I Beat Cancer at 19 But I’m Still Fighting To Be Healthy

I beat cancer when I was nineteen. Thirty years later I still have legacy health issues. But, hey, I'm not dead.

I beat cancer when I was 19. Well, I say “beat” but you don’t really win against cancer, it leaves all sorts of mental and physical scars. Thirty or so years later its easy to forget how my life changed and  my legacy of small health issues.

I got early treatment from a progressive surgeon who was willing to share some risk with me. We took some difficult decisions to avoid the more damaging choices and take some calculated risks about the spread of the cancer. In hindsight, they were the right choices and I avoided surgery that would have nearly crippled me and negative impacts on my life today. Compared to some people, I had what medical people call “a good outcome”.

A “good outcome” doesn’t mean fully healthy. I developed a few secondary medical problems around that time. Nothing too serious (compared to dying, at least).

One that took 10 years to diagnose is a viral infection that gets grouped into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If I work too hard, expend too much energy, too much stress and don’t get enough sleep then my body isn’t able to cope. Sometimes I miss the warning signs, I get fevers, exhaustion, lack of concentration.

I’m thankful to be alive. I’m thankful to not die a truly awful death through cancer eating me alive from the inside. But I’m still fighting to stay healthy, to keep living. These viral relapses remind me that I’m not dead and that science is a wonder.

I’ve had several bad weeks with exhaustion which is longer than usual recovery period. I’m not able to concentrate fully. I’m not keeping up with my schedule and commitments. I need to sleep 12 hours a day to return to health.

But I’m not dead so it’s a good outcome. I’ll keep telling myself that until I’m back to full power.


  1. You’re not dead, and you have friends. I’m learning as my life goes on just how valuable genuine friends are…one of the best outcomes.

  2. Take care…postponing schedules and commitments is better than the alternative!

  3. Thanks for sharing. There are definitely others out there that share your afflictions and journey. My wife had thyroid cancer and now battles CFS because of the hormone imbalances caused by not having a thyroid.

  4. Waleed Aldeghaithir
    Waleed Aldeghaithir

    Your words inspired me a lot! I first knew you only by your blog and then the amazing PacketPusher was only Networking Podcast I have ever known that time.. I learned from you a lot in networking, your blog is really enthusist and motivative. I hope you keep your good posts becuase I as many enjoying them every day and every week. You are not dead Greg!
    I wish you all best in your life!

  5. Edward Zambrano
    Edward Zambrano

    thanks for sharing, sometimes we forget that there’s a person behind blogs with a life, problems, dreams and experiences

  6. Greg, you’re an inspiration. Been reading your blogs and listening to the podcasts for ages. You’re right it is easy to forget – my son has CHD, whilst he’s looks and acts like normal 5 year old it is so easy to forget the task at hand and how fragile his life is.

    Best wishes to you and hope you live a long and prosperous life.

  7. darraghdelaney

    Fair play to you Greg. Really like your blogs, sometimes its easy to forget about the people behind the great content out there and the difficulties they may have.

  8. Conrad Britton
    Conrad Britton

    You’re an inspiration, I really appreciate what you have done for the community, I have learnt a lot just reading your Blogs and listening to the Podcasts. Thanks Greg

  9. This is unbelievable..From your funny innuendos to networking proficiency, I would have never guessed that there must have been such a history behind you. You’re truly awesome sir!!

  10. Respect u for all the good work you are doing.. kudos

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