Sunshine and Rain - Cartwheels and Pain

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By Lyndie Charnock

Mike Charnock of Houston, TX., was treated for high blood pressure and enlarged lymphnodes before doctors found the real cause. On July 26, 2010 at age 35, he was diagnosed with a Stage IV Lung Cancer which had spread to his brain as well. With a brain surgery under his belt and a strong treatment plan, Mike is defying the odds every day.

His wife, Lyndie Charnock, wants to share her experiences as a caregiver to encourage others that no matter what cancer you are fighting or how different the journey - with complete faith and a good attitude you too can defy all odds!

"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell." -- Lance Armstrong

Since Mike's diagnosis, this has become one of my favorite quotes. Never in a million years did I think, at 35, my husband would be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. At the time, his cancer was spreading to his brain. If treatment didn't work, he had a prognosis of six months to live.

That being said, I'm honored to be here now with Mike, to share our story with you.

Though this is my first entry, I hope to have many more posts on Cancerwise. I feel compelled not to start from the very beginning, but from where I stand right now.

It's anything but breezy or easy. However, with the right mentality, support of family and friends, and above all else God in your life, you have a better chance of defeating this disease.

Before Mike's diagnosis, we were planning our life -- trips, getting settled in jobs and looking to the future where we hoped to have children.

Appointment that changed everything
On July 26, 2010, Mike was diagnosed with cancer. It's a day that's etched in my brain forever. After further testing, doctors confirmed he had stage IV lung cancer.

We were blessed to have been put in touch with the right people. Before long, Mike was meeting with doctors at MD Anderson and on his way to having surgery to remove the tumor. He had an aggressive treatment plan and we were ready to fight.

Between each test, the days dragged on and on. As with most people, all we wanted were instant results -- NOW!

Do not allow cancer to win
On this journey, Mike and I, along with our family, haven't allowed ourselves to become prisoners to cancer.

I know it feels just the opposite when your days are spent getting treatment at MD Anderson. You're not able to do exactly what you used to, in the same capacity.

We have chosen to stand up to cancer. You must trust that you can do the same. Your mind-set during this time, along with the mind-set of your caregiver, must remain on a positive stride and not get sucked into defeat. That's when you allow cancer to "pass go and collect $200."

I'm not saying at all that Mike and I don't have bad days, but the good days far surpass the bad.

I'm so thankful for MD Anderson. They ensured that Mike had the best treatment to fit his needs. Now, he's back at work part time and continues to fish and hunt. We live a normal life.

In closing, though you may feel defeated at times, don't stay there too long. Develop that cartwheel mentality that we've put in place and you'll find your sun-shiny days will out-shine the rainy ones.

Special thanks to Mike's team of doctors, including Anne Tsao, M.D., Vikki DeVito, Morris D. Groves, M.D., and Jeffrey Weinberg, M.D. God has surely blessed us with an amazing team that remains in our prayers daily.

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