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by hopeful January 20, 2017

Cancer: Lessons Learned

“Do not convince yourself that there is nothing wrong when you know better.”

Words of wisdom from someone who knows.

As a senior structural test engineer for Boeing, Hassan Shiblak makes sure the planes we all fly in are safe, and perform the way they're supposed to. He excels at spotting problems because he knows what he's looking for.

Logical? Sure it is. And not just for planes.

In late 2013, the 58-year-old Long Beach, California, resident started coughing up blood daily. It was stage 1 lung cancer. He had surgery and hoped that was that. But not long after, Shiblak felt a painful lump in his chest. Had his cancer returned? He sought a second opinion. And it probably saved his life.

A second round of surgery removed the cancer, which has not returned since.

Shiblak’s glad he took charge of his health and sought out answers.

“You know your body better than anyone,” he says. “(You) need to be persistent about finding out what is causing any health problems.”

If you are diagnosed with cancer, that's the time to adopt Shiblak’s engineering, work-the-problem approach: Get the best information, opinions and treatments at a place that specializes in all three: a comprehensive cancer center. And do it right away. Be equally persistent about the cost. Your insurance may cover your treatment, but if it doesn't, don't give up. “If you need to, gather money from family and friends, or use your savings for treatment,” he said. “This is your life.”

Shiblak shares these lessons with others facing a cancer diagnosis. He has one more bit of advice:

Don't lose hope.

At the beginning, Shiblak admits he “feared the worst.”

And now?

“Words cannot describe how grateful I am.”

 

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