|Ralph Bluemel has plans to be around for a long time.|
Ralph Bluemel is surviving with cancer. It was in October of 2005 when the doctor told him he had maybe two months to live. That was 20 months ago and Bluemel is still going strong. Well, not as strong as he used to be, but strong nonetheless.
Bluemel was born on Feb. 26, 1940 in Salt Lake City. He grew up in Salt Lake on the west side. He worked at a flour mill for 20 years and then came to Emery County in 1978 to work in the coal mine. "I just wanted to get away from the city, too. I really enjoyed working in the coal mine. I hate retirement. I had to retire early due to a broken back in 1995. We bought a motorhome and went to Alaska to see the kids and traveled around. I really enjoy hunting and fishing and riding the OHV.
"It was in October of 2005 that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It had metastasized and went into my spine with tumors all along the spine which cause my legs to go numb and spasms in my legs.
" The doctor said I had two months to live and I told him he was wrong and to get out of my room. My cancer doctor told me that the cancer had made me my age, before this cancer, I still felt young, like I could do anything. I was in really good shape before my cancer. I could do anything I wanted, but now I can't.
"Don't believe it when someone tells you that you only have a couple of months to live. They don't know. They operated and I now take medication to control the cancer. The doctor tells me now that I will die with cancer, not from it.
"I do hate not being able to do what I want, but I'm alive and that's what counts right now. Physically I am weaker than I was, but I don't seem to be getting any weaker, I seem to be staying the same. I have regained some strength and some weight. The doctor worried because I had lost so much weight, but I am gaining some weight back now.
"One of the side effects of the Casodex is that it kills all the testosterone in the body, and it leads to muscle deterioration and hair loss.
"I think attitude is important in fighting cancer. I have been feisty since Day 1. I have been determined that this cancer would not win. I have a lot of things I still plan to do. I want to hunt antelope and other things. I thank God I am still alive and able to fight this cancer.
"I have a hard time asking for help, especially with the things I was able to do before the cancer. I like to tell people not to give up and roll over and play dead. Stand up and fight. Concentrate on the good and not the bad or you'll get depressed, which isn't good.
"I want to thank all of the people for their prayers, concern and help. I especially want to thank my best friend and wife, Corey, for standing by me and helping me through this.
"She has always been there with her love and support and I wouldn't have made it without her," said Bluemel.
The Relay for Life 2007 is coming up on June 29 beginning at 6 p.m. All county residents are invited to come out and support the Relay and the fight against cancer.
There is a program, dinner, survivor lap and a luminary ceremony at dark.