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November 21st, 2012
10:01 AM ET

Lessons learned from surviving cancer 5 times

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed.  Chef Eric LeVine has won awards, written a cookbook and beat out three competitors to become a Food Network "Chopped" champion.  But his biggest battles have been with cancer. He's won five times, and in the process he's learned about the importance of support and the weight of the family burden that comes with those battles.

When I found out that I had cancer for the first time, I decided not to say anything to my family members for about six weeks.  Why?  That's the question my family asked me when I finally told them.

I had a lot to consider.  I had thought about the pressure and concern they would all have for me.  I thought about the weight that would put on them, the worry they would have and I just didn't want them to worry.  I have always been the one to carry my friends and family,  to help when I could, to be the strong one.  I didn't want to be perceived as needy or weak. It's just not in my DNA.

I never asked for help; I never wanted it, no matter how sick I was. I drove myself to treatments and asked everyone to just treat me as if nothing was wrong. FULL POST


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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