Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stage IV My Thoughts on Lance Armstrong

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  • #20937
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Those of us in the cancer advocacy world have stood in awe of Lance Armstrong’s cancer group, the Livestrong Foundation. Doors flew open for fame, partnerships and sponsorships for the Livestrong Foundation. But what has bothered some fellow advocates is the Livestrong/Armstrong message to cancer patients: “just live strong and you’ll beat this cancer.” Happily the type of cancer Lance Armstrong had (testicular) is much more readily curable than others and he survived it. He was a hero to behold in the battle to cure cancer. But I wonder whether his doping confessions will reveal whether the performance enhancement drugs he took, caused his cancer in the first place? (i.e. testosterone, steroids etc? )

    The sports world from horse racing to baseball is a mecca of drug abuse fueled by the winning hungry public. But it is a disturbing metaphor in the cancer world where it isn’t the strongest or bravest who win, but instead the fortunate ones who find the right therapy

    #58559
    buffcody
    Participant

    My response is a very personal one. I put aside all his illegal and immoral activities. Those will have consequences aplenty for him. What I do know is that his book, It’s Not about the Bike, had a profound influence on me when I was attempting to recover from my first bout with cancer, male breast cancer, in 2003-2004. It inspired me to keep up my exercise during the months of treatment. I probably would not have done so certainly at the level I did without reading the book. It provided me with great hope during that year, and, I still believe, having that hope and feeling that I could play a significant role in my own future through my own efforts did play a part in my recovery. It also made me feel a lot better about life during that time. So I remain grateful to Lance Armstrong.

    #58560
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    You are much more my hero than Lance, Frank. You are amazing in your swimming accomplishments and you did these things with your own guts and strength. However, I just keep in mind that Lance will be keeping a huge amount of money for something he didn’t win fair and square. Here is the British take on it:

    http://m.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2013/jan/15/lance-armstrong-whistleblower-doping

    #58561
    Laurie
    Participant

    The subject of Lance is indeed difficult. He is certainly not the person we all thought he was in his profession nor his ethics or lack of. Nor is he the first to cheat (nor will he be last). He doesn’t deserve any rewards as a result of his cheating. He is not a hero and I do not respect him as a man. He doesn’t have too many redeeming qualities right now. I don’t believe he will be able to “redeem” himself in the world of public opinion.

    That said, his battle against his cancer was inspiring to many. Even if his cancer was treatable, he still went through hell to recover. Anyone who battles cancer is an inspiration to me, even those who eventually lose their war. Frank – I don’t know you but you are an inspiration to me, along with all the other fighters and caregivers on this site.

    As respects Livestrong, I have no comment as I have not visited, participated or donated to this organization.

    #58562
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    I couldn’t agree more Laurie, the true heros and heroines are on this site and elsewhere, the melanoma patients and caregivers. And they continue to give to each other everyday here despite their own predicament.

    #58563
    rochelle
    Participant

    I too read Armstrong’s book when I was first diagnosed (which was four years ago today to be exact). And I was inspired by a paragraph in his book and I will paraphrase..Lance was just getting back on his bike after the brain tumor and was riding up a Texas hill (unlike hills here in New England) he was suddenly taken over by a middle age woman with stage IV melanoma and couldn’t believe she just passed him by waving and barely breathing hard. I just thought that was hilarious!! I was training at that point to ride 50 miles in a day. A couple of months later, I put 70 New England miles on my bike in one day, because I was inspired by “It’s not about the Bike”

    Having said that, I would not want the legacy of dishonestly misleading the world into thinking I was some kind of medical/physical phenom. It’s hard enough to sleep at night with a clear conscience, never mind trying to rationalize that kind of trickery…it must be a lot of work. And expensive work…But more will be revealed won’t it? It will be interesting if Lance can actually redeem himself…in his own eyes and in the eyes of the world.

    #58564
    Shirley Z
    Participant

    I was given his book when I left work. I also really enjoyed reading it.

    It was a big disappointment to learn of his dishonesty, but its something that happens much too often in the professional world.

    I have lost my respect for him. He is now the one that has to live with the consequences. Hopefully he will feel remorse for all that has happened. We are all human and make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from our mistakes and try to make ammends. We can’t change what happened in our past, but every day is a new start and hopefully his conscience will do the right thing.

    Shirley Z

    #58565
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Seems to me he should donate the millions of dollars he made in product endorsements and prize money to charity. That might ease his conscience?

    #58566
    lak1
    Participant

    I owe Lance for my life today.

    I dont care whether he doped. I know from being a doctor and treating top sportsmen and women that doping is rife in the elete sports.

    In 2007 I realised that the National Health Service (NHS) in UK was not going to provide the scans or treatments necessary to prolong my life. My rare cancer, ocular melanoma, responded to radiation in a way to make me realise I would get metastases. The NHS attitude was- it may never happen make the most of things, oh and by the way its not worth treating you for your inherited form of glaucoma( ie not going to live long enough). I was 48 a marathon runner. The NHS would go to the high court to prolong someones life with minimal awarness against their pre accident wishes and against their family’s wishes at the cost of several hundred thousand pounds but prolonging my fit active life was not worth while. When I tried to fund my own care obstacles were also put in my way as it was seen as a waste of money. If I had been my husbands dog and not his wife no one would have stopped him from spending his money so it was clear to me that as I had ocular melanoma I was something less than human something less than a pet animal.

    Listening to Lance say he valued my life I contacted Livestrong, Lance was a playboy at that time, Livestrong helped me counselled me found trails so I learned who the experts were in the field.

    Fight yes I learned to fight like Lance- learn the rules be ruthless to see that the rules are applied when they are not the use and exploit that to make the NHS fund and value my life. I felt just as Lance felt that he had no health coverage, he and I both thought we were covered and found out we werent. I know that he knows how I feel. In my country sometimes I feel guilty for wanting to live , he makes me realise that its OK to want to live.

    Lance it seems was a cyclist who doped- that is not important to me, Lance had an advanced cancer and dared and won , Lance was very Lucky. I have been very lucky. Stage IV OM usually die 3-12mths after stage iv diagnosis. I am 3.5 years on and diseae free. Because I was empowered by Lance. Would I fight my health care system anyway to live yes , was I obsessesional – yes Lance did this too to live . He gave me permission to tell the society I live I am human you can not cast me aside like that. I

    I am not surprised he took what he learned through fighting cancer to winning in sport.

    I dont blame him. Once one has been cast out by society you never trust again believe me.

    #58567
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    I am happy he inspired you and we at MIF strive to help patients in your situation everyday. I find this opinion piece to say it all:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20130117_Lance_s_lies_hurt_fellow_survivors.html

    #58568
    zephyr66
    Participant

    I think we can honor and value much of what lance said in his book and elsewhere, but know that he as a person is largely dishonorable.

    #58569
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    For the cancer community I would ask: did he really write those books? (most celebs have ghost writers) if he did have cancer and it was caused by the drugs he took why didn’t he warn others not to take those drugs? If he did have cancer (which I now am doubtful about) and it was testicular and he took steroids and testosterone, he caused his cancer, and then he took these drugs AGAIN risking it to come back??

    #58570
    Worrywart
    Participant

    I don’t judge Lance Armstrong. I try very hard not to judge other people. Honestly, I still respect Lance, despite his mistakes. I first met Lance in high school when he ran for Plano. I ran for Allen. I got first and so did he, so we were on stage together. He was amazing even as a child. No one even came close to him. He has incredible natural ability. I believe that in most elite sports, there are performance enhancing drugs. When you are immersed in this type of culture it becomes the norm. He was not the only one – many were doing it, but he still won. I like that he is putting himself out there now, to try to reform cycling. No one should judge Lance Armstrong. Livestrong is an amazing foundation. Lance is a survivor, a competitor, and a winner. Like he said, he’s flawed, but aren’t we all?

    #58571
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    I totally disagree Worrywart, stil, as I too have met him personally at cancer meetings. I found his knowledge about cancer issues to be lacking. Regarding what I know best, again cancer, I wonder how he had 5 children if he had testicular cancer. My other question remains: if he indeed had testicular cancer and it was caused by use of steroids and testosterone, you’d think his foundation would warn against using those drugs and he personally would warn folks to avoid his cancer fate. And then that other question I have, would you knowingly go back to using drugs that caused your cancer without worry of recurrance?? I know very few melanoma patients who bask in the sun or at the tanning parlor. Right Worrywart?

    I know that is part of my mission to warn others about early detection and sun exposure as I hate to see anyone have melanoma! Two many issues remain unsettled in my cancer advocate brain about Lance. This is someone who doesn’t really deserve to be influencing others and setting a really bad example for our children who want to achieve goals in life without enhancement drugs. And he is still making a fortune finally coming clean.

    #58572
    Worrywart
    Participant

    Since this website only states facts that are medically proven, I assume it is proven that steroids cause testicular cancer? I did not know that. Maybe since Lance is uneducated about cancer he just didn’t know there was a link? Obviously he made some serious mistakes, I don’t dispute that, but he also gave many people hope – regardless of his drug use and/or personal knowledge of cancer. He’s a cut throat competitor…to a fault.

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