Livingstone, was given only a few months to live after being diagnosed with lung
cancer. Now he sits cancer-free with his wife, Dorris, and their dog Mikey.
Overcoming cancer on faith
His oncologist says being cancer-free after
Stage 4 cancer is remarkable
By TERRI BRYCE REEVES
Published July 14, 2007
DUNEDIN FL - The doctor looked up from the
test results and told Roy Livingstone he had cancer in both lungs and two lymph
nodes. It was Stage 4.
"What happens when you get to stage 5?" Livingstone asked. The doctor
pointed upward. It was October 2005 when Livingstone heard the news. He prepared
He got his affairs in order, knowing each birthday, every holiday would
likely be his last. He willingly underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments
just to buy a bit more time and comfort.
His wife, Dorris, apparently had other plans. "We're going to beat this,"
she said. Apparently, she was right. Nearly three years after receiving the grim
news, Livingstone is cancer-free.
Dr. Hitesh Patel, his Clearwater oncologist, said such an outcome
is "very rare" for stage 4 lung cancer, the last stage where the disease has
spread to the second lobe or other parts of the body. It's especially remarkable
considering Livingstone's age – In September, he will be 85.
"It's amazing," Patel said. "Generally, the two-year survival rate is
about 20 percent and he's approaching three years, where it's about 5 percent."
Livingstone is not only surviving,
but Patel confirmed, his recent CAT scan did not detect any active cancer in his
body. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the
Patel thinks it was Livingstone's
fighting spirit and advancements in cancer treatment that led to his success.
"We have newer chemotherapies which
are very effective and have almost no incidence of nausea," he said. "It can
make a big difference in the quality of life for the elderly."
"Naturally, I was quite surprised,"
Livingstone said about the good news. "And thankful."
Still, he said he wonders about
all the younger people who deserve a second lease on life and don't get it. "Why
me?" he asks.
On December 7, 2005, the anniversary
of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the St. Petersburg Times profiled
Livingstone, a World War II POW.
Even with death looming, his eyes
sparkled as he recalled how he parachuted out of a spinning, burning plane,
escaped from a German prison train, ran through cold forests half naked, and
even posed as a girl in a romantic interlude to prevent detection. The former
staff sergeant with the Army Air Forces recalled facing starvation, beatings,
interrogations, the flu and dysentery.
It was as a POW that he became
a smoker -- cigarettes were about the only luxury they had. Soon, the habit
became a heavy one -- he was smoking up to three packs of Lucky Strikes a day
and continued the habit for 30 years.
Livingstone ran an ad agency, became
publisher of several sports magazines and currently serves on the board of
directors for a POW foundation. He met Dorris at a POW convention in 1999.
He has faced other life-threatening
experiences: a serious car wreck; a hurricane when he was on a 90-foot schooner;
triple bypass surgery 14 years ago.
Through it all, Livingstone said he
never feared death." It's like a calm that comes over you."
his lungs remain scarred and his immune system is compromised. But he walks,
plays golf, and is working to gain back the 37 pounds he lost from three bouts
of pneumonia. Dorris, 75, said she knew all along her husband would beat the
cancer. "We've only had seven years of marriage. I have enough faith in God to
know He wouldn't do this to us, not at this time."
Livingstone attributes his recovery
to faith -- faith in his doctors, their treatments, family and friends, the
power of prayer, and mostly, faith in the human spirit. "There is something very
special about the human spirit," he said. "It keeps you going, keeps you trying
harder, keeps you alive. I feel it has just as much to say about what happens to
us as any deity."
© 2007 • All
Rights Reserved • St. Petersburg Times
Comments from a thankful Cancer Servivor:
I don't know how long I had "Active" Lung Cancer in both of my lungs, maybe for years. During the fifteen years
before I was finally diagnosed as having cancer, I probably had over 15 Chest
Ex-Rays and Cat-Scans. I was fortunate enough to have a doctor who just would
not give up, Dr. Devandra Amin. "It may not be anything," he said, while showing
me a shaded area on my ex-ray, "but I want to get a needle biopsy from this
The biopsy showed positive!
Finding the cancer is often very difficult to
find. That is the key to
saving the life of a cancer patient. Of course, fining the cancer, and finding
it early, is most important, and that is the area where medical science is showing
TO BE CONTINUED.
If you know of any other cancer
recoveries, Please contact this website. We want our readers to know
that cancer patients have a better chance than they may think.