SC: Full Name and Where you’re from:
RET: Robert Eli Thompson, NYC
SC: What do you do or what do you want to do?
RET: Actor and teacher
SC: Patient/Survivor/Caregiver (combination?)
SC: Canceranniversay? And what date do you consider it to be? Last day of Chemo?
SC: Do you celebrate a notable cancer date? If you do which one? “National Cancer Survivor Day”, “World Cancer Research Day” etc.
RET: Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (March)
SC: How has Stupid Cancer helped you?
RET: Bringing awareness to others and informing them to get checked
SC: Tell us your story:
RET: On August 24, 2018 I had a colonoscopy that revealed a 6 cm tumor in my rectum. I underwent testing for several weeks to determine the best form of treatment. One month later, I began chemotherapy. I had 8 rounds of chemo that consisted of 90 minutes of a “slow drip” at the hospital followed by a 48 hour take home drip every two weeks. After the 8 rounds, I had a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy pills for 28 days. We were radiating at the highest level in order to (hopefully) prevent a surgery. On April 26, 2019, we were informed that the results looked extremely positive and we had a “clinical complete response” to treatment. Today, March 5th, is actually my one year anniversary marking the end of treatment.
SC: What is the biggest lesson you have learned through this experience?
RET: I often refer to it as “my gift of cancer” because it showed me how much love and life I had. My girlfriend and friends rallied behind me and took care of me in a way that I still can’t comprehend. I lived in a way that I hadn’t before and really understood how precious every moment and every day is. People showed up for me in a way that still humbles and surprises me.
SC: What would you like to say to someone going through what you have gone through or are going through?
RET: You’re not alone. Be open, honest, and brave. Share what is happening physically, mentally, and emotionally and have no shame. Reach out for help. Slow down, be where you are, and breathe.
SC: What do you do that brings you the most comfort and joy?
RET: Everything. Sipping coffee in bed with my girlfriend and cats. Teaching class to my students. Walking in the park. Just being.
SC: What motivates you to keep going, smiling, fighting?
RET: My girlfriend Britt. My friends that are my family. The memory of Karen, my incredible friend that lost her battle with cancer and knowing that I’m alive because of her.
SC: Any music, movies, books, art that have inspired you during your journey?
RET: Radiation was so much more difficult than I thought it would be and lasted the better part of year. Many days I couldn’t leave the home or bathroom. Re-watching The Office made me laugh and gave me comfort. When I could get out, a walk in Central Park really grounded me.
SC: Do you have a favorite quote, mantra or saying that has helped you during your journey?
RET: “The juice is worth the squeeze.”
By Robert Eli Thompson