Sarcoma Survivor David-Kirk McCleary: I am happy to be able to say that I’m a sarcoma cancer survivor with a story to share.
Not so long ago, I wasn’t sure that would be the case. I remember waiting patiently for my doctor to return and tell me about the details of my first ever surgery. I was a very fit and healthy twenty seven year old who carefully watched what I ate and exercised nearly every day, with something approaching religious fervour. I didn’t smoke, and I drank socially on a very rare occasion. The doctor entered the examination room in a rush.
“We will operate and take the lump out of your arm. And once your arm heals, we will begin your chemotherapy”, he stated without preamble or greeting. “But chemotherapy is for people with cancer”, I said looking up at his impassive face and the slightly abashed faces of the residents that stood nervously behind him. “Exactly”, he said and then promptly left the room.
A million thoughts ran through my head, so many things left undone and so many dreams left, yet to be realized. I looked down at the golf balled size lump in my arm, now more alien and menacing than anything else I had yet faced in my short life.
The next few days were a whirlwind of activity in preparation for my ensuing journey through the valley of the shadow of death that cancer represented to me at that point. Had it not been for the loving and prayerful support of my family, and dear friends, hell bent on keeping me active and wonderfully distracted as well as informed about community resources and other help, I am sure that the already terrifying cancer prognosis would have been more than I could have easily borne at that point in my life.
I am thrilled to say that years later, I am a survivor living a happy and healthy life that I now have even more appreciation for. Surgery saved my life and my friends and family allowed me to get back to living and enjoying it.
Thanks to the efforts of the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada, my experience is more likely to be an aberration and a thing of the past. In their efforts to advance the treatment of Cancer and advocate on behalf those being treated for cancer, I am confident that not only the research, but also the quality of life during and after the experience of being treated for sarcomas will be markedly improved.