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Meet Tim

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As the snow begins to melt, and the air gets a little bit warmer, it's time to grab a cup of tea and meet another neighbour here on CancerConnection.ca. This month we're please to introduce you to Tim- better known on here as t_bar. Here's more about Tim, who agreed to answer our CancerConnection.ca survey.


Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your cancer experience

Hi...my name's Tim, my wife and I live in the great little town of Mission B.C., I'm a cabinet maker by trade and love the outdoors boating/fishing, camping/hiking, gardening. I also like to build and create things etc.

 
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In the spring of 2014 I noticed my jawline looked a little puffy and swollen along the left side, after visits to my GP and a Specialist, ultrasounds and biopsies, what was first thought of as a plugged saliva duct, was now confirmed to be cancer - high grade salivary duct carcinoma. Needless to say I was in shock, not only because the chances of getting this type of cancer are pretty astronomical, but I'd hardly been sick a day in my life and had never even spent a night in the hospital before. Well....that was all going to change.

Treatment started that September with surgery to remove one of the saliva glands, but when they got in there they found a few surprises like a number of tumors, one big one sitting on, and just beginning to infiltrate my jugular vein, and ended up having to go down across my collar bone to remove 27 lymph nodes. I was lucky to have a very experienced surgeon and things went well. Everything removed tested positive for stage III or IV  adenocarcinoma and I knew I was in for a tough fight.
 
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Once I was healed up enough the next step was radiation/chemo. The head of the radiation department didn't mince any words laying out what was in store for me, but I'd already decided I would want the most aggressive treatment offered, and we went ahead with it. Treatment lasted for about seven weeks with 35 sessions doing both sides of my head each time. I came out 55 lbs lighter...a tough way to lose your beer belly! After a number of months recuperating, scans were indicating the all clear, then my oncologists gave the all clear and it looked like I could start putting this all behind me. Great news! I told everybody I was in remission and was preparing to go back to work.  
 
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Only a week or two after that a pea sized bump appeared on my upper chest, I wasn't too worried about it because I'd just had a scan giving the all clear, and I was feeling pretty good. I went in to have it looked at, the Dr. biopsied it and sent it off to be tested. Everyone was shocked and surprised when it came back positive, looks like this things weren't over yet. After more tests and a visit to the surgeon it's decided that he'll do a second surgery to remove more tumors and part of my thyroid gland. This time there was going to be some complications, having had radiation in the area. 

Well that's about half way through my journey with this thing so far, and I think I might be getting a little long winded, so I'll wind it up by saying I had two more surgeries on my neck and a 4th was ruled out on my chest and lungs. I'm now into a six month round of chemo to try and slow things down, and also in a trail program called POG, which offers a lot of hope for people both now and into the future.                       
                            

Q: Since your diagnosis, where have you found the most support, the most comfort?

 Family, friends, and co-workers have all been fantastic, everyone at the cancer clinic was awesome and made me feel I had a great team on my side.  
 
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Q: Did you get any words of wisdom that have inspired you, that are helping you through your cancer journey?

Nothing I can put my finger on, but I find it helps to hear other people's stories, how they deal with this roller coaster ride that nobody wants to be on. For the most part I think you need to look inside, see what's there, and do you're best with it. 
 
 
Q: What is one thing you want everyone to know about having cancer?

Sometimes it's a long hard road and it's tough to beat, but it can be done.

 
Q: How has CancerConnection.ca helped you through your cancer experience?

I've enjoyed reading the posts, learning a few things along the way, posting something myself or commenting on one, and connecting with people....all have been a big help in one way or another.

 
Q: If you found a genie bottle and could make three wishes, what would you wish for?

Have you ever seen that work out in books or movies? Think I'd pass  (-;
But I do wish everyone reading this Courage, Strength... and a little Luck wouldn't hurt either.
 
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We'd like to thank Tim for sharing some of his story and his photos with us. If you are interested in being featured in one of our monthly Meet your Neighbour posts, please send a private message to Nicole_admin, or email us at cancerconnection@cancer.ca.



 
 




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