BY MIKE METZLER
As chemo and radiation treatments for Stage 4 head and neck cancer began in early 2009, the author started a blog called “Mike Metzler Beats Cancer.” The purpose of the blog was to keep friends and family informed about Mike’s progress towards recovery and to welcome friends and family as a part of “Team Mike,” led by his wife Terry. Mike was confident that his treatments would be successful and that he’d return to his normal life within a few months; it took ten months before he received the “No evidence of disease” (NED) result from his doctors. His journey in Cancer World was over, or so he thought; almost immediately after his NED result, signs of serious side-effects of treatments started to emerge. Over the next ten years, those side effects would reveal themselves as serious, and a number of them would leave Mike with physical deformities and disabilities for the rest of his life. So, what was first hoped to be one journey, the months from diagnosis to NED, turned into two, the second being the long and unpredictable path of discovering and coping with the side effects of being treated for head and neck cancer. The blog entries from 2009 to 2018 provided the raw material for this book, with other stories and memories added later to give additional insights into each journey.
The book shows how Mike’s unwavering optimism, his sense of humor, his resolve to endure brutal cancer treatments, and his determination to handle each and every side effect helped him to persevere. The book also shows how Mike’s primary caregiver, his large network of support and number of medical professionals pulled together to get Mike through Journey 1 and have helped to keep Journey 2 going for more than ten years now. The author notes that, for him, all he has gone through in Cancer World beats the alternative of being a cancer victim.