Hi…thank you for visiting my web page. Maybe you are visiting because you are a climber, maybe you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer or maybe you are one of those very special people in my life; for whatever reason you are here, I welcome and thank you.
So first things first- we may as well address the “elephant in the room”. I have been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer adenocarcinoma stage IV and I am dying (this is ironically interesting as physically I feel well- one of the many ironies that I’ll be discussing). More specifically I have an 80% chance of dying this year and the likelihood that I will be alive in four years is 1%. My intent is not to be startling or to make anyone feel uncomfortable or sorry for me; I have been dealt this hand and it is what it is. I made the decision that if I am going to advocate for and discuss lung cancer that I would do so openly and honestly.
I am not certain where this journey is going but it’s going to go somewhere…if you are interested to see where it leads I welcome you to take this journey with me.
I am not sure why I have appointed myself as a (reluctant) lung cancer advocate but I can assure you that it is not out of arrogance or self-importance. Frankly I don’t enjoy the spot light, I never have. I have always preferred to go about things quietly and I wrestle a bit with ‘who am I to think I can lead lung cancer advocacy efforts’ and then I think if not me, then who? Can I make an impact and does anyone really care about this cancer that carries with it such a stigma? Yes, I smoked and yes it will be responsible for my death - I own that. Lung cancer research remains underfunded due to this stigma but I have to ask how many illnesses are the result of human behaviors; obesity, poor diet, alcohol, the list goes on. Nobody should be blamed for their disease. We are all human and we have all made our mistakes. I know that I’ll die, we all will- I just don’t want to die prematurely…I am 51 years old and I want to see and do so many things. The world is truly a beautiful place.
Next week I begin my efforts to climb the Adirondack 46ers- more to come on that endeavor (I figure if I keep moving one foot in front of the other that I’ll be ok).
If you asked me “how are you, I mean tell me honestly Dave, how are you really doing?” I would tell you that I am happy. Sure I have times that I feel sad but they are few and far between. I feel lucky to be alive one year into this diagnosis- I feel strong mentally and physically and for that I am grateful. Why am I not one of the 50% of advanced lung cancer patients that hasn’t died this past year? I don’t know the answer to that question but I do wonder and I do thank karma for allowing me to have enjoyed immensely this past year. I am looking forward to today and I am looking forward to tomorrow.
As I share my cancer experiences with you there will be tears and there will be laughs…believe me when I tell you that I still laugh often. I truly enjoy my life, my family, my friends and my work. I have hope and I wish that whatever your struggles that you have hope as well.
To Lisa, Kristin, Matt (“Biggs”), “Young” Matthew, Jon, Janie, Emma (“Rosie”) and Scarlet (“Scarlittle”); you are all the reason that I live and breathe; I love you.
Dave (Dad and Pop)