Christmas come early: I’m Cancer Free.

Holiday Greetings Everyone,

This update is overdue, but for the most part, it’s safe to assume that no news is good news at this point.  To that point, I’ll get right to it: I’m cancer free.

I had a PET scan last week and, to quote the radiologist’s report, “there was minimal uptake at the periphery of the mediastinum,” but nothing lighting up in a way that would indicate relapse.  Translation: Everything is looking good.  The activity at the periphery of the mediastinum is common in patients that have received radiation therapy (which I have) and is no cause for concern.  I’ll have a full CT Scan in Feb/March, which will mark our next milestone on this journey back to full health.  Until then, I continue on the maintenance chemo regimen–a combination of daily, weekly, and monthly pills along with once-a-month IV infusions.

In November I had my eighth and final (God willing) dose of intrathecal chemotherapy.

In November I had my eighth and final (God willing) dose of intrathecal chemotherapy.

One year ago this week (December 4th, 2011) I was in the ER with back pain and breathing problems.  An X-ray revealed an unidentified mass in my chest, between my heart and lung. Four days later, on December 8th, I was officially diagnosed with stage IV lymphoma/leukemia.  As we approach the one year anniversary of my diagnosis, I’ve been awash in a variety of not-so-pleasant memories.  It’s crazy to think that it was only twelve months ago that this whole chapter of my life began. 

For better or worse, 2012 has been a year in which I enjoyed the full human experience.  The emotional highs and lows, physical ups and downs, sunshine and rain, constant change and utter impermanence of this human experience.  I got my money’s worth in 2012, that’s for sure.  I didn’t have a choice!  And, as terrible as it was, in my darkest days, when I wondered ‘why me?’; when time stood still; when it seemed things would be easier if I just died; when it felt like I was living a nightmare; as bad as it was at its worst, when I look back on 2012, I have just as many pleasant memories.  Well, maybe not ‘just as many’…but a lot!

I am, and will be forever grateful to those of you who have reached out to me in this past year with emails, text messages, phone calls, greeting cards, words of encouragement, prayers, positive thoughts–even those of you who have just followed the blog–it all makes a difference.  And I’m not just speaking for myself, but for Natasha, and both of our families as well.  We have been overwhelmed by the love and support that we’ve felt over the past year.

I’ve learned a lot in 2012.  About myself, about life.  More than I can share, or than you would care to read.  But, if I had to narrow it down to just one thing, there is a tired cliche that I find myself repeating: Life is short.

Wagners and Moshirians celebrating Thanksgiving 2012

Wagners and Moshirians celebrating Thanksgiving 2012

It doesn’t matter how long we live.  How much time is enough time with the people we love?  I mean, we all have our arguments, and petty beef, but when it comes right down to it, what is more important than the time spent with friends and family?  A wise man once said, a great bottle of wine is best shared.

So, I guess I’d like to propose a holiday toast: To life’s ups and downs, and to the friends who we’re so lucky to have beside us on this wild and crazy (and short) ride we call life.  Happy and healthy holidays.


20 thoughts on “Christmas come early: I’m Cancer Free.

  1. Tyler! Woo hoo! We are thrilled and delighted beyond belief at your cancer-free status! You’ve endured so much these past 12 months and we are relieved that you have hung in there in the face of unspeakable challenges, sickness, pain and fear, and, especially, that the worst is now behind you. I know a bit about some of the challenges you faced as I, too, am a survivor – from breast cancer. You are so right, my friend. Life IS short and we are only promised this moment, so we must live fully and passionately, giving ourselves to the NOW, grateful for all of our friends, family and the many other kind souls on this amazing journey with us . Thank you for sharing the wonderful news. I toast YOU and lift you up! You are our holiday cheer this year!

    Big hugs and much love from the Schachts in Nebraska, Alaska, California and Iowa!

  2. Congratulations! Wow, I’m not sure you ever shared with the group that you were stage 4 (or maybe I missed it) but either way it is almost miraculous that in 12 months you have beat this. It has been a difficult but very rewarding to “watch” this experience via your blog. I’m so glad we can all stop thinking about and praying for you ;p (of course kidding). Can’t wait to see what the rest of your life with your beautiful bride has in store for you.
    God Bless,

  3. Best Christmas letter ever. We are so thrilled that this ugliness is largely behind you and you can start planning for the rest of your life…congratulations Tyler.

  4. Tyler,
    Words can not describe how I feel, but I can say for sure that this is the best Christmas gift I will ever get! Love you guys SO much!

  5. Awesome, Tyler. Our thoughts have been with you daily; you and yours will STAY in our thoughts–perhaps over that shared bottle of wine with your parents.

  6. Fantastically good news. The perfect way to begin the holiday season. Here’s to a hundred healthy years to follow. Your cousin (whom you don’t know)–Fred Wiemer

  7. Tyler, that is just fantastic news! I can NOT imagine how much this means to you.
    Your Lincoln Brothers and Sister have been thinking about you and your families.
    I know you ride… now get up here to the beautiful northwest and ride with us! Bring everyone!
    We have plenty of room and things to do. You tell me what kind of riding you want to do and Ill get the bikes arranged. I need a few more bracelets.
    MAN I am just FIRED UP for you!

  8. Deck the Halls! That is such WONDERFUL news! Truly a Christmas gift that was a long time coming. You are amazing and I’m blessed to have been following your courageous journey – has put the petty problems of day-to-day life in perspective. Happiest of Holidays to you and your family! xoxox **Mary**

  9. CONGRATULATIONS to you both—WONDERFUL news!! All our prayers and positive thinking WORKED!! Now, go have an AMAZING holiday season…and LIFE!! 🙂

    Hugs and blessings to you,
    Ann Wood and family

  10. Jay and I had lunch yesterday and and one of the first things he did was ask me “How is Tyler doing?” as he has done regularly this past year.
    I was so thrilled to share the wonderful news! We both had a tear in our eye reminiscing what has taken place in your life. We have no idea what you have endured.
    We do know that you, your future bride, your parents, your sister, your Team, AND God were not to be denied!!!

  11. Congratulations Tyler. I’m sitting here with Brad Hansen and Erica Jorn and we are so happy to hear that you are cancer free. We’ve been reminiscing about Spain all weekend and thinking about you. Best wishes to you and your loved ones who must be so excited!

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