Team LIVESTRONG is taking on the 2014 Freescale Austin Marathon and Half Marathon on February 16, 2014. Hear from teammate survivor and runner, David Tanza as he retells his cancer journey and how he got involved with the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Join David and 300 other Team LIVESTRONG runners taking on the Austin race by registering at: http://www.livestrong.org/events/1630/
How have you been affected by cancer?
My journey began in February 2012. During a routine physical my doctor decided I should have a chest x-ray for a slight cough. The x-ray showed a mass in my chest. It appeared that my thymus gland did not shrink as it should have when I was young and a tumor developed on part of the gland. The thymus gland is located below the sternum and a biopsy of the mass could not be accurately performed without removal. So in March 2012, I had surgery – a sternotomy (opening my chest). A biopsy showed I had thymic carcinoma. The fear is that this cancer can turn into lung cancer. The good news is that it appears things were caught early and the tumor was isolated to the thymus gland. I began radiation treatment in June 2012 with concurrent chemotherapy that went through August.
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
To give back for the support LIVESTRONG gave me during my treatment. LIVESTRONG provided me with much needed resources when I faced my cancer diagnosis. LIVESTRONG helped me cope emotionally with my cancer diagnosis by providing straight, open talk about cancer, via one-on-one support. They helped guide me through my cancer experience and made resources available that helped me understand my diagnosis, treatments and recovery concerns. LIVESTRONG helped me talk openly about my cancer with my wife, family and friends.
How else have you participated with the LIVESTRONG Foundation?
Since my form of cancer is rare, Livestrong connected me with Imerman Angels. I was able to talk to someone who had thymic carcinoma, and I have been able to provide support to two other people with this form of cancer. I have recently tried to connect my oncologist with the LIVESTRONG Foundation as a resource for his other patients.
Have you used the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s navigation services? (LIVESTRONG Guidebook, www.LIVESTRONG.org/We-Can-Help, our toll-free number 1-855-220-7777, or other navigation services)? If so, which ones? Did it help? In what way? Would you recommend our services to others, and why?
Yes, the guidebook, on-line webinars, and one-on-one support (Hannah Gibson-Moore provided awesome support!). I feel I got straight talk, without pity and what really helped was being called a “survivor” right off the bat. This helped me keep a positive attitude during my radiation and chemotherapy treatments. I recommend LIVESTRONG to anyone affected by cancer because they can answer any question about cancer; from understanding a diagnosis, learning about insurance issues, dietary help, and getting emotional support.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
LIVESTRONG means support and a positive connection to others that are affected by cancer. I am constantly inspired by the stories of other survivors and their families and friends.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer?
Appreciate all those special moments with loved ones because every day is a treasure.
Join David and the rest of Team LIVESTRONG at the 2014 Freescale Austin Marathon and Half Marathon by registering at: http://www.livestrong.org/events/1630/