Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 27

SELF-ADVOCATES

Dear Cancer...
"What young adult
cancer survivors
or patients need to
know: Each
situation is so
different. Ask
questions. Find out
what is going on
with your cancer
situation, if you don't
have the needed
information."

I'll just say, his cancer journey was quick,
painful and surprising. From the night of
his diagnosis at 10:30 p.m. in the ER at a
suburban hospital until the night he died,
Max had someone spending the night with
him. Most often, it was his dad. Following
his chemo, his treatment was not in the city
where we lived, so we took turns getting him
to appointments. We spent the weeks of his
final treatment with him going back and
forth from the hotel to his hospital room.
His dad and I were with him on his last
night; we watched him die due to the tumors in his brain bleeding across both
hemispheres.
Max never gave up, continuing through
four cycles of chemo, two surgeries - the
RPLND that removed the cancer mass of
his undescended testicle in his abdomen.
A brain surgery took care of the only remaining cancer in his body after the initial
chemo. He went through two weeks of rehab
because he had lost the use of the right side
of his body due to now recurring spots on
his brain.
The final step was high-dose chemo and
stem cell transplant, his stem cells. Again, he
had no cancer except in his brain. We knew
this final treatment was challenging, but we
also expected success, as did his doctors. No
one ever told him or us he might die.
I think Max knew more than he told us.

He had just started his first job in video
game design at a start-up in the town where
he went college. He had his own apartment
and his dad's 10-year-old car. He had plans,
like any young college graduate. But we
learned, he had also paid his bills and asked
one of his close friends to manage certain
belongings and his personal data.
Max's death devastated our family. It was
so unexpected. Now, more than three years
later, I can say we continue to remember
Max every day; we also now know that we
must and want to continue on with our lives,
even though Max is not with us. We have a
family foundation, The Max Mallory Foundation. We fund an annual scholarship and
cash prize for students studying at his alma
mater in his major. We have a garden in his
memory in our backyard, both backyards -
his father's and mine - in different locations.
What young adult cancer survivors or
patients need to know: Each situation is so
different. Ask questions. Find out what is
going on with your cancer situation, if you
don't have the needed information. I was
convinced at age 25 I was going to die from
my thyroid cancer, until a female medical
student came into my hospital room one
evening with her textbook. She explained
everything to me about the thyroid gland
and my cancer, what to expect, and how I
would survive.

I had a strong support group of friends
and family. Now, online and in-person resources, such as through Elephants and Tea
and Lacuna Loft, which Max knew about
and was part of. Max also had an Imerman
Angel, a young man who had gone through
a similar journey with testicular cancer
who talked with and helped Max through
his journey.
And as Max wrote in his journal - never
give up!
JOYCE LOFSTROM

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2019

27


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants And Tea - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2019

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 3
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 4
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 5
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Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover3
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