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Survivor Story
Steve Andrews - Idaho

"Life is a journey."  That is what the Pastor at my church said when I told him of my situation.

I had a fantastic summer in 2012.  My Executive MBA Program at Boise State kept me very busy during the school year.  I took advantage of my free time by going "all in" with my athletic obsession - triathlons. I did three 70.3 Ironmans - Boise, Lake Stevens, and Boulder.  My friend, Dale Nelson, and I raced all three and had a great time traveling together. I capped the race season off by finishing my first sub 6 hour 70.3 race at Boulder - finishing at 5:56.  I did one more race in September, the Hidden Springs Duathlon - finishing 3rd in my age group!  It was September 15, 2012, and I was in the best shape of my life.

The following week, I started to experience some minor stomach and back pains.  It was nothing major, just a nagging ache.  This did not stop me from going to Park City for my annual mountain bike ride with some good friends.

During my MBA trip to Vietnam in October, the pain increased in frequency and magnitude. Upon returning to Boise, I went to the doctor, and we started some tests.  Soon the doctors told me that I had Stage IV esophageal cancer.  They said I had between six months to a year to live.  Immediately I started chemotherapy and my tumors began to shrink.  As of today (March 28, 2014) I only have a few tumors remaining and they are quite small.  Although I'm not 100% cancer free,  I feel optimistic that I will be around for years to come.  I still work out as much as possible and compete in several triathlons every year.  And I still work full time.

My story gets even more interesting.  Two years before my diagnosis my wife Julene was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  She finished chemo just prior to my getting the bad news.  Luckily her cancer is in remission.  What are the odds of a husband and wife both getting cancer?

Nobody can predict the future, and I was totally blindsided by my cancer.  But I have learned a lot about life since my diagnosis.  My life pre-cancer was that of a Type A personality:  working long hours, high stress level, and lack of sleep.  Now I don't take things so seriously; I live a stress free life;  and I get a minimum of nine hours of sleep every night.  I have also changed my diet to a whole foods, non-meat, non-processed foods diet.  I think all of these factors are helping me win the battle against cancer.   You cannot get too cocky when battling cancer, but you definitely feel good when you win more battles than you lose.  There are no guarantees in life and all of us have setbacks.  But the key is how you deal with the troubled times.

I will leave you with some advice:   When dealing with a disease like cancer you must put some "skin in the game."  You must fully understand everything your doctor tells you.  Request second opinions and continue to ask your doctors questions.  Doctors are overwhelmed with patients and cannot give you 24 hours a day service.  You control your own destiny.  Take ownership of your treatments and give your doctors some input.  I have found they will welcome the dialog.

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Welcome Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer
Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer is dedicated to raising awareness about stomach cancer, advancing funding for research, and providing education and support internationally to patients, families, and caregivers. DDF seeks as its ultimate goal to make the cure for stomach cancer a reality. Visit our Contact Us Page
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