Sarcoma Story: Bob Laurenzo

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Type of Sarcoma: Myxoid Liposarcoma
Date of Diagnosis: 2006
Location: groin

I was diagnosed with a sarcoma in my upper right groin in December of 2006 and had surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering in January of 2007 and then had 38 rounds of radiation. Initially, no one was sure exactly what I had until final diagnosis at MSK.

I was concerned and very scared about three things:

  1. Dying
  2. Losing my leg
  3. Chemotherapy.

I had faith and strength after learning my tumor was low grade. I had a wonderful physician and nursing staff, very strong family and support system. Ultimately, I needed radiation versus chemo therapy.

The most frustrating thing about cancer is that you are no longer in control and have to rely on others to help you. Being a control freak, it was hard to let go, but very rewarding to see how others stepped up to help, ranging from friends, family members, and the amazing team at MSK.

I am truly blessed and had many gestures of kindness – friends offering rides to treatment, friends stopping by to hang out with me, letters and emails, phone calls from friends I went to grammar and high school with, and my amazing family who was there for everything.

Looking back, I would advise people not to search their disease and diagnosis on the internet or talk with supposed experts who are not physicians. I would also recommend you take advantage of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and all the support it has to offer and also take part in Yoga, meditation, and continue to exercise as much as you can.

As far as Cancer myths, I think when you first get a diagnosis, you immediately think of your own mortality and prognosis and the fact is, people now diagnosed with cancer are living longer and you need to remain optimistic and take aggressive treatment action.

I actually learned a great deal about myself and now appreciate life much more and do NOT take things for granted. As an active member of the ACS, I participate in annual fundraisers (relay for life, golf outing, Hope Lodge, etc.) to help others. I have also enlisted the services of my own family who enjoy helping me in my fundraising efforts and are learning the importance of giving back!

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