Thursday, May 01, 2014

HOW I SURVIVED CANCER....BY STEVE HARLESS

After a what seemed to be a routine tonsilitis operation, I could not understand why the Doctor had called me back to his office so soon.  Little did I know at that moment I was in for the surprise of my life. Yet, today, I can still hear the words echoing out of the doctor's mouth. "Steve, You have cancer of the throat, and 8 jellybean sized cancerous tumors in your lymph nodes in your neck" cut and dry. Just Like THAT he uttered these words:

 You have less then a year to live.
That is when the tears started to flow and the reality set in that I have CANCER!
That being said, My Cancer drama started Feb 26, 2007. At the time, I recall how calm I was. That of course would soon change as a mirage of scenerios went through my mind.  Then  I went about  asking the doctor, "So, How do I beat this thing?"
This smug Doctor, with no compassion and concern in his voice at all for my personal welfare, (at the time I had no insurance) said: Well, you will need a radical neck dissection, that could put you out of commission for about 3-4 months, and then he uttered the most shocking news besides the possibility that I would die,,,, You may never be able to talk again.
GEEZE, I started to panic...How will I survive? How will I be able to make a living?....Sales is all I have ever known....What will my wife do? my family!!! I almost fainted from this overwhelming sensation of fear. Then I remembered my Tony Robbins training about FEAR- (False - Evidence - Acquiring - Reality) and survival mode was kicking in.  It was at that point I made up my mind. God willing, I WAS GOING TO SURVIVE. Not only did I make up my mind that I was going to survive, I re-focused my mind that I was going to rededicate my life, and perform life at the highest level possible.
Shortly after the bad news, I got a second opinion, I was referred to another doctor, Dr. Anita Pomeranz at the Nevada Cancer Institute. This angel directly appointed from God not only helped save my life, she helped give me the courage to fight like hell.  Doctor Pomeranz then broke the news to me that I could not eat for 6 months or longer. I had to get a JPEG tube inserted in my stomache and had to go on a liquid diet.  so much for  steak and beer!         (*On a positive note: I ended up losing 70 lbs. However I don't recommend the cancer diet for ANYONE!)
April 23, 2007 ,,,,I went on a program of Chemotherapy and had Radiation treatments for 7 weeks.  It was grueling and I was constantly tired and worn out. The constant spitting up of blood, was absolutely the lowest point of my life. But, I prayed everyday, and as I begged God everyday to heal me, the lord delivered instant peace and comfort to me.  With in days of starting treatment the bleeding in my throat stopped. I was still tired and exhausted (I would sleep 18 hours a day)  Thank God for my broker..She was so helpful..Michele Sullivan was there for me. She helped with my closings and made sure I got paid and totally supported me. Then I started to realize about how lucky I was to have the people that were around me....slowly, and methodically, I constantly would think positive thoughts about how fortunate I was about everything in my life...good and bad. (when your sick, things like this happen) slowly but surely, I got better. I struggled. I was constantly vommiting everday from the treatment, I embraced this,,,,because I was still alive to vomit.  my body would shake with weakness. GOOD! THAT MEANS I AM STILL HERE!  It was this day August 23, 2007 that I realized that you have to embrace the Good, and the bad in life to live. What a life lesson!!!!  It was at this moment I learned to make everything passionate no matter how trivial and small. even small things like being able to open a door, or walking outside, or being able to dress myself. 
So, to make a long story short, My Cancer drama just ended October 22, 2007! I just got my tube removed from my stomach and The doctor told me I escaped from a tangerine size tumor in my neck (the worst he had ever seen) all my lymph nodes were clear! It was a MIRACLE!!!
The moral of the story and my personal message to the active rain community is this: No matter how good or bad things are going, count your blessings daily, hug your family, realize how lucky you are to live, AND LIVE PASSIONATELY EVERYDAY!

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