Nearly two years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Tim Myers, who recently retired after more than 40 years in the printing business, faces his disease and his treatment with calm pragmatism and a gentle sense of humor.
At a recent chemotherapy treatment, his nurse asked, “Do you mind if we get rolling?” His reply: “I hope you do. I’d like to go home,” he said lightheartedly with a hint of smile that brought a friendly laugh from the nurse.
Myers began chemotherapy—a combination of paclitaxel and gemcitabine—after a series of 28 radiation treatments that shrank his tumor so that it was no longer detectable. The chemotherapy is helping to manage his disease.
“I’m definitely not a negative person, never have been,” Myers says. “I’m taking this one day at time. I’m holding my own. It doesn’t seem to be getting any worse, but it’s never going to go away.”
Myers draws strength from his wife Sue, who works as a paraprofessional special educator. “My wife is my pillar,” he says. “She has a lot of patience for people who need help. My friends and family also give me confidence. They’ve been terrific.”
Myers accepts his situation, and plans to continue chemotherapy for the rest of his life. “I have never come to the point where I’ve said, ‘Why me? or ‘I’m ready to give up.’ No one’s put an expiration date on me,” he says.
Myers continues to have hope that advances from cancer research will one day lead to better treatments and possibly a cure, which is why he encourages people to participate, donate and volunteer for The Ride, a bicycle event to raise money for cancer research at the University of Wisconsin.
Advocating for cancer research is Myers’ way of giving back to UW Carbone Cancer Center, which has done so much for him. “I can’t say enough about my experience here. Everybody has been absolutely phenomenal,” he says.
That said, he’s reluctant to make this fundraiser about him.
“I’m not really doing this for myself. I’m not comfortable saying, ‘Donate for my sake.’ It’s not about me. It’s about all the people with cancer and their families and the future advances that will likely come from research.”