are cancer free, my friend - and I´m happy for you and your beautiful lady ;)

  1. Comedy + says:

    Wow Travis, I didn't know this either. What has Mo done to all of us today? We are all telling things about ourselves that we probably wouldn't otherwise.

    I do understand about the bigger loss. Just didn't seem right that it would turn our that way. Don't let that stop you in another relationship. You will find the right one and she won't care about having babies :)

  1. Steven says:

    Woah, what a story! This Manic Monday has been wonderful in brining out some very important parts of people's lives. Me, of course, went for the shallow story. But thanks for sharing. Amazing story of survival!

  1. Steven says:

    Okay, so I can't type. Sorry about the typo in the preevius comentt.

  1. Travis says:

    Julie: I'm still learning that the past can't be changed. But every day it gets easier to deal.

    Jeff: I do use some of it in my writing, but I don't like to dwell on it too much.

    Ms Bee: You're right! Hey, CAKE!

    Turn: I don't know about brave, but it was therapeutic.

    Stewart: I donate generously to cancer research. Treatments are becoming less drastic. But more needs to be done to find cancers sooner and continue to increase survival rates.

    Matt: Yup - lucky!

    V: I could have done without the pain, but I wouldn't change the result.

    Terra: Every time I think things are perfect, they do get better.

  1. Travis says:

    Mags: After all we went through, it didn't make any sense that she would leave like that.

    Angell: It wasn't easy to tell Pam that story. She had some choice opinions about it.

    Lisa: It's taken a long time, but my life is no longer defined by that time.

    Tammie: That's exactly right.

    Sanni: Thank you my dear.

    Comedy: And that's exactly what happened. My lady and I have similar attitudes and goals. We're in good shape.

    Steven: It seems like a day and a word for revelations. And typos are acceptable!

  1. Claire says:

    Survive you have done that indeed, well more than that, you have well an truly got on with your life.

    I cant fathom why she would do that too you, but its her loss in the end and not yours.

    Great MM :D

  1. Meribah says:

    I'm glad you managed to come through the trials and tribulations of your life and have reached a happy place. I sincerely believe that all the problems that we face in life make us better people...even if we don't realize it at the time. Hugs!

  1. Chocolate cake please Bee!

    Hey Trav - great post for Mo's theme - you're definitely a survivor.

    Sometimes we're lucky God doesn't give us what we ask for.... I think someone sang a song about that... but can't remember - darn, it's tough when you start over the hill...

  1. I think the emotional fallout of a major illness is so much more difficult with which to deal than the physical challenges, at least it seems to me. There are all sorts of medical treatments for the physiological symptoms, but there is so little that can be done for a battered psyche. Drugs alone cannot do it all.

    You are a strong person, Trav.

  1. Neila says:

    Wow Travis, I had no idea! Thank God you are cancer free and here with us today!

    Sometimes, it does seem like the emotional things are more difficult to survive than the physical. But it's amazing how strong we are!! You are a true survivor, my friend!!

  1. cathy says:

    We are all survivors Travis. Maybe the reason your lady friend left without discussing things was that sometimes the words are too painful to speak. Being torn between the man you love and your biological drive to have children is a very tough call.
    Thankyou for being brave enough to tell us this story and I'm so glad that you are now with someone who does have the ability to put your relationship above all else. I wish you both continued health and happiness for many years to come.

  1. Anndi says:

    I'm richer for having you in my life and so proud to call you my big bro.

    I've witnessed what a wonderful man you are through our many conversations.

    You deserve all the good in your life my dear.

    Much love,

    Your lil sis

  1. Danielle says:

    I think she was horrible to "just" leave. In the very least you deserved the decency of an explanation.
    I am glad that you are now cancer free and I do hope you remain to be. It just goes to show you that there is a reason for everything, obviously at that time she could not communicate her feelings relying on flight from difficult conversations.

    As always wishing you well, sweets.

  1. Travis - I'm glad you came through all that okay... and I'm sure a much stronger person for it all. I'm happy you're healthy now and that you have Pam in your life. I know from experience that it is hard to see the good at the time, and later on you (I) can look back and see... and be grateful, even though it hurt so much.

    I think we're all survivors in one way or another.

    :o)

  1. wolfbaby says:

    well... labels don't make the man.. the man makes the labels.

    Im glad you were able to beat the cancer.

    Im sorry that she left the way she did, how very wrong of her. she should have talked with you something!

    take care.

  1. JAM says:

    Wow, Travis, I'm glad you're ok now. I guess in the long run, it was good you found out how she handled tough situations (or not) before you got married.

    You've been through some dark valleys, and come out the other end. More so than many of us.