HNCA Ambassador and 12-Year Cancer Survivor, Mike Metzler, is Fundraising for the HNCA Through His Book Royalties

Mike Metzler was diagnosed with Stage 4 head and neck cancer in February of 2009. That diagnosis started what would become two journeys in Cancer World, a physical and psychological place unwillingly inhabited by cancer patients, their caregivers, families, and friends. The first journey was that of a patient being successfully treated before getting his NED (no evidence of disease) scan reading that November. That journey included numerous medical appointments and scans, many visits to the Emergency Room, and one 4-day stay in the hospital after nearly dying from a reaction to his chemotherapy.

His second and much longer journey has been that of a 12-year survivor who has coped with many debilitating and permanent side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments (aka ‘The gifts that keep on giving’). He was diagnosed with osteoradionecrosis (ORN), which led to a jaw resection in 2014. All of this has left his body, his ‘Brokedown Palace,’ with numerous surgical scars, poorly functioning muscles, a speech disability, and a very limited choice of foods that can be eaten and swallowed safely. That last condition has led to him needing a feeding tube for the rest of his life.

Mike tells the story of his experiences as a cancer patient being treated and as a 12-year survivor in ‘My Two Journeys in Cancer World: Team Mike Versus the Prairie Dogs,’ published in May of 2019 by Auctus Publishers. It is available on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble in paperback and Kindle editions.

Most of his story is told in real-time, as written in the blog he maintained for nine years. Other parts of the story are told through reflections on the many ups and downs he experienced along the way. Team Mike was the large group of family members, friends, medical professionals, fellow members of the Cancer Survivors’ Network community, and even a pet cat who helped him through his most difficult times. Its captain was his wife, Terry, who contributes a key chapter from the perspective of his primary caregiver—a viewpoint rarely expressed in the many books written about cancer today. Mike tells his story with great emotion, clarity, sometimes uncomfortable honesty, and an unfailing sense of humor. It’s a story of perseverance, survival, and optimism—even when there was little to be optimistic about so many times on his journeys. In the end, he has chosen not to dwell on the many things that cancer and its treatments have taken from his life. Rather, he is grateful for the many good things he still has in his life, and the many good things yet to come.

Mike is donating his author’s royalties to the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance where he serves in their Ambassadors Program.

Mike Metzler
Husband & Retired Professor, Georgia State University
Survivor of Stage 4 Mucoepidermoidal Tongue Cancer
Decatur, GA



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Even with all of my daily reminders of what this disease has done to me, the permanent reminders, the scars that anyone can see. I remind myself, even on the bad dark days that I fought this horrible disease and I will always fight for the rest of my days.Angie Rush
Survivor of Stage IV Tongue Cancer


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