In February of 2009 the author heard five of the most terrifying words in the English language, "Mr. Metzler, you have cancer." Mike was given a 50/50 chance of surviving for five years, even with being treated with chemotherapy and radiation. That diagnosis started what would become two journeys in Cancer World, a physical and psychological place unwillingly inhabited by cancer patients, their caregivers, families, and friends. The first journey was that of a patient being successfully treated for Stage 4 head and neck cancer for nine months. That journey included numerous medical appointments and scans, many visits to the Emergency Room, and one 4-day stay in the hospital after nearly dying from a reaction to his chemotherapy.
His second and much longer journey has been that of a 10-year survivor who has coped with many debilitating and permanent side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It has left his body, his "Brokedown Palace," with numerous surgical scars, poorly functioning muscles, a speech disability, and a very limited choice of foods that can be eaten and swallowed safely. That last condition has led to him needing a feeding tube for the rest of his life.
Most of his story is told in real time, as written in the blog he started when treatments began in 2009 and maintained for the next nine years. Other parts of the story are told through his reflections on the many ups and downs he experienced along the way. Team Mike was the large group of family members, friends, medical professionals, fellow members of the Cancer Survivors' Network community, and even a pet cat who helped Mike through his most difficult times over the years. Its captain was his wife, Terry, who contributes a key chapter from the perspective of his primary caregiver-a viewpoint rarely expressed in the many books written about cancer today. Mike's tells his story with great emotion, clarity, sometimes uncomfortable honesty, and an unfailing sense of humor. In the end, it's a story of perseverance, survival, and optimism-even when there was little to be optimistic about so many times on his journeys. Mike chooses not to dwell on the many things that cancer and its treatments have taken from his life. Rather, he is grateful for the many good things he still has in his life, and the many good things yet to come in the future.
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About the Author
Mike and his wife Terry were married in 2006 on the Honduran island of Roatan. They live in Decatur, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta.
In 2020 Mike was accepted into the Ambassador program of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, offering his experiences in Cancer World to support other patients, survivors, and caregivers.
A prolific writer in his profession, My Two Journeys in Cancer World is his first attempt at a very personal story for a much wider audience.