My first cancer was in 1972. I was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphocytic lymphoma. It was in my bone marrow, liver, spleen, lymph nodes and my lungs were filling with lymphocytic fluid that had to be drained. My spleen was removed by a doctor who was also one of my good friends. He told my Mom I wasn’t going to make it. They started me on a three drug chemotherapy treatment. Those drugs were vincristine, prednisone, and cytoxin, I continued on those drugs for six days. After a little over 30 days I was sent home with a diagnosis of two to four weeks to live. I was losing about a pound a day no matter how much I ate. I continued on a regimen of chemo for six days every three weeks for five and one-half years and after that for six days every eight weeks until 1979. I asked my doctor what would happen if I quit chemo and he said I would have a fifty-fifty chance of living. I was tired of being sick and I quit and I got a remission. Since 1979 I have had two bladder cancers and one malignant polyp in my intestine.
I have learned that statistics just confuse the issue. The only statistic that counts is yours. The statistic for a survivor are 100% and there are plenty of us running around. Although there a are down times, you must fight to keep your mind positive. Above all — never, never give up.
I should mention that in 1973, my oncologist Dr. Lester Garfinkel, said there was a higher power than medicine keeping me alive.
Robert T. Stephan
Attorney at Law
Former Kansas State Attorney General