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May 18, 2009 / Steven Pousty

So here it is – I have cancer

More specifically – I have B-Cell Lymphoma.

Met my oncologist on Thursday last week and he, Dr. Derrick Wong, is awesome. He tolerates me well, extracts bone marrow in record time and has a great sense of humor. For the record, having bone marrow taken out hurts more than skinning your knee but less that root canal with semi-effective anesthesia or less than Thai massage when it hits a really owwwie spot. The Queen told me I should be glad I did not see the needles and bone sample things they used. I have the distinct feeling I am going to end up being like cartman http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/103511 – don’t watch if you don’t like southpark

He told me that my disease is incredibly treatable, no matter what stage I come back as, and the treatments are cookbook. I go to get a PET and CAT scan this week and then probably begin chemo the week after. He also said on the scale of 1 = woosy chemo and 10 = chuck-Norris-world-of-hurt chemo, mine would be a 3. If I am stage 1, it is 3 courses of chemo and 1 round of radiation – any other stage and its 6 rounds of chemo. I find out my staging after all the test results are in. If you need to pray and hope for something I would ask for 1) spontaneous remission 2) barring that let me be stage 1.

We told the kids that Daddy has cancer but that there are lots of types of cancer. Baruch Hashem, mine is very treatable. I will have 4-6 months of taking medicine and then I will be all better. Oldest asked if the medicine would make me crazy and I asked her how would she be able to tell. Middle wanted to know what color my lymph node was and what color the medicine would be. Youngest said ok and wanted to go back inside so we could play Wii.

I have spoken to many people about my disease now but it still hasn’t really sunk in – I don’t feel sick yet I have this disease in me that, if left untreated, would probably kill me in a year or so. Given all I have read, all I have heard from my friends, all I have heard from DRs, talking to other survivors, and everyones love and support I am extremely upbeat. I plan on being sick for several months and then getting back on with my life. I plan on trying to work through this whole time period. I feel extremely fortunate that this is “all” I have to deal with – it could have been so much worse.

For most of the time I am happy, upbeat, and positive. For those other times it’s not something a little nap and some nice medications can’t take care of.  I am loving all the jokes and joy people are sending my way. We can all move on from sorry now and move on to kicking ass – except when I need to really milk the sympathy a bit.

I plan on looking into team in training, so I can finally get good at riding a bike. I could use some advice on DSi versus PSP (hand-held game consoles). I need something to do during my day long chemo sessions and I am totally parlaying this into getting a handheld game console. I tried to work it for a PS3 but didn’t get very far on that one and there was no movement on a 40” flat screen tv for the Wii.

Please understand if I don’t respond to comments here right away – I am busy giving my kids good daddy time, dealing with testing and paperwork, and trying to stay sane. I will try my best but no promises…

On that note you can expect some posts focusing on cancer here for a bit. I am already cooking up a diatribe on how we as a society have come to poison ourselves.

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24 Comments

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  1. sbixeloutside / May 18 2009 11:09 am

    Livestrong, be strong, stay strong. I am always up for a good bike ride, if you need a riding partner. Team in Training is an awesome orgnazation and does great work for the cancer community. Stay positive and those around will as well. Good Luck.

    @sbixel

  2. stephen o'grady / May 18 2009 11:32 am

    Terrible news on the cancer, fantastic news re: the prognosis. You’ll beat it and be stronger for it.

    Let us at RedMonk know if there’s anything we can do. Otherwise just kick its ass.

    – sog

  3. Steven Citron-Pousty / May 18 2009 12:04 pm

    Thanks you guys – this is EXACTLY the kind of encouragement I am talking about. Hey Stephen, next time you are out here should we try to figure out a way to go fishing. I haven’t been since we moved to the bay and I am jonesing…
    SBixel, where are you located? Once I get myself in a little bit of shape I would love to ride together.

  4. Stacy G. / May 18 2009 12:22 pm

    DAMN – I hate news like this! But I know that if anyone can kick this thing in the ass it is you! There is no way that cancer can beat you – with your amazing spirit and energy! Having had both family and friends with various types of cancer, and my best friend with Hodgkins Lymphoma I’m all about providing support – so please don’t hesitate to give me a shout out if there is anything I can do!!

  5. Ragi Burhum / May 18 2009 12:41 pm

    Not the GIS post I was expecting to read today. I am really sorry for the situation… however half of beating a disease is the attitude you have towards it, and you seem to have more than the right amount.

    By the way, go with PSP and God Of War to warmup. Once you beat that game, we can start with other recommendations…

  6. Thomas Emge / May 18 2009 12:42 pm

    Steven,

    I wish you all the best for your treatment and stay positive about it. Please keep us (the folks at ESRI) posted.

    On the handheld site of things you might to consider an iPod Touch as well. Even though I don’t have one it looks like a heck of a gaming platform. The ability to listen to podcasts (with your eyes closed) and watching videocasts (like the fantastic TED series – but eyes open) might come in very handy.

  7. TomO / May 18 2009 1:08 pm

    As I’ve said.. I feel badly for the poor cancer who picked you… ’cause he’s gonna get his A$$ Kicked! Oof… Talk to you soon, T

  8. Sean Gillies / May 18 2009 2:29 pm

    I’m told a good attitude is everything, Steve. Take care of yourself and don’t let the bumpy road to recovery get you down. Best wishes, Sean (and family).

  9. Lili Rosenstreich / May 19 2009 3:19 pm

    Your attitude is an inspiration. We are thinking of you.

  10. kim roffman(morah Kim) / May 19 2009 5:20 pm

    Stay strong and positive!!! I will be thinking of you and your beautiful family and praying for a quick “ride” to remission!! i want to hear about your bike adventures very soon!! i love what #7 said!! Love,
    Kim

  11. snoopdave / May 19 2009 5:47 pm

    Wow! that was scary seeing the title of your post, but I’m so happy to hear that this is incredibly treatable and to see your positive attitude. Thanks for writing about this.

    – Dave

  12. Marc Pfister / May 19 2009 8:13 pm

    Best wishes on your recovery. I assume you won’t be at Where(Camp) – I’ll miss not having an ESRI compatriot to roll eyes with.

    If you need ANY help with bike stuff, let me know – I worked in the bike industry before I somehow lateraled into mapping.

  13. Steven Citron-Pousty / May 20 2009 7:41 am

    Thanks everyone – see this is what I mean about everyone support being tremendous – I really love you guys.
    Marc – I will be there on Friday morning and early afternoon before I have to leave for my CAT scan. I will probably be there on Saturday after I do my shabbat prayers.

  14. Steven Citron-Pousty / May 20 2009 7:42 am

    Thomas Emge you are a genius – right now I am leaning toward the ipod touch.

  15. Sterling Quinn / May 20 2009 11:43 am

    Steve- I just stumbled across this post. This was a shock, but you seem to be approaching the situation with such a good attitude. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Our family will keep you in our prayers.

  16. Paolo / May 29 2009 12:07 pm

    Hey Steve, just realized now what is happening to you… i and my wife will strongly keep our fingers for you and thinking of you. With your positive attitude you will win. Good luck, my friend!

  17. Govind / Jun 2 2009 8:00 am

    Hey Steve, sorry to hear the news. I think you’re approaching this as you do with all things in life – with guts and stamina. Best of luck my friend and I will see you next time you will be in London!

  18. Saul Rosenstreich / Jun 6 2009 11:56 am

    Hi Steve,

    Dana linked me to your blog and having visited I thought I leave a little note. Your upbeat attitude is inspiring and to my mind very appropriate – and healthy. Suzi and my thoughts are with you. We hope you will feel free to ask for any assistence we may be able to offer. Can I assume that your medical reports on your blog are fairly complete? One thing I can do is to try to calm your mother down. When I last spoke to her the other day, she seemed more reasonable – since you actually started the chemo. What is the best venue to communicate with you – the blog, Face Book, email or phone(not that I expect to do this a lot, but it does seem that there is little one can do in these situations but to talk)?

    Love to Jill and your family,

    Saul

  19. Saul Rosenstreich / Jul 9 2009 6:30 pm

    Just checking to see how your’re doing – hope the absence of a posting is only a refection of how busy (but how ill) you are. Your Mom told me you are tolerating your chemo fairly well and you are managing to go to work through it all. I hope you have a nice visit with your folks. Suzi and I send all our love and best wishes.

    Saul

  20. Saul Rosenstreich / Jul 9 2009 6:31 pm

    That should have been (NOT how ill) a bad typo, indeed

    Saul

  21. vexie / May 25 2010 9:32 am

    great post.

  22. Toby / Aug 26 2011 11:33 am

    Hey man, I just read this page.

    What was the outcome of the treatment?

  23. Steven Citron-Pousty / Aug 26 2011 11:40 am

    The treatment seems to have worked – all my scans are clear. I just had my 2 year scan – if I make it to 5 years without a recurrence I am considered “cured”

  24. Toby / Sep 3 2011 2:31 am

    Fantastic news. Glad to hear it.

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