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Barry Halley: Staying Strong Throughout Treatment

Barry Halley

"Don't give in, don’t let cancer win. Don’t let it steal your joy. Always attack life with energy and zest."

Barry Halley
Lung Cancer

Barry Halley is a military veteran who has always lived an active, healthy lifestyle. After serving in Iraq and being injured, Barry endured a lengthy recovery. Barry was back in good health and was being sent to Afghanistan; however, he developed a kidney stone in April 2011. Upon receiving a routine MRI to diagnose the kidney stone, the hospital physician notified Barry that he noticed spots on his lungs. Barry was floored; he had always been athletic, ate well and never smoked. He went to see a specialist who sent him for a PET scan, and after a lung biopsy, Barry was notified that it was non-small cell lung cancer. The doctors told him that he had a less than six months to live. 

Keeping Active 

Fast forward almost eight years and Barry remains as active as ever. Through intensive chemotherapy, medications, and surgery – during which he lost almost his entire right lung – he felt he had to keep living as normally as possible. 

After his initial diagnosis, Barry underwent a variety of tests only to find out the disease was worse than doctors hoped. Nine rounds of chemotherapy were insufficient to get him to remission, but he continued with surgery which removed most of his right lung. After a PET scan in July 2013, doctors found the cancer had spread to his left lung and other body parts. Given less than three months to live at this point, Barry started on a new drug regiment which he continued on until 2016. According to Barry, his time as a Marine helped shape his outlook during cancer treatment. He learned to keep looking ahead, never stop fighting, and to find something to live for.

“Find every excuse you can to keep working, working out, and staying active. Mediate on the positives of your life, and try and help others going through the same experience.”

Today, Barry is an inspiration to many, including his oncologist, Dr. Muffaddal Morkas of Texas Oncology– Houston Memorial City, for his continuous commitment to overall health. Regular exercise and healthful nutrition keep him both mentally and physically fit – key factors in maintaining a well-balanced treatment approach.

Key Learnings from a Patient’s Perspective 

Barry’s cancer journey has taught him a lot about himself, and how he aims to live life moving forward. Today, he encourages others to do the same with these tips:

Start with your health. Staying active and healthy helps not only your body, but also builds mental resilience.
Find a reason to laugh. If you let it, cancer will strip your humanity away. Living for misery isn’t worth it, so find something you think is worth the fight.

Be realistic. As great as it would be to say, “I won’t let it bother me,” that won’t work. The best way to keep cancer from defining you is to do your research and talk openly with your doctor, so you know what to expect from your disease and treatment plan.

Attack life with energy and zest. What do you have to lose? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this fight, it’s that cancer doesn’t have to be a “woe is me” scenario. Staying positive and active goes a long way toward helping overcome even the toughest adversity.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.