home
RSS
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.

Well, that didn't work.  People would call all day, sometimes twice a day.  I thought if I wasn't thinking about it, it was easier.  To know that you can die from something -  it was just too much pressure.  When everyone asked how I was feeling all day and night, it was a constant reminder.

So I realized that the best way for me to use this knowledge - my experience - was to pay it forward.  Not with cancer patients, but with their families - teaching them how they can help their family member, the cancer patient.

I've learned that little things go a long way.  One question I get all the time is: "How do I help my XYZ? I want to make them feel better and be sure they are OK."  My best advice has been to not burden the patient with your worries.  It causes unintentional but also undue stress, because not only does the individual have to worry about what they are going through - the future and the fun of treatments - but now you have just saddled them with your worry.  Just letting the individual know you care and you're there for them is important.  He or she will ask for help when they need it.

For me, it was my battle every time, my fight.  I chose to live or not.  The mind is the strongest weapon a cancer patient has. You can't will a cancer patient to fight, it comes from within.  Be there for him or her, love them, support them, don't drag them down.

It's a tough enough battle.


soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Gabriel

    You are the man. I hope if I'm ever in that situation, I can be that strong. God bless you bro!

    November 21, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Softship

    II am a little disturbed by "I chose to live or not. The mind is the strongest weapon a cancer patient has."
    That implies that the people who do not survive did not chose to live, their mind was not strong enough.
    You cannot prove the truth of that statement, I cannot disprove it.
    I I was diagnosed with a terminal disease 13 years ago. Statistically I should have died a long time ago.
    II do not think that my will was so important to my survival, because at times during my 13-month hospital stay, it was gone.
    II just happen to have a very healthy heart that kept on beating...

    November 22, 2012 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eric LeVIne

      @softship . I am happy that you have been able to beat the odds. Its a true testament to who you are. My statements were not meant to disturb you, its sharing in my experince.
      Going through this 5 times I was unfortunate to see many many people who gave up, lost the mental will to live and subsequently died. That is where I draw the idea of the mind is the strongest weapon, that is proof positive beyond a shadow of a doubt. i also was blessed to see more people who projected a positive outlook, fight the good fight and beat cancer. I wish all the best. Eric LeVine

      November 23, 2012 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
  3. Lauren

    Thank you. Great advice for friends and families.

    November 23, 2012 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RS

    You are so right. I did not tell anyone outside of my immediate family. I and my family had to live with it 24/7 inside my house for the year I fought cancer. I decided that living with it inside my house was enough and we should have a life outside our house. I also wanted to be treated normally and wanted to remain 'ME' not 'me with cancer'. I was told 5 years ago that I only had 6 mos. to live. I did hours and hours of research and asked endless questions of all the specialists and as a result altered my treatment by refusing radiation due the after effects it would bring on later in life. Guess my way worked, I'm still here and do not have to worry about the health risks that I would have had to as a result of having radiation therapy AND have seen birthdays, anniversaries and Christmases that I should not have.

    November 25, 2012 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Blynn

    Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with your idea of paying it forward and educating friends and family who want to help. I too am very independent and have done as much as possible on my own regarding my cancer treatments since 1987. But when I received my seventh cancer diagnosis in 2011, the treatments were more toxic than in the past. I had to learn that allowing my family to care for me actually gave them a way to cope with my situation.

    March 10, 2013 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. relx 香港

    156472 875838Quite intriguing subject , appreciate it for putting up. 246548

    March 23, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Seismicity of the Sanriku coast

    931854 526825Hey there! Wonderful post! Please when I will see a follow up! 948188

    March 31, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. tv101vn

    Remember, if you something for another person in training, you'll do the same from a game (or in life).|For better mature football player, caffeine tablets could be a life-saver. Professional football gamblers have learned to master these skills. Actually, this is great conditioning for sport.|Being a parent I have 2 sons that played both youth and high school football. Some of the knowledge they provide is free and among it have a price ($28.95 for your season).|Sports bets are done on nothing at all or while on the players. What pops into their heads when you consider the best NCAA college football program of all time? The plan is very simple and the movement is fundamental.|If you are interested in football games online in the simulation type, try Ultimate Football and Linebacker Allee. Betting on anything is considered the integral part of human the great outdoors.|As being a parent I have 2 sons that played both youth and college football. At the other end will emerge as the most probable away is awarded. As well as results in loss since betting on football.|Sometimes this craziness becomes bloody when enthusiasts of two teams clash out with one another. Playing flag will introduce physical activity to your child, faster it is 8 o'clock at night your children will be tired.|It is the scoring in football games relies only on several has. But, for most guys, this might be in more than 700-lbs. Then paint the top half bright blue to think about like heaven.|Use these and that you will get faster in record time! Various nations, clubs and schools compete in football matches to prove their expertise and establish their supremacy. So for goalies, how to locate how many goals they saved.|However, you like to be assured that happen to be dealing with reputable dealers of NFL Fan Gear. If you prefer to watch football games, you can make your hobby profitable.|Americans' passion for football is cultural, additionally. You will also appreciate the ease of not needing to fight crowds in the stores. Now it will continue to expand up for a great trade.|No, I don't mean "speed exercises" the run with a vest on or pulling your teammate around.

    https://thuthuatvietnam.com/detail/baobongdatv-99847.html

    April 5, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. vardenafil hcl 20mg tab

    vardenafil cost https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil 20mg

    April 5, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. buy 90 sildenafil 100mg price

    sildenafil online in india https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ how can i get sildenafil

    April 6, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. buy alprostadil cream online

    what is alprostadil used for https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil mexico

    April 7, 2021 at 03:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. diamond painting

    347431 992737Billiard can be a game which is mostly played by the high class folks 334080

    April 7, 2021 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tadalafil

    tadalafil pills 20mg https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil

    April 8, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 포커에이스

    671367 270645I surely didnt know that. Learnt 1 thing new these days! Thanks for that. 998150

    April 19, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Hayden Mehelich

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2011/12/?m=0

    May 10, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Malcolm Stellmacher

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusuf-hanafy-82493b183

    May 11, 2021 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Concepcion Ballejos

    I don't know about you all but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/09/video-how-to-washing-a-boeing-737s-engine/

    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs151/1111846961938/archive/1119161431892.html

    May 16, 2021 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Janella Hurtig

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2008/05/?m=0

    May 16, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Desire Scharnberg

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/05/get-your-own-passport-at-paine-field-aviation-attractions/

    http://www.tulalipnews.com/wp/page/581/

    May 17, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. omega replica

    186457 29373Enjoyed reading this, extremely very good stuff, thankyou . 910381

    May 17, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Samual Scharbor

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2003/11/here-is-research-essays-about-internet.html

    May 20, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rolex explorer replica

    135680 921860Hello! Great stuff, please keep us posted when you post once again something like that! 516510

    May 21, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. chloroquineorigin

    quinine buy chloroquine online chloroquine tablets chloroquine cancer https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 22, 2021 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Asa Janoski

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2018/01/new-book-in-our-series-congrats-again.html?showComment=1524271790628

    May 23, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. avanafil

    avanafil 50 buy avana canada

    May 26, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Suzan Wrobleski

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://amusingspace.blogspot.com/2008/12/

    May 28, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Corey Abplanalp

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2009/11/making-it-2.html?m=0

    May 29, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Del Scaman

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2007/03/video-on-video-games.html?m=0

    May 30, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Destiny Escorcia

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2007/12/?m=0

    May 30, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Marilou Jalomo

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life websites and blogs

    http://lostbiro.com/blog/?paged=85

    June 2, 2021 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. cialis 20 mg

    generic tadalafil from uk cialis 20 mg tadalafil sublingual

    June 3, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Ha Reisz

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 5, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. cost of cialis

    tedalafil buy cialis tadalafin

    June 6, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. hcos

    used to treat malaria chloro hydroxychloroquine generic name choloquine

    June 7, 2021 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Raymundo Randa

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 7, 2021 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. malarone

    hydrocyhloroquine chloroquine diphosphate hydroxicloriquin

    June 8, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Lashanda Evanson

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 10, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.