I have spent many hours in head and neck waiting rooms over the years, waiting to be called back into the exam room. While admittedly on the outside looking in, I cannot help but notice what other head and neck cancer patients appear to be dealing with, particularly quality of life issues. This also helps me realize how fortunate I am.
Way back before my oral cancer journey began, if anyone had mentioned to me the phrase “the gift of cancer,” it would not have made any sense. Pretty counter-intuitive, right? I hope that you will read on.
2020 was a difficult enough year with the global pandemic and my cancer surgery. To make matters worse, however, my sister Donna lost her brave battle in May of 2020 to a skull base meningioma which was diagnosed in late 2013. I rode last year in her memory. 2021 was no better. My very close friend from Dental School, Dr. Tom Gibbs, lost his brave battle with pancreatic cancer in May of 2021. Tom was the type of person who would light up a room. He was smart, selfless, a great classmate, a great dentist, and funny. Did I mention funny? He had a tremendous sense of humor. He was best man at my wedding. Along with his wife Linda and my wife Beth, we made many great memories over the years. He made the world a better place, and is greatly missed. The Empire State Ride is a ride that Tom had really hoped to participate in. He will be with me for every one of the 550 miles. I am riding in his memory this year.
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