CANCER TALES Life, including cancer, was a trip

Carol Meyer and her husband, Herb.

Carol Meyer of Roswell and her husband, Herb.

By Carol Meyer
“Life is a trip”. Literally. Unfortunately, it can be a trip with smooth sailing or one that has lots of bumps in the road.

This past year has been a literal “sinkhole” for us. No bumps, just swallowed up by huge problems. My husband Herb was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in October of 2007. It was just another workday for him. A real estate prospecting day for me and school for my son. It turned out to be a
life-changing day, week, and months going ahead.

By the time Herb was actually beginning his treatment in November, we were prepared for the worst. It wasn’t just his illness. Along with that, his employer chose to terminate him (probably because of health insurance).
Anyway, we had to forge on and we did. Chemo, radiation, lack of energy, lack of money, and lack of a normal life. But not a lack of fortitude, hope and optimism. He chose life and I was at his side for the big fight. So far, Herb is a winner, a fighter and my hero.

After treatment, my husband decided he wanted to go back to his first love and career, photography! His portfolio is amazing. His talent still prevails. He is seeing life with so much more clarity through the lens, and it shows in his artistic and creative photos. His portraits are stunning; his nature photos are dramatic, the sports actions are “up close and personal” winning shots, and he is happy again with a new fresh start.

  • Cancer touches us all. Nearly everyone living in metro Atlanta knows of someone living with cancer or dying from it. Email us your story: JKJOHNSTON@AJC.COM
  • Read more CANCER TALES from ajc readers like you.

11 comments Add your comment


June 8th, 2009
1:25 pm

It’s a shame his employer took that attitude and fired him. Severing an employee due to illness is akin to filing for a divorce from an ailing spouse. It’s inappropriate and frowned upon when it becomes public knowledge. Congrats on the fresh start.


June 8th, 2009
6:37 pm

I hope your health and good luck continue! You all look so happy together! I love photography also but am just a beginner! Good luck and may GOD continue to Bless you!

Karen Martin

June 8th, 2009
7:21 pm

Your story inspired me and gave me hope. I am not battling cancer, but I am battling other health issues. He is a hero and what a wonderful wife you are to stand by him. I like that “he chose life” – So many people can learn and be encouraged. Jesus is the ultimate healer and I think it is great your husband is finally able to pursue his passion. Thank you for your story!

Clif Thorp

June 9th, 2009
10:37 am

I find your story truly inspirational… I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer this past February… although most of my family (on my mother’s side) have died of cancer ranging in age from 18 – 43… my reaction to my diagnosis surprised me. I was overcome with a feeling of selflessness… my reaction was not “how does this affect me” but “how is this going to affect my friends and family”… I finally realized that of all the people in my life… I was the least important to me!

Yesterday my youngest brother told me that in a conversation with a cousin he said that if I was asked what were the best 5 months out of my 53 years… I would say the last 5 months… he was right… best of luck… hope to meet you down the road… years from now…

Uncle Irving

June 9th, 2009
1:51 pm

I am pleased with your message and happy that my prayers were answered. I send much Love to all of you.

Anne Weeks

June 9th, 2009
1:51 pm

What is head and neck cancer?

C Timmons

June 9th, 2009
2:28 pm

I had a similar diagnosis, but a COMPLETELY different response from my employer. Like Herb, I was diagnosed in late 2007.

Unlike Herb, I had actually vacated by position only one month prior to my diagnosis. Not surprisingly, my new employer’s disability insurance company refused to offer me coverage. Upon hearing of my condition and challenges, my former employer offered me my former position and colleagues in my office came together and DONATED A YEAR OF SICK LEAVE! It was critical to my successful treatment and healing! H&N cancer treatment is a painful one and it completely wiped me out. I would have never paid the mortgage without the kindness and material support of my employer and colleagues. Their support saved my live.

Zletr Blake

June 9th, 2009
3:20 pm

Thank you for your article. My story is so unlike yours but my husband of 4 years was diagnosed with prostrate cancer and subsequently did not make it. My reaction to the diagnoses was completely selfish because I turned to my husband and made him promise to beat this thing. He lived only 13 more months after the diagnose. I am happy that Herb made it and C Timmons, you work with a dynamic group of people. Its news like that that make me continue to believe in people at the workplace being just as human as I had prayed they would be. Very touching indeed.


June 9th, 2009
5:25 pm

touching and inspiring…


June 10th, 2009
2:44 pm

My father went into the hospital on a Tuesday in April for what was to be a simple in and out in 2 days procedure. My mother was scheduled to have a mastectomy the following Wednesday long after Dad was supposed to be out of the hospital. Unfortunately his kidney shopped functioning and Dad was transferred around midnight, placed immediately into intensive care. He stabilized and Mom went ahead with the operation as scheduled because when she was first diagnosed, Dad said she was the priority. So Mom went in on Wednesday and out on Thursday. She stayed home for 2 days and then made the daily trips to see Dad who died a week later.

Can you imagine packing up your drains to attend your husband’s funeral? Luckily my brother who lives with Mom really stepped up. He’s always needed to be the knight in shining armor, which lead to so really bad relationships, but he been there for her ever since. And now Mom is going to live to see another grandchild born. One she’s convince was conceived after a year of trying because once in heaven, Dad had to find somethi9ng to do.


June 22nd, 2009
12:29 pm

Dn6wci comment2 ,