Dr. Len's Cancer Blog

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Dr. Len's Cancer Blog

The American Cancer Society

A Personal Reflection On Lance Armstrong: A Moment In Time, A Powerful Commitment To Cancer Research and Survivorship

by Dr. Len August 30, 2012

Like many of you, I have been reading the various news stories about Lance Armstrong, especially one this past weekend in a major newspaper, which went into great detail about the allegations surrounding Lance Armstrong's cycling career.


But what I didn't see in all of that coverage was much mention of the other side of the man, the side that I witnessed up close and personal one Friday in Texas a couple of years ago, the side that has led me to share my thoughts with you today.


I saw something that day that I had never-let me repeat, never-seen before. It was a moment that has forever influenced my opinion of Mr. Armstrong, even as these various charges have swirled about him these past couple of years. And the impression it created was indelible.


I am not here to hash/rehash the incriminations. I am here to stand up and say that no matter what the truth is regarding the allegations, this is a man who has forever changed the cancer landscape for millions of people in this country and around the world. This is a man who lent his prestige and his personal power to a cause that was dear to him, in what I believe a heartfelt and selfless effort to make the lives of others more comfortable, and more meaningful. This is a man who has offered hope to those in emotional and physical pain, and no matter what he may or may not have done, no one should ever dismiss or forget his accomplishments for our humanity. More...

I'm Back...

by Dr. Len August 27, 2012

Miss me?


In case you didn't notice, I haven't been around for a couple of months.  The good news at least for me is that I think I am back, and the reason I was gone wasn't so terrible.  Difficult, yes. Terrible, no. And although not completely recovered, I am making a valiant attempt to get back into the flow of things, since looking at the four walls of my house is driving me stir crazy.


Starting 9 weeks ago today, I began an odyssey that has faced or will face many of us folks as we age. My joints just wore out. No one can say exactly say why it happened, but it did. The pain was intense, my activities were limited, and as I tried my best to meet my commitments around the country I found it increasingly difficult to get to where I had to go. Even walking around the office was difficult, and my colleagues were noticing that I was limping and starting to hunch over to compensate for the discomfort.


Being the good doctor I am (? was) I thought I could fix myself. Lose a little weight, take some of those funky over the counter medicines advertised to make your dog young again, lose a little weight, get my uric acid/gout under control... You get the idea.


My dear wife humored me (she is an ob/gyn but she is still a thoughtful and excellent physician). We established a six month timeline, and agreed that absent any progress I would go see a real doctor to figure out what we should do.


Well, it took the real doctor just a couple of minutes-and a couple of plain old fashioned x-rays (no MRI for me!!!!!)-to let me know I had no cartilage left in either knee or my right hip. A steroid shot in each lessened the pain, but the best route was surgery. So surgery it was: three operations over a period of 7 weeks (that was my requirement) and I would be good as new-or as good as I was going to be.


Well, here we are, 9 weeks later and I am put back together at least most of the way. Still healing from the last knee done two weeks ago, but the major stuff is behind me.  I can't tell you how many people have called me the "bionic man".  For me, I feel like I have more titanium in me than a jet engine. And I can't wait to start traveling again and get to meet all my TSA friends at the airports up close any probably too personal as I light up the metal detectors.


Like everyone else, there are lessons I learned from my surgical experience that have indeed informed my outlook on life. So I hope you don't mind if I take a moment to share some of them with you. More...

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About Dr. Len

Dr. Len

J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, MACP - Dr. Lichtenfeld is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society.