A Dose of Diagnoses

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Loyal, strong, determined, resilient, compassionate, honest, and brave. Charles Frederick Porter II was born in Oxford England to an English mother with Jewish roots and an African American father from Annapolis, Md. Charles thrived in sports as well as academia and eventually received a full athletic scholarship to Duke University. Almost a decade later, in 2010, he was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In May of 2015, he had a relapse but it was caught at an early stage.

Click here to read part one and part two.

 

A Dose of Diagnoses – Part III

In, ‘A Dose of Diagnoses Part 2’, I said that we had won the battle but the war was not over. How many of you reading this have beat cancer and have remained in remission but somewhere in the back of your mind, you fear it coming back? Me asking you to stop those thoughts is like me trying to stop a high speed train moving at top speed and without breaks. All I wanted to hear when I was battling cancer was the word remission or even better, cure. Still, once I heard that I was in remission all I dreaded hearing was relapse. So I went from worrying about one thing to now worrying about what I had no control over.

I tried to maintain a positive attitude and I celebrated. My best friend and I, along with his now wife, took a remission trip. It was one of the greatest memories to this day. We jumped off cliffs in the Mediterranean, gambled in Monte Carlo, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. I cannot put into words how it felt to walk the streets at night and see so much life. I am so thankful for those days and each day I am given to be the best that I can be. I thought beating cancer was getting into remission and never looking back.

I’m a division one football player who, at his biggest, was 280 pounds. I am fearless, enthusiastic, prideful, stubborn, intelligent, honest and loving but I was ignorant to health challenges. Due to the fact that things went my way in a lot of instances, I also lacked empathy and compassion. I was still of the mindset that things will continue to go my way

Here comes that train! Smacking me right in the face and given me a double dose of reality. I saw things differently after my first battle with cancer. I realized that sometimes when you go in
the hospital you may have to stay for longer than you thought and sometimes you simply do not come out alive. I had a relapse in May of 2015 and have been receiving a trial therapy. Instead
of chemo, this time, we are using Immunotherapy to fight against the disease. I am happy to say that is has been working and I am in Partial Remission. The difference in this fight is that I have
more wisdom.

I know that this is not only affecting my body but even more importantly, it is affecting my mind. I was traumatized from going through the first battle. I thought that I was tough, athletic and too intelligent to feel badly about surviving a near death experience. Part was survivor’s guilt but the other was mainly fear. Fear that I had blocked out in order to keep a positive mindset all came back at the onset of my relapse. I started to have panic attacks, which I never had in my life, and I started thinking that I was constantly having a heart attack. My wife kept telling me that I should see a therapist proving once again that marrying her was the best decision of my life.

I have changed a lot over the last two years. I started to meditate in addition to seeing a therapist. I slowed things down and started taking smaller bites out of life. I began to deal with what was right in front of me and not worrying about what may happen down the road. I learned to accept and embrace the fact that I was close to death and I am fighting against a disease that could be fatal. I am truly accepting of the fact that I will eventually die. NO ONE gets out of life alive. Whether old age, a car accident, choking on a piece of corn, or this disease, something will take us out. THUS WE MUST LIVE LIFE AMONGST OUR CHALLENGES.

There may not be a tomorrow but I am going to make this an amazing day. I love to travel, workout and experience new things. I also love to read and write and share my story to help inspire others. I do not feel 100% all the time and there are some harsh side affects that come with the new treatment but I am still here. I have forged amazing friendships and my wife and I are starting a family together.

I have climbed Mt.Rainier with my best friends and brothers, while on treatment. My wife and I rented jet skis and snuck off to a little island in the middle of a bay. I won’t give details but this was all while receiving one of the hardest doses of chemo that I’ve encountered.

I encourage you all who are living with challenges and those that have yet to meet your greatest challenge as of yet, to embrace what is happening, seek help to guide you in the process, and
continue living. There are people in this world who are suffering just like you. Let us inspire one another. Let us have empathy and compassion for one another. Let us love one another.

We will all, one day, exit this earth. I had to meditate on that to fully appreciate the time I have left.

4 Comments

  1. Anti-Cancer Club
    Anti-Cancer Club / January 29, 2017 at 4:29 pm /Reply

    Charles,

    You speak so eloquently for (and to) all of us in this situation. May we all find the wisdom to manage; the kindness to reach out and inspire; and may we all live long, useful lives. Thank you, my friend, for sharing this.

  2. Anti-Cancer Club
    Anti-Cancer Club / January 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm /Reply

    Charles your writing fills one heart with inspiration, promise for ones future whatever road it may at this time being taking one. Even in facing a life challenging illness you give one hope a passion for life. You my Son are a brave,stong Man who always has and continues to live your life not only on your terms but “your way”. Love your Mother xxxx

  3. Avatar
    Susan Sewald / April 22, 2018 at 11:35 am /Reply

    This is what has been within me, yet I have been unable to express. Living each day to the fullest is different for every individual, but you know when you are doing it. We should all live bravely every single day, with or without this diagnosis. I am not a survivor, I am a warrior through the daily battle.

    • Anti-Cancer Club
      Anti-Cancer Club / April 23, 2018 at 11:29 am /Reply

      I hear you about the daily battle! Thanks for the thoughts…Charles is such a good writer and I think he captures the sentiments of many of us.

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