As a professional poker player, Jim Petzing may have bet against receiving two cancer diagnoses in three years. But the retired marketing strategist, a lifelong non-smoker, survived neck cancer treatment in 2014, only to hear in 2017 that the dry cough he couldn’t kick was lung cancer.
Playing out two bad hands, Jim used CaringBridge to keep family and friends updated, and to draw much-needed strength from their love and support.
Jim said he believes that writing has helped his healing process, and that sharing what he has been through might help others dealing with the physical and mental aspects of cancer.
His CaringBridge Journal has inspired two books: From Feeding Tube to Final Table: A Cancer Survivor’s Story, published in 2016 and now out-of-print; and Breathe: Living My Best Life With Chronic Lung Cancer, published in 2020.
With stable health today—Jim is responding well to immunotherapy and a clinical-trial drug—he said he refers to cancer as a “disability.” He wrote, “No one needs to or should be defined by their disability. Having a disability does not necessarily mean that one can’t live fully. We figure out a way to make it work for us, not against us.”
He also has advice for men who ignore medical symptoms, counting himself in their company. In a chapter titled, “Why are Men so Stubborn?” Jim wrote, “Gentlemen, if something doesn’t seem right, or is just a bit off with your overall state of health, don’t put off going to see your doctor about it.”