My short bio: My name is Alex Harte. I am 15 years old and several months ago I was diagnosed with cancer. In addition to this, I nearly experienced heart and lung failure do to a buildup of cancerous fluid around my heart and lungs and a severe case of double pneumonia all at once. And that was just the first day. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that could have gone wrong in my treatment pretty much did go wrong. For example, I was sent to anaphylactic shock after being given a chemo drug that I was apparently allergic to. So, instead of taking that drug through IV, I had to endure 2 large needles being stabbed into my leg muscles on 25 separate occasions, with each needle costing more than $14,000 apiece. Do the math. Basically, this cancer could not have tried harder to kill me, but I was able to come out on top. I take pride in that. So please, Ask Me Anything. Note: I will check back every hour or so to see new questions, if and when they arise, so you SHOULD have an answer within an hour of you asking a question. NO guarantees, though. ;)

My Proof:

^ This is me getting a the super kick-ass gaming computer from the Make-a-Wish Foundation a few months after my diagnosis!

^ A picture of me w/ my username. Mods required this ;)

EDIT: Wow, thanks for all the questions! I'm taking a break now but I will check back at around 7 PM PST and see what else you ask! Stay cool.

EDIT #2: I mentioned that I play TF2. Here is a short montage of Soldier gameplay that I made a while ago!

EDIT #3: Why are some of my responses in negative numbers? Am I doing something wrong?

EDIT #4: Thank you to everyone who supported me and downvoted that "harveytent" guy. It's nice to know that I have support. :D

Comments: 104 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

cqferrier13 karma

Do people treat you differently because of your experience? If so,do you like it when people treat differently because of your situation. Also was there ever a point when you just wanted to give up. Thanks for answering our questions!

TheKnightOfQuantum8 karma

I suppose people treat me differently. I never get ANY SORT of disrespect now. I do not think that the way people treat me now has effected me negatively, and all of the friends I had before are now even closer friends now! :)

There were times during treatment when it was very hard for me to hold everything together. But, I am simply too cynical to think that me killing myself would benefit me or anyone in any way. I attribute this highly logical way of thinking to my natural IQ of 145...

TheKnightOfQuantum21 karma

^ This above comment is an attempt to poke fun at myself. Just saying, since it is now in negative range...

mandels63 karma

does it ever frustrate you that people are overly nice to you? like, do you ever want to be treated, for lack of a better word, normal?

TheKnightOfQuantum14 karma

Not really. It comforts me to know that people care that much about me. Plus, I would say that the way they treat me has gone back to a level of "normal" that I like. :)

ungulate8 karma

Congrats! How long have you been in remission?

TheKnightOfQuantum12 karma

About a month or two. A little less than two years to go :P.

ungulate8 karma

How often are you getting re-tested?

My little brother died of aggressive T-cell NHL diagnosed at late stage 4 with very similar symptoms to yours. (He was 23.) It was about 20 years ago, so the treatments weren't as good as they are now.

But the one thing I'd have done differently is get him checked more -- after he first went into remission, he wasn't actually cancer-free, and it came back in a few weeks with a vengeance. Maybe if we'd been more aggressive about it, he might have had a chance.

Anyway, everyone's different, and the treatments are much more sophisticated these days. But if I were you I'd get re-checked weekly for the first 6 months.

TheKnightOfQuantum10 karma

I'm sorry for your loss.

I go into the clinic about once a month now. I used to go in several times a week, though.

anonymous1234217 karma

Hey Alex,

In order to keep your post up we need to verify your identity. A picture of you holding up your reddit username on a piece of paper would be outstanding, but other proof works too. Just message the mods and we can work it out, or you can edit the post with another photo on your own-- just be sure to reply to me or another mod so we can stay in the loop.

TheKnightOfQuantum9 karma

I have edited the notes. Is the supplied picture satisfactory?

TryNstopME0246 karma

I like your positive uplifting attitude you have. Have you ever found it difficult to "push through" it all? What kind of games do you like to play?

TheKnightOfQuantum9 karma

Video games were the things that allowed me to get through everything with my sense of humor intact.

My favorite game of all time is Portal 2, but I also like any other game made by Valve, notably Team Fortress 2.

There is also Just Cause 2 and the Walking Dead games. The TV Shows Mad Men and The Walking Dead also helped immensely.

JonBananas5 karma


One question, I always hear of people changing their diet (juicing, veggies) when they get cancer. What was your diet like battling the terrible disease?

TheKnightOfQuantum9 karma

Diet never really CHANGED so much as it went up and down in terms of appetite. Initially, I was given a special steroid called prednisone that made me hungry all the damn time... it was both enjoyable and annoying.

My diet was never really an issue. I weighed approximately 130 lbs. on the date of diagnosis. This figure dropped to about 95 lbs. on several occasions, so the doctors actually wanted me to eat whatever I want whenever I wanted it.

ArchangelPT4 karma

You got a kickass computer AND you lived, gg bro.

TheKnightOfQuantum8 karma

Yep. 3 GTX 780 Ti's. GG, indeed. :D

forseanee4 karma

What kind of beliefs do you hold? Are you religious/spiritual/etc?

I'd be intrigued to know your reasons either way.

TheKnightOfQuantum53 karma

That is an interesting question...

My grandmother is Catholic, and she is a nice woman with no bad feelings toward anyone (she is indifferent of things that some Catholics take offense to). You wouldn't know from looking at my mother and father, though. They do not pray or go to church or anything like that, and they never really required me and my younger brother to do any of that.

Before I got sick I was of the naive belief that: "I would much rather be a Christian and be wrong than be and Atheist and be wrong."

But after the fact, I'm still not going to become a full-fledged Atheist. I'm leaning more towards Agnosticism, in that I accept that there could be an all-powerful being that created everything. Such a belief would help to explain many of the mysteries in the universe, but not why it had to be me who got cancer...

If there is a God, I suppose I cannot claim to know or understand his plan for me.

Now my belief looks more like this: "If you want to be a believer, great! If you want to be an Atheist, great! Just don't be a d*ck." Religion, in my newly matured mind, is meant to give a person a spiritual path to follow that will guide them to having a satisfactory life worth living. It should not be intended to judge or damn others.

blitzen90913 karma

This is the best comment I've seen about Atheism I've seen in a while.

No clue why you're getting downvoted, they're some good thoughts there, elegantly written too.

Have an upvote.

TheKnightOfQuantum34 karma


ladydomino5 karma

How often do you play the "Cancer Card"? Has it ever gotten you into or out of something interesting?

TheKnightOfQuantum17 karma

I don't play it that often. All my friends try to get me to do it. "Really? You're gonna throw grapes at the table that the kid with cancer sits at?" and the like.

I used it to drive around on one of those scooter things at a Fred Meyer. Boss mode activated.

La_Chron_James3 karma

Have you tried medicinal marijuana?

TheKnightOfQuantum16 karma

I have not.

But who needs marijuana when you have IV Dilaudid? I tell you, man, you don't know what "High" means. ;)

joethetipper3 karma

What's the risk of the cancer coming back (or is it gone yet)? How has your outlook on life changed?

Keep fighting the good fight, man. You're an inspiration.

TheKnightOfQuantum10 karma

I am currently in remission, meaning that the overactive cancer cells are no longer visible in any test that the doctors perform on me. I will be in this sort of "maintenance" period for the next two years. Only then will the doctors truly be able to determine whether or not the cancer has any chance of returning. Basically, at the beginning of remission, if you do not take the require medicines (like 10 pills a day, though it used to be like 30), then there is almost a sure chance that it will return. But if I take the meds for the two years and nothing happens, then I am pretty much cancer-free! :D

I would refer to my answer to Forseanee's question in response to whether my life has changed. TL;DR: I have not given up on my life and I have not entirely given up on religion; which is meant to guide a person and not to judge others.

Oreosmooshy3 karma

Well, you're still here so I'd say you have far from the worst case of T-cell lymphoma.

TheKnightOfQuantum3 karma

On the contrary, it was a miracle that the cancerous fluid that built up in my chest and crushed my heart and lungs did not cause a massive heart attack or lung failure. I had 12 liters of fluid removed from my chest through 3 separate tubes over the course of six hours.

In addition, every complication that could have erupted did so consistently. One example is that a chemo drug that I had to get send me into anaphylaxis, and the nurse assigned to me did not know how to properly use the EpiPen.

Nurses and doctors that I have no memory of (but who say they were there) described the amount of pain that I was in at times as "horrific" and worse than almost any other case of cancer they had ever seen. Many people get the news as they are sitting on an exam table feeling perfectly healthy. My family was told when I was in ungodly amounts of pain in another room from fluid crushing my lungs and pumps penetrating my chest.


harveytent-21 karma

Be gratefull you have a high chance of remission. I don't know how you spent time in radiology and think you had it so bad. I guess you were not there for long periods. You had it lucky compared to one hell of a lot of people.

anonymous12342113 karma

Who are you to say how someone should feel about their condition? You have no right to tell someone who has gone through extreme cancer treatments (especially as a child!) that he can't "think he had it so bad." You are a troubled individual, and you personally have not had to deal with anything remotely similar to what this kid went through.

Since when is it a contest on who suffered more? Do you know how emotionally and physcially difficult spending your life in the hospital not able to eat or walk around or to have your chest drained of fluid is, especially for a kid? To go through anaphylactic shock because of nurse incompetence (or in general)? To go through intravenous chemo (with big ass needles in your goddamn leg) because you had allergic reactions to the pills? You just told a fifteen year old cancer patient to "try dealing with liver failure" because your wife had it. That is unbelievably juvenile, spiteful, and cruel, and I would highly advise that you seek help because most adults--even ones who experienced a major loss--do not speak to each other that way, especially to children.

Try going to your local pediatric oncology ward and telling the children there what you just typed out. Tell it to their faces. Let them know how worse your wife had it than they do, and I guarantee that just as /u/TheKnightofQuantum has done, they will rise above it and take the high road. I would wish cancer or liver failure upon no one, but in your sorry existence nobody else is allowed to feel lucky to be alive because your wife's odds were worse. I can't imagine very many people who would like to posthumously be used by their widow/widower in a verbal tirade against a child like this. You should be ashamed of yourself.

harveytent-7 karma


anonymous12342113 karma

Well I hope it worked. I hope you were able to make yourself feel better at others' expense. You sure put that kid in his place. Who is he to candidly recount his experiences? I'm sorry you feel so compelled to vindicate yourself from survivor's guilt by verbally assaulting a kid who went through worse than what 99% of people in general will ever have to experience and who went through much worse than what you went through. I know it's not a contest (despite what lowlifes like you might think), but he objectively experienced much more physical pain than you did. That is just a fact. Feeling sorry for yourself and attempting to drag down people to your level of self-pity and misery isn't exactly a mature or healthy way to handle grief, buddy. It's not like it's even immediate-- this was years ago now. I am sorry for your loss, but you seriously should take a good long look in the mirror and think about how you talk to others. I sure as hell hope you are not like this in real life.

TheKnightOfQuantum5 karma

I applaud you, anonymous poster!

Harvey: He just summed up in a very elegant response what I am about to say: F*ck off.

anonymous1234213 karma

Don't even acknowledge his existence! People like that aren't worth your time.

TheKnightOfQuantum6 karma

I'm 15. I'm bored, I'm healthy again, and I'd just spend the time messing around on the internet anyways. Sometimes, it's worth it to put people in their place. Thanks for backing me up.

TheKnightOfQuantum1 karma

Listen up, sir:

I have infinitely more of a right to tell you this than you: death IS NOT the worst thing that can happen to you. No matter what you believe, can we not accept that whatever waits for us after life is BETTER than what we deal with here? Even if there is no afterlife, we will no longer have to feel the pain of living. I went through incredible amounts of pain, and I am sure that your wife did as well, and my heart goes out to her and you for your loss. The difference is, she was released from this world, and I survived to continue living another 60 to 70 years of more of the hell that I have already endured.

I will never be the same again. My life has been altered irrevocably, and it happened to me DIRECTLY. I don't know if I will ever be as happy as I once was, but I sure as hell will not with people like you trying to degrade my experience when they have no idea what the f*ck they are talking about.

Also, I never said I had the WORST CANCER IMAGINABLE. I simply said that I do not think that this particular cancer could not have tried harder to kill me. Take it from me when I say that you have no idea how many things went wrong and how many alternatives I had to deal with. Any normal person would be brought to the floor with disgust if they had to do just ONE of the many things that I had to do to stay alive.

harveytent-10 karma

well if life sucks so bad why did you go through chemo? Shouldn't you have opted out? Pretty pathetic some guy that doesn't even appreciate life is the one to survive. there are thousands of people out there fighting for their lives in far worse condition then you were ever in and they want to live. So if you don't want to then sign up for organ donation opt out. That was the most emo comment I've ever read lol

TheKnightOfQuantum4 karma

You have completely misinterpreted my statement.

Do you REALLY think that I wanted to die? I did not. I said that it is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Of course, it is a pretty bad thing, and I know this firsthand, since I came so close to it several times, but you could be in horrible pain (like I was), you could be raped (I was not...), tortured, neglected, starving, need I go on? All of these things are things that you have to experience over the course of a long time, both directly and indirectly. A victim of rape will be severely traumatized for the remainder of their lives.

Why do you think people kill themselves? They have experienced enough pain to KNOW that whatever comes after life will almost certainly be better than what they are going through now. I am honestly not surprised that you are unable to grasp this.

"If life sucks so bad why did you go through chemo?"

That is the most backwards and idiotic thing that I have ever heard. Chemo was the reason why life sucks so bad. I appreciate life more than you know, but I take comfort in the fact that whatever comes after will almost certainly not be worse. It means the world to me that I was able to remain alive for the sake of all my friends and family to continue to know and care about me. You seem to be trying to squander it for some completely moronic reason that I am having significant difficulties unraveling.

I have no doubt that your wife went through horrible things that she should never have had to go through. I hope that her passing was as peaceful as it could have been. But, by attacking another person who has endured some pretty horrible things in the past few months (you have no right to say that your wife suffered more than I did. You also have no proof to back up this claim, and I will disregard it thusly), you belittle her memory and disgrace every child who has cancer and understands how much it hurts (unlike you).

harveytent-5 karma


TheKnightOfQuantum2 karma

Is it your goal now to insult and degrade me?

The whole IQ thing was (obviously) a joke. I cannot help having that IQ, but I certainly do not consider myself a genius. I did not intend to place myself on some sort of high ground through saying that. If you go back to that question, you will see that I addressed what I said as a humorous statement a while ago, and I felt bad for possibly seeming pretentious and rude.

The reason why I have 2 AMAs was because I did not know how to properly do one, and I accidentally posted the first one to a subreddit that only had a few thousand followers as opposed to the one that you are SUPPOSED to use.

I in no way intended to say that I am a better person because I had it worse than anyone. I simply intended to say that I had it pretty bad. The whole "worst case you can imagine" thing was hyperbole, and I think that everyone else on this thread who has left supportive and motivational responses for me to address understood that. But saying that I am "big-headed" because I wanted to share my story of a very unusual and serious bout with this particular form of cancer is very childish of you. I might actually be insulted if I cared about what you had to say about an experience that you have absolutely zero first-hand knowledge about.

It has become clear to me that at this point you are simply trying to insult me and to say that I do not deserve any sort of consolation because you believe that I think that "it's so much better to be dead." I certainly would not want to be dead. Dying is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you, but it is not THE worst thing. The worst thing would probably have to be being alive to mourn the loss of another person; the situation that you are in.

And sir, you are handling that situation very, very poorly.

Good day.

InfernalWedgie2 karma

Congrats on remission. I hope it never comes back to you.

TheKnightOfQuantum3 karma

Thanks, mate!

bigcow312 karma

What were the signs/symptoms that led you to go to the hospital?

TheKnightOfQuantum3 karma

I was coughing and had shortness of breath for an extremely long time, and it turned out that cancerous fluid was crushing both my lungs and heart. I also had double pneumonia.

Essentially, this cancer could not have tried harder to kill me. It normally has a survival rate of about 90%, but the doctors were surprised that I had not had a massive heart attack or experienced lung collapse and failure.

But I came out on top, as the Knight of Quantum always does.

FluffyFarts2 karma

What were your symptoms?

TheKnightOfQuantum4 karma

Refer to my response to Bigcow31.

wiseoldsage2 karma

Was there any point where you wanted to give up or got depressed? if so how did you push through it?

TheKnightOfQuantum3 karma

If there were to be moments like that, video games quelled them.

LanceRudager2 karma

What were your dreams like at your worst if you can remember?

TheKnightOfQuantum2 karma

I had a dream where I had to get to the bathroom on my own without anyone else touching me, or I would DIE. I woke up thinking this (I was unable to walk at the time), and tried to get to the bathroom. I ended up on the floor and yelled for everyone trying to help to stay away from me... I think that was my most insane moment.

PolkaLlama2 karma

Computer specs? It looked really badass and congrats on beating cancer.

TheKnightOfQuantum2 karma

3-way SLI GTX 780 Ti's Core i7 Processor: 4960X Extreme edition 32 GB Dominator RAM Etc.

warriorsatthedisco2 karma

What's your favorite movie? Glad that you lived through it!! that must've been terrible.

And I have no idea why some of your comments are being downvoted.

TheKnightOfQuantum4 karma

That's a toughie.

I'll just tell you some of my favorites. They are all good: Ocean's Eleven, Free to Play, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ghostbusters, the list goes on. I cannot think of any more for some reason... :P

StealerofSuns2 karma

What do you plan on being after college?

Going into Aerospace Engineering myself.

EDIT: Oh, computer science. Good luck! I suppose I'll ask a different question: What do you think of SpaceX?

TheKnightOfQuantum2 karma

It looks pretty leet, my friend! Good luck out there.

ladydomino2 karma

Let me just say that the Make A Wish foundation is awesome, my best friend had leukemia and they sent us all (8 family and friends) to Atlantis in the Bahamas. When my friend went into remission, the running joke was that Make a Wish was going to want their money back!

Actual Question- As a teenage patient, do you think that your treatment/approach was catered properly to your age? How much insight were you given during treatment? Would you have liked more/less? Why or why not?

TheKnightOfQuantum6 karma

I was put in a CHILDREN'S hospital in Portland, Oregon. Most of the other patients were five years old and could not fully grasp what was happening to them. I envy them, as they do not have to fully experience the mental horrors that a teenager would have to simply because of maturity.

Doernbecher is an amazing hospital, though, and I could not have asked for more from the staff and doctors there. They did provide me with insight, as it was very clear to them from the get-go that I was mature enough to handle all the information.

vigorouscats2 karma

Has something this severe affected your grades or academics? I can only imagine the stress and difficulty you'd have to go through daily, much less school worries.

TheKnightOfQuantum5 karma

School has been difficult. I am just now starting to finish up with all the make-up work that I had to do. It's been especially hard for me because time management was never my strong suit. I just wanted to be on my computer and play Team Fortress (the reason why I want to go into the gaming industry and computer science: I already do it and I think that it's fun! I'd never work a day in my life).

My grades before getting sick were almost always high B's or A's. I had a cumulative GPA of 3.7. It was a bit lower this year (I'm an AP sophomore), but I think I'm getting back into the swing of things!

burdalane2 karma

You know that working in the software industry and developing games can be a very different experience from playing them, right?

TheKnightOfQuantum7 karma

Yes, yes I do.

My point is that I have so much fun playing games that I consider to be good that I would love to get into this industry and make games so that others can enjoy it just as much as I do.

For me, video games are not just a passing fad, and I want to do my part in the future to ensure that they remain relevant.