Dean Haritos JustPastInfinity

First post: Jul 14, 2012 Latest post: Jan 22, 2021
Thank you for being a part of my journey during this second adventure with cancer. 

A lot goes unspoken between us all. This is a nice place and a good time to say those things. In fact any time is a good time, in anyone's life. We never know what will happen next. 

I appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement!

I first was diagnosed with cancer, later "terminal" cancer, on March 3rd of 2004. 

Thymoma is a very rare cancer with less than 500 cases per year in the US. Usually we say cancers like multiple myeloma are rare, but they have about 15,000 cases a year in the US. So mine is really quite rare. 

My first adventure with cancer lasted about a year, with the tumor coming out in a very complicated surgery on December 2nd, 2004. I followed up with radiation until May of 2005. Surviving that cancer was in some ways miraculous. I have tried a number of times to get a website together to tell the story, but I invariably get depressed sometime during the process, and abandon it, but pay the web hosting fees anyway to encourage me to finish it up. The time to finish it has always been "not yet." 

Since the surgery I have been nominally cancer free, but it has always been a presence in my life. My left lung came out in the 2004 surgery, so every time I take a deep breath I'm reminded of it. I am now half-speed up hills on my bike. But other than that I'm in pretty good shape. 

Largely I would say that cancer has led to my leading a more introspective, spiritual, and fulfilling life. So I often think of it is as an encouraging and positive part of who I am. But I have had some other twists and turns in my life recently, with tough times around the failure of my (banking software) startup in the bank crash of 2008, and my divorce from my wonderful wife in 2010. 

During that strange transition from 2008 to - well, basically, now - I dropped out of most of your lives because I was fundamentally depressed and going through a lot of personal development and re-construction. I felt like a house being forcefully remodeled, reduced to the timber and girders, and then even some of those were removed. 

It has been a time of quiet rebuilding for me, and I needed the time alone. The good news is that it worked - I have faced a lot of demons, and sent them back where they came from. Hard work, but good work, and fulfilling. In my eyes, I'm a better person now than I ever have been. And if it took all this to get me here, well, then that was my path and I'm grateful. 

My only regret is that I couldn't bring myself to explain this rebuilding period broadly to my friends and family, and that I might therefore have left them with the mistaken impression that I no longer cared. This is especially possible because most of my friends do not know each other, and so would only know that I had stopped being responsive to them directly and individually, rather than the reality which is that I dropped out on nearly everyone. 

Please know that the fact that I've invited you to this website means I very much do care, but that I just couldn't say it before. I'm very sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, and for the times we could have enjoyed together had I been able. 

My cancer has come back now as metastatic thymoma. There is no known cure for metastatic thymoma, yet. But there are now at least 8 chemotherapy treatments available for thymoma, compared to only 2 when I had it in 2004. And new trials are coming up in the near future for possible cures involving immunotherapy and other approaches. I also have a few tricks up my sleeve from the last leg of this journey. So don't count me out... I am hopeful and optimistic. 

However, I can't help but be reminded that time - which I try strictly to not believe in (many meditations on this) - does at least appear to pass, and that if I believe too much is left unsaid in relationships, then I should start doing more talking. And so finally this site is here. Not the way I envisioned it, not under the circumstances I'd hoped for, but it is here, and so are you. 

Thank you for coming.