A brand new year “2015” Woohoo! I survived 2014 and I feel really good about my ongoing treatments. I am in hopes that the treatments will shrink the mass in my lung. January through April was quiet. I had my three sessions of chemo every month and went to work daily.
On May 4 I had an MRI of my head and on May 6 a CT scan of my body. On Friday, May 8 the results were in and the doctor told me that I was in full remission. The mass in my lung was completely gone and the only thing visible was scar tissue. My wife was with me and we looked at each other in amazement; completely gone? There were no words to describe the sensation we felt at that moment. We know that my cancer is not curable, but to have the mass not be there was something we did not expect to hear. We were absolutely elated and I thought about how blessed I am to have God extend my life for a while longer. I feel like I am a walking miracle; there is something I have to do before I leave mortality. Hopefully I will figure it out and get it accomplished.
I am still dealing with fatigued and short-term memory loss. Let me tell you short-term memory loss is not fun. I misplaced a pair of prescription sunglasses and it took me months before I found them only to misplace them again. On top of that I misplaced my keys a while back which took me several weeks before I found them only to misplace them again. It seems to me that I am having these episodes more frequently instead of fewer.
Chemo therapy sessions are now on hold/suspended until further notice. With the suspension of my chemo therapy my maintenance program is to take oral medication once a day, have lab work done monthly and scans done every two months. Now I can hope that being in remission will last for years and not just months. On July 13 I had my scan and it showed that I am still in remission. At this time there are no signs of cancer returning. This brings us up to date and concludes my story for now.
This has been a long two years and I have learned a lot about myself and about people that I interact with. I am so blessed to have my wife by my side, for someone to talk with about my circumstances, someone that understands that I may never get back to feeling 100% and carries the burden with me. Meeting my wife over 40 years ago is still fresh in my memory. I recall looking into her eyes and they just seem to glitter, her laughter and upbeat spirit was special and the way she looked at me in a kind and gentle way I knew I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. I love her warm smile, her kind and thoughtful ways and the joy she brings to my life every day. I am grateful to the children we had and so proud of whom they have become. Our daughter delivered a beautiful little girl on July 15. She is 8lbs 1 ounce and 22 inches long. Her name is Cara Rose. This is our daughter’s second child and our twelfth grandchild. Life is good and I am happy to be here on earth living in a blessed and sacred land; the good old U.S. of A.
I want to thank my work family; they have been nothing but supportive and encouraging. I always have a listening ear; they provide me with encouragement and uplift my spirits. They truly care about me and hope for the best for me. This week I found a Willow Tree figurine on my desk, left anonymously, with a card that says “You make the world a better place”. Doesn’t that touch your heart? It certainly touches mine and I want to thank the individual who gave that figurine to me. Everyone at work makes me feel special and I am blessed to have them in my life.
I want to also thank my church family for their guidance, counsel and prayers. I appreciate their concerns for me and my wife. The phone calls and visits have greatly lifted our spirits along with the meals and treats that were brought over to the house.
What Have I Learned from this Experience?
First of all I started gaining strength and became more determined to live when I read Fighting Cancer and Cancer …there’s hope by Richard and Annette Bloch, Richard being one of the co-founders of H&R Block. These books are free, go to www.blochcancer.org to order your copy. If anyone reading this knows someone that has cancer it is a must read. It provided me with real hope and that I had a real chance to live longer.
“The four most important factors in the successful treatment of cancer are prompt treatment, proper treatment, thorough medical treatment and a positive mental attitude”. Taken from page 195 of Fighting Cancer.
One of the things I had to learn, early on, was not going to the internet to evaluate my situation. Every time I did I came across really depressing information. The doctors told me not to go there because every person is different and everyone responds differently to the same treatments.
I realized that staying positive, upbeat and doing alternative therapy (that would not harm me) along with what the doctor prescribes really helped me. Leaning on my support system was beneficial and I did that a lot at the beginning. Talking about how I felt and what I was going through was really important and being transparent about my situation at work showed my teammates that I am human and not superman. I wasn’t looking for sympathy, I just needed to talk it out and my teammates were there for me. Doing this was very insightful because I received advice, experience of others and inspiration.
Key Success Factors:
So what’s Next?
I am retiring next year and will spend more time with my family. I want to do some remodeling on our house and serve a mission for our church. I would like to golf, bowl, and bike ride and walk more frequently. Most importantly I want to relax, enjoy the family and be in the service of my God.
I want to thank everyone who has read my story. I hope it has helped you in some way and maybe you can pass this along to someone who is discouraged and having a rough time. My story is not the most inspiring but I hope I touched someone. Take care and God bless.
Normand Dubreuil was the President and CEO of Maine State Credit Union. He has two professional designations; CCUE - Certified Credit Union Executive and CCE -Certified Chief Executive. He's was with MSCU from 1985 - 2016 and worked in the credit union industry since 1977. His educational background is Accounting and Business Administration. He worked with the credit union's philanthropic cause, Maine Credit Unions Campaign for Ending Hunger. He served as a board member for the credit union's state trade association and was also the chairman of their Technology Services Committee. Normand also serves in his church in various leadership roles. He is married, has four children and twelve grandchildren.
After being diagnosed in 2013 with stage IV lung cancer he decided he wanted to be an advocate for the cause in providing hope, encouragement and inspiration to other lung cancer survivors and families. Being involved with a lung cancer organization has provided him the opportunity to reach out to others, touch lives and assist those with needs. In some small way he is hoping to give of himself in order to help others achieve their goals. He served as a board member for Free ME from Lung Cancer foundation.