Never Give Up

Howard in May, 2013, 4 months after his lobectomy, climbing up (and down) a very steep and long stairway to The Sanctuary in Messina, Sicily.

Howard in May, 2013, 4 months after his lobectomy, climbing up (and down) a very steep and long stairway to The Sanctuary in Messina, Sicily.

By Howard Tolchin

The phrase “never give up” has always been my mantra when things get tough. As a former Marine, it reminds me to attack every challenge with the same fervor I brought to my service for this country. Over the last few years this philosophy has proven to be a cornerstone in my life as I faced lung cancer.

In late 2012, I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma and underwent surgery in January 2013 to remove part of my lung. Since then my tumor is gone and I have not received any other treatment.

Since my diagnosis, my main priority in life has been to live each day to the fullest, because you truly never know. I have found great strength in my wife, family and support team.

For fellow lung cancer survivors and those recently diagnosed, my advice is to listen to your body and stay current with your check-ups and exams. Maintaining good physical health and a strong mental attitude are crucial to recovery. Take it one step at a time. Don’t worry about something on the other side of the door until you get the door open. Stay strong and positive. If you believe that you will win, you just might.

As I approach my 70th birthday next month, I am back to my full schedule of exercise, including biking, swimming, weight lifting and racquetball, as well as pursuing my love of travel. I am more grateful for my mantra today than ever before and continue to approach everyday with the fight to never give up.