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Cancer Interviews

Sharing the Journey

Episode 0 - Inaugural Episode of the Cancer Interviews Podcast with Jim Foster, two-time Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivor & Co-Host

SHOW NOTES:


For all the resources and links to helpful information referenced in today's episode, please scroll down to the bottom of this interview transcript. Thank you!


Jim Foster: Hello, my friends. I’d like to thank you for joining us for the inaugural episode of the Cancer Interviews podcast. It’s great to be with you today and I want to thank you for joining us, and let you know that you and what you are going through are the sole purpose of this podcast. We want you to know that you are not alone on this journey. We want you to be part of our team, and we believe that Together, Everyone Achieves More. We refer to our team as Team Journey. We are here for each other and we are sharing the cancer journey together. Now I must say this is about the seventh time I have recorded this introductory podcast. I have taken some online courses about how to podcast and how to record video interviews. All the experts say if you are embarrassed by your first podcast interview, then you waited too long to start. I am not certain this will be the best, but here goes.


JF: I can’t wait to get started in what I hope you will find to be an enjoyable and informative podcast. I’m Jim Foster, and our mission is to improve the lives of ordinary people whose lives have been impacted by cancer. By sharing the journey with amazing people from around the globe who are sharing their journey with us. We’re striving to bring you real life information from real life people who are walking the walk and not just talking the talk. By hearing from these people, you will be able to learn key pieces of information that will inspire you or someone you know.


Today’s first episode will be fairly short, and I will provide an introduction to our podcast and let you know what to expect on our regular episodes, including different types of questions that we will ask of our guests and what the flow of the interviews will be like. I’ll briefly mention my two cancer journeys and let you know where you can find out more about them. We’ll let you know where you can learn, share and engage information via social media and lastly, I’ll let you know why I am so passionate about sharing this podcast, who this podcast is dedicated to and how our recording studios got their names. So let’s get started.


First I want to say this podcast is not about me. I’m just the host. Our regular episodes will last from 30 to 60 minutes, depending upon each person’s story. Initially, we will try to put out new two or three new episodes a week, but that may change after we get into a more organized routine. In certain situations, we may have a guest host.


We believe that every day that we survive cancer we are a survivor. Sure, we all hope that our cancer will be in full remission, and that is our sincere hope for everyone listening to this podcast; but we advocate taking one day at a time. We believe that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and we believe that life is about the journey and not the destination.


Most of our guests will be cancer survivors or caregivers. However, some may be medical professionals or individuals with a charity that provides helpful information and tools for cancer patients and their loved ones. The format will be based on different questions based on the type of cancer affecting each guest. So you can see similar issues and challenges and take away helpful hints to apply in your own journey. We’ll get to know each guest personally, where they’re from and what their interests are, how cancer became part of their lives, what their journey has been like, what their lowest point was and how they overcame it, what their most fulfilling moment was, what book they recommend, what their favorite resource was during their journey and what they would do differently if they could do it all over again, assuming their same successful outcome. Hopefully, from these and other questions we’ll be asking, we can learn a great deal from each guest’s personal knowledge and experience. So you might be asking yourself: What inspired me to host this podcast?


Every day I wake up and I am extremely grateful to be alive. As a two-time Hodgkins lymphoma survivor, husband and a father, it is my life’s passion to give back to those who are facing a cancer diagnosis in their own life, or life of a loved one. If you’d like to learn more about my cancer journeys, please visit the ‘about’ page at CancerInterviews.com, where I share details about both my battles with cancer.


I won’t go into detail here, but I first knew something was wrong with me in September of 1995, after just turning 29. I was very ill for the next 14 months and was finally diagnosed in October of 1996 with Stage 3 Hodgkins lymphoma cancer. I underwent chemotherapy for the next six monthes and entered my first remission in April of 1997, which last almost five years. I met my wife, Suzanne, in 1998 and we were married in 1999. In January of 2002, Suzanne became pregnant and we were so excited. Then in March of 2002, I underwent an Algologist stem cell bone marrow transplant and high dose chemotherapy regimen and entered into my second cancer remission in August of 2002. Two months later, our daughter Jessi was born.


Looking back on my two cancer journeys, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my parents who were my wonderful caregivers, my wife who was my caregiver during my second journey and to all of family, friends and dozens of doctors, nurses, paramedics and literally hundreds of medical support staff, not to mention the answer to many, many prayers, some from people I didn’t even know. Thank you, all. Finding a way to give back has been a dream of mine ever since, and with the technology available today through podcasting, video and social media, we truly can share the journey together with the millions of people around the world who are dealing with cancer in their own life, or the life of a loved one. So that’s how CancerInterviews was born.


I knew that a lot of the online information available was very institutional, some statistical, all of which are very important in the fight against cancer; but there wasn’t much information from patients, caregivers, survivors, family members, loved ones and others involved in the daily cancer journey. As a cancer patient, you can often feel lonely and isolated. Hopefully in this podcast, you can learn from real life people and their real life situations. We hope can get some encouragement and inspiration along the way.


I just want to clarify that I am not a medical doctor and do not provide medical advice. At times, we may have health care professionals as guests, but they will not be providing medical advice on this podcast. On behalf of future guests and myself, we urge you to seek advice from a licensed medical doctor.


I have put together a lineup of amazing and inspiring guests to be interviewed on the podcast, and I invite you to nominate yourself or someone you know who could be a guest on the podcast. Please feel free to check out our website, CancerInterviews.com, and click on the ‘request interview’ link, and we’ll reach out to you about scheduling an interview. From time to time, I will be scheduling these interviews in different studios.


The first one here is what I call Grateful Studios, because I am grateful to come here and share this journey with you. Grateful Studios looks over the skyline of Denver, Colorado, USA. Some of our interviews will be conducted in this two-room studio, however many will be conducted via Zoom with guests from all over the world. The second is at my family’s property in Wyoming. Ever since I was a child, I loved Western TV shows and my favorite show was ‘Bonanza’. During my cancer journey and hospitalizations, I watched a lot of television, and dreamed of having a ranch like the Ponderosa. Shortly after my marriage to Suzanne, I had the opportunity to buy into a partner-owned dude ranch in Wyoming and it truly was a dream come true. My studio is in our RV, and I have named it ‘Dreams Come True Studios’ because I believe that dreams can and do come true. The last studio is our mobile studio for when we are traveling and hopefully meeting people like you from around the world. I’ve named that studio the ‘Global Mobile Studio,’ which features a duffel bag of portable recording equipment.


Before we wrap the first episode of this CancerInterviews podcast, I would like to share with you the inspiration for it that I am so passionate about. This podcast was inspired by the millions of people around the globe who are battling cancer. There are three people who are very important in my life, and this podcast is dedicated to their character, inspiration and memory.


The first person this podcast is dedicated to is my friend, Tuck, who was my physical therapist during my first round with cancer. I saw him for over a year at the hospital, and although I was not sure if I would survive, he remained positive and said one day that we were going to play golf together someday, and that he was going to teach me how to flyfish. Those seemed impossible at the time, but both came true. About a year after I went into my first remission, Tuck came down with a rare form of bone cancer from which he never recovered. After he passed, his wife gave me his flyfishing rod, which is now one of my most valued material possessions.


The second person who inspired me was my friend, Linda. She and her husband were there to help me through both of my cancer journeys. When I first met Linda, she was already a breast cancer survivor. Shortly after we met, her cancer returned and she overcame it for a second time. Many years later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, which ultimately took her life. Her husband later gave Linda’s piano to my daughter, Jessi, who Linda knew shares Jessi’s love of the piano. I often sit at the piano, play it and reflect on my many fond memories of her.


The third to whom I dedicate this podcast is my friend, Brian. He is a bit older than me, and when he graduated from college, he was drafted into the military and joined the United States Navy. He became a jet fighter pilot, like in the movie, ‘Top Gun, ’ except in Brian’s case, it was the real deal in Southeast Asia. He also completed an ironman triathlon on the island of Guam. During the last year of his life, he battled pancreatic cancer. Brian was not a quitter, never gave up and I never heard him complain about his situation. He was a true competitor and loyal friend right to the very end.


Lastly, I dedicate this podcast to wife, Suzanne and our beautiful daughter, Jessi, to family members and friends who have been with us through all these years, and to all others facing their cancer journey. This show truly is for you.


However you found us, I just want to let you know where else you can find us on social media. Our home base is CancerInterviews.com, with tons of information and resources to help you with your cancer journey. You can also find us on YouTube, at the Cancer Interviews channel, on Facebook at Cancer Interviews, on Twitter at Cancer Interview, or on itunes, Stitcher or other platforms at Cancer Interviews.


From time to time, as social media evolves, we may add or discontinue social media channels, but now, these are the places where you can find us. So I hope you will check back regularly for many great interviews to come, with many who are sharing the cancer journey. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for listening, and please remember, you are not alone. You are part of our team. We’re all in this together, and we wish you the best possible outcome with your cancer journey. So until next time, please take care, and we’ll see you on down the road.

LINKS TO RESOURCES AND INFORMATION REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE:

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