Kevin Arway’s Story

Meet Kevin Arway. He is a husband to Traci and a father to three wonderful children- Kieran, Lillian and Addison. Kevin has shared his moving story here, including the impact Cancer Support Community has had in his life.

Traci has offered another view of the Arway family’s heartwarming story, along with her perspective on how Cancer Support Community has helped throughout their cancer journey.

As we enter the holiday season, please consider a gift to Cancer Support Community Central Ohio. Your donation provides programs for families like the Arways …. so no one has to face cancer alone.

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Meet Kevin Arway. He is a husband to Traci and a father to three wonderful children- Kieran, Lillian and Addison. Kevin has shared his moving story here, including the impact Cancer Support Community has had in his life. Traci has offered another view of the Arway family’s heartwarming story, along with her perspective on how Cancer Support Community has… Read more.

Rev. David W. Nuhfer’s Survivor Story

DAVID

I am a cancer survivor. In February 1983, I was told something I had never imagined hearing. “You have testicular cancer,” the doctor said. “We need to operate and remove the tumor, then go from there.” I was 26, healthy and had no reason to believe my life was about to change. I had two surgeries and was told that it had not spread. No chemo. No radiation. Regular follow-up testing. Go home, get well and get your life moving again. That sounded good. It was – until April 1986. I was now married and had two children. My urologist said, “There is another tumor. We need to remove the other testicle. It is rare, but it happens. It isn’t a recurrence of the 1983 issue. It is a new tumor.” So, I had the surgery with a family on my mind this time. The tumor was removed. However, chemo was going to be the routine for four months just to be sure everything was caught. I experienced it all – hair loss – nausea – hospital stays – weakness – lack of appetite – the whole nine yards. But, my first five words describe it – “I am a cancer survivor.” I may have had cancer, but it never had me. There were tears and there were moments of anguish, but I learned that it is faith, family and friends that help us be victorious. I also learned one other thing, perhaps most important of all –  that my wife, Paulette, is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. She has shown me a character of faith and hope that is a model and inspiration for me. Her love and presence held me up (sometimes literally) on many days. This has been a major part of my life and has helped make me who I am today. Now, fast forward 26 years and I understand even more why regular check-ups are important.

In 2012, I remember my urologist saying, “Your PSA went up again. It’s not high, but we should do a biopsy, just to be safe.” I looked at my wife, Paulette, and we knew it needed to be scheduled. For the previous three years, I had my PSA checked regularly since there was a history of prostate issues in my family and because I previously had testicular cancer. It would vary a little each time within the same range, so we always felt good about regular check-ups. The biopsy came back negative. We thanked God for that answer to our prayer and knew that we needed to remain proactive. When I was 52, I had my first PSA and prostate exam. Since then, it has become a regular part of my routine. It helps that I deeply respect and like my urologist, who is a partner in my health maintenance process.

That was important when the PSA climbed again earlier this year. Again, not a high number, but higher than the previous number from three years before. We had the option of waiting three months and testing again or having another biopsy done. It didn’t take long to decide that a biopsy was the best route. Again, normal results and a six month follow-up PSA in July showed the number had come down. We realized that this is simply part the aging process, but it also affirmed my belief that regular prostate testing and check-ups are important. Because prostate cancer can be detected and successfully treated early on, regular check-ups can make the difference between peace of mind through a proactive approach and the risk of a more aggressive disease and treatment requirements.

You may not want to take the time to be proactive. You may think that the news will not be good. You may think the odds are in your favor. Why take the risk? If the results show that there is an issue it is likely that you will have had it diagnosed in time for successful treatment and a healthy, fuller life. If the news is that everything is normal, it brings peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

I still go for my PSA every six months, followed by a visit to the urologist for a physical check-up. It does take some time, but every minute is worth it, because I know that this tips the odds of good prostate health in my favor. It is worth it because I have a wife that I love and want as many years as possible with her. It is worth it because I have two active granddaughters whom I want to see graduate from high school and college, get married and have children. It is worth it because God has given me the opportunity to be a pastor, the greatest work I know, and I want to be able to follow my pastoral calling as long as possible. It is worth it because the time of my life is a gift from God and I don’t want to risk wasting it. The investment of time in testing and check-ups can pay off in more time to experience the gift I have been given. I still pray before I go to the doctor, because I trust God. However, I also go to the doctor because God calls us to be both faithful and smart (after all, Luke, who wrote one of the gospels, was a doctor, so God must think highly of them!) He gave me my life. I want to be a good steward of it. PSAs and regular check-ups are part of that stewardship.

Anytime I discuss men’s health issues, I make it a habit to encourage every man age 50 and older to have regular prostate screenings. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the people you love. The time we have in this life is limited, but we can take steps to make it full and lasting.

 

Rev. David W. Nuhfer

Sawmill Baptist Church

Powell, OH

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I am a cancer survivor. In February 1983, I was told something I had never imagined hearing. “You have testicular cancer,” the doctor said. “We need to operate and remove the tumor, then go from there.” I was 26, healthy and had no reason to believe my life was about to change. I had two… Read more.

Nick Mendedis’ Survivor Story

There are many reasons why the staff members at Cancer Support Community love waking up every morning and coming to work. However, there is one reason that stands out amongst them all: knowing that we have made a difference in someone’s life for the better. Each year we welcome new cancer patients, survivors and caregivers into the CSC Community, but there is one survivor we are particularly grateful for: Nick Menedis. Nick has been a dedicated volunteer to our organization for the past 6 years. He leads our Multiple Myeloma support group, volunteers his time at our annual fundraisers and is always willing to help in any way that he can. When we asked him to share is remarkable journey with cancer as a feature on our blog, he graciously accepted and now we get to share it with you.

“What started out as seeing a number of different specialist to be tested for Anemia turned out to be several months to pin down my final diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma on August 6th, 2006. Of course I went through a very short period of “why me” and “the deer in the headlights” look that I think all cancer patients go through, but mine only lasted a few days.  A church family told us about their 11 year granddaughter being diagnosed with Leukemia and I simply said at that time “why not me?”  The turn of events from that point on was simply fortuitous. I went to one oncologist where they scared the hell out of me and basically told me that whether I had a transplant (which was very risky at that time) or went on whatever treatments were available, I was going to die.  I left there and told my wife I was never going back.

I then went to the Zangmeister Center.  Doctor Timothy Moore is a Hematology Oncologist.  He had treated my first wife for Lung Cancer and I knew I could talk to him. He told me he had a number of Multiple Myeloma patients and we talked about treatment options.  His head nurse walked in (I knew her as well) and told me about a clinical trial that I might qualify for involving a new drug called Revlimid.  It had previously been used for patients that relapsed but never as a front line therapy.  I agreed primarily because it was a pill, and about 8 months later I was in remission.  I said then that this disease was not going to get me and so far I have been right.

A little over a year later I decided to attend a patient/physician seminar put on by the International Myeloma Foundation. While there, I learned the value of finding such a wonderful organization that knew everything there was to know about Myeloma. I was invited to attend a seminar for support group leaders in Dallas just to explore the aspects of running a support group in 2009.  I was still in remission and had opted to have my stem cells harvested at the Mayo Clinic. I was doing well and went to visit the Greater Cincinnati Multiple Myeloma Support Group, which at that time, met at “The Wellness Center.”  I liked what I saw and decided to try to start a group in Columbus. I found the Wellness Center in Columbus and they offered me a meeting space and whatever support they could provide. Our relationship grew and they became the Cancer Support Community Central Ohio. We are now in our 6th year of a wonderful relationship and our support group has grown and prospered.

If I had to describe Cancer Support Community in one word, it would be “wow.” I believe CSC is a place of “hope” for all cancer patients and caregivers. They have kept me involved with not only my type of cancer, but also other cancers and patients as well. This has made me a more effective support group leader and an overall better person. CSC has also asked my wife, Sandy, to volunteer for many of their projects and programs, which has made her an even more wonderful caregiver and support system. I have no doubt that part of why I am doing so well as a cancer survivor is because of my work with and for CSC.”

Join Nick at his next Multiple Myeloma Support Groups by registering here, or find out more about the other support programs we offer at Cancer Support Community.

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There are many reasons why the staff members at Cancer Support Community love waking up every morning and coming to work. However, there is one reason that stands out amongst them all: knowing that we have made a difference in someone’s life for the better. Each year we welcome new cancer patients, survivors and caregivers… Read more.