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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 12, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 15
'No chemo!' Daniel Porras is determined to beat oral cancer
Section One
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'No chemo!' Daniel Porras is determined to beat oral cancer

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

In late February, SGN learned that local go-go dancer Daniel Porras had been diagnosed with oral cancer. At the time, the diagnosis was so new that the doctors at UW hadn't even gotten back all of his blood work to tell him just how good - or bad - his prognosis is. What he did know is that he had low white blood cells, a lump on his tongue (so small no one can see it), and a mass on his esophagus.

Porras agreed to chronicle his experience with cancer, a disease that took his dad's life when Porras was a young man, in the pages of SGN. Here is the first installment of that chronicle.


There are days when it's getting rough, and there are days when I feel I am on top of the world.

My doctors have told me I'm at stage two - the beginning of cancer. Which is amazing! It takes a load off. The lump they found in my esophagus wasn't cancerous but needed to be removed anyway.

I honestly felt like I was getting better and better. I felt like radiation was working and I could just maybe finish it off with that for a couple of months. But last week doctors told me that while the cancer isn't growing, it shows like it could progress in the future if I don't start chemotherapy. They are worried that radiation might not be working as well as they hoped.

In my mind, I told myself, "No chemo!" There isn't a second thought about it; there is no way you can do it.

How do I tell my family and friends chemo isn't for me?

There really isn't a way. Just be blunt - just tell them how you feel ...

I have told a couple of family members and a few friends. I have been yelled at, screamed at, told I am being stupid and stubborn, and accused of being just worried about my hair.

I guess I am stupid, I am stubborn, and I am scared to lose my hair. But in all reality none of them live with cancer or have to see patients who go through radiation and chemo. I have created a lot of close friends from radiation that I see daily and we talk. We talk about life, talk about chemo, talk about radiation and how they feel daily. I am blessed to have caught it early.

CHEMO PATIENTS' ADVICE
Most of them tell me "If you don't need to do chemo, don't do it. It takes the life out of you, makes you sick - it's like you're a walking dead person. People look at you differently, they judge you."

I don't mind people judging me. I'm too young to feel like "walking dead." I have too much to live for, so much I want to do.

My doctors have told me I can do radiation for about two more months until my body will get used to it, and then from there it's surgery and chemo. Of course I'm gonna get the surgery done early and see if chemo is the right plan for me.

Still, I just won't do it. I am scared. I've seen my dad and my best friend's dad die from cancer. I've seen patients everyday not as themselves, but as "walking dead."

I am positive, I am upbeat, I can beat this ... without chemo.

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