The surgeon came to the same conclusion, 90% chance it was nothing to worry about, but only surgery would tell us for sure. When the surgeon met my wife after surgery, he was very troubled. He told her it was not what he expected. It looked like cancer to him. During my follow-up visit a few days later, he delivered the news from the pathology report--stage III, Hodgkins lymphoma. We were shocked! After we did some research, we were glad it was not non-Hodgkins lymphoma. From what we read, we had learned that Hodgkins disease was curable, but non-Hodgkins was not. A few weeks later, we met with the oncologist, and he said, "You have stage III, non-Hodgkins lymphoma." "Wait a minute, doc! You mean Hodgkins, don't you?", I replied. Come to find out, a second pathology report had changed the diagnosis--it was stage III, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, both aggressive cells and low-grade cells. Soon after the initial shock, I told my wife, "I am going to be the healthiest cancer patient they have ever seen." In many ways, I have done just that.
So much for the details for now. Today, I am a six-time, cancer survivor, but cancer is not the only major challenge that we have faced. There have been many others, which I can share as time goes on, if anyone cares. What I do want to share with you now is that because I have had to fight cancer (and win and win and win), there have been a lot of positive benefits from those experiences. There are no guarantees in life, so I encourage you to look for the positive results in every tough situation. Some of those positive things:
- My priorities in life changed for the better
- I was much more focused in my commitment to God
- I quit being a workaholic
- I was much more empathetic towards others
- Cancer prepared me for other life challenges, because I realized that the most important things in life are not things, but God and family
I like "keeping it real." If you have questions about cancer, about how I dealt with certain life-changing events, or you want to share some of your own experiences, please do so. While I was going through treatment, writing / journaling was very therapeutic for me. Later, I compiled those writing into my book, "Personal Growth Through Crises". You can learn more about my book on my Facebook page.