I fell in love with Steve Jobs in high school. Well, not Steve per se, but Apple Computer. That was when I first got my hands on an Apple II in math lab. I carried 5-1/4 inch floppy disks in my PeeChee folder like they were gold. Over the years, and after owning so many Apple products I’ve lost count, my affection for Steve and all things Mac has only grown. I’m proud that the bottom of every page on this website says “Made on a Mac”.
So when I found out a few years ago that Steve Jobs was suffering from the same rare nasty form of cancer that I have I was devastated. It’s widely misreported in the media that he had pancreatic cancer. I can understand that since everyone is accustomed to hearing those words and knows how serious that diagnosis is, so it’s easier for the public to digest. In fact he had neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), with his primary tumor in his pancreas. Because his cancer started in his pancreas it wasn’t called carcinoid, like mine which started in my small intestine, but it’s the same cancer – just a different organ. Like most NETs his metastasized to his liver, and the rest of his story has been fairly well reported. I actually applauded during a report on CNN last night when a doctor correctly said the words “neuroendocrine tumors”.
Many of us in the NETs community are conflicted about Steve. I know that my fantasy was for him to hold one of his iconic press conferences and announce, “I have NETs and I’m investing a billion dollars of my own money to find a cure!” At the very least we hoped that he would open up and share the details of his own battle, becoming a flag bearer for our cause. Yet I can well understand why he didn’t want to be that guy. I know how difficult it was for me just to start this website and “go public” with my own story. I empathized with his plight.
It’s really hard for me when someone I know succumbs to carcinoid. When someone larger than life loses his battle it’s no less traumatic. Rest in peace Steve, you will be missed.