If I have more time, then I need to treasure that time and use it in the most positive way.
I came to MD Anderson in 1981 and started the brain tumor clinic with several colleagues. We worked with the idea of developing a research-based clinical translational program focusing on both laboratory and clinical research.
In 1990, I developed some urgent symptoms. The urologist thought it was a congenital problem. We did multiple procedures to try to relieve it but weren't successful. Finally in 1999, when the urgency and pain were much more intense, we did an in-depth biopsy and discovered I had a transitional cell cancer of the bladder neck. I underwent intensive chemotherapy for five months followed by an extensive surgical procedure to remove the bladder and the prostate, and to reconstruct a neo-bladder. The chemotherapy was so effective that surgery showed we had achieved a complete pathological remission. After I finished my treatment, Dr. John Mendelsohn, then president of MD Anderson, appointed me to be chair of the Department of Neuro-Oncology. I served as the chair until 2015.
Every cancer patient experiences, given the diagnosis, two things to think about: what to do for treatment and what you do afterwards with the time you've been given. I've developed the perspective that time is precious. If I have more time, then I need to treasure that time and use it in the most positive way. I chose to continue with my passion that I had before my cancer diagnosis and in fact hurry things along a bit more, recognizing I don't know how much time I'm given. So, I treasure every moment of time and keep moving forward with energy and gratitude.
Promise invites cancer survivors to share their reflections. Email email@example.com.