In the fall of 2004 I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was absolutely devastated at this point in time. They gave me 7 years to live. In hearing this, I decided to take early retirement. Well, sitting here today I guess I’ve beat the 7 years they predicted. I went through chemotherapy until April 2005. In May of 2005 they took my spleen out. They did this because my spleen was hoarding all my blood platelets. The surgery was a success and things went smoothly for many years.
I started volunteering for the Cancer Resource Center in 2009. I wanted to give back some of the things that were given to me when I had cancer. Also in 2009 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I had two surgeries for this cancer. I was given a chemical drug called BCG to help the bladder fight the cancer. I took BCG for many months but eventually my body rejected it and I couldn’t take it anymore. Bob was helpful when I was diagnosed with the bladder cancer. He was in the Bob lobby when I was being prepped for surgery and was extremely helpful and reassuring. He got me some names of people I could talk to that had been through what I was going through.
I then starting volunteering at the hospital for the Cancer Resource Center and worked at the radiation and chemotherapy labs. I get regular check ups for the bladder cancer every 4 months. Last year, my lymph glands started to pop up on my head, under arms and shoulders. It was determined that this was lymphoma and at stage three.
I took 6 sessions of chemo for my lymphoma. I was given a drug cocktail called R-chop, which was very strong. The chemo sessions took 6-7 hours. The drug worked and the doctor. Does not think it’s going to come back. I know that the Leukemia will most likely come back some day but hopefully way in the future.
Three weeks ago I went in for a bladder exam and they found two more tumors on my bladder. On May 25th I had surgery for the tumors, which they determined were benign and everything is fine with that now.
I enjoy volunteering with the Cancer Resource Center and meeting with people that are faced with this disease called cancer. I like to be there and listen to them as they describe what they are feeling and offer what help that I can. I enjoy helping others get through it, like other volunteers once helped me.
Every other Thursday there is a thyroid clinic. People go to get a biopsy to see if they have cancer. This is a 2-hour procedure to determine whether they do or do not have cancer. They go in for the procedure then come out and sit in waiting room and wait until they get their results. As a volunteer I try and talk to patients to see if I can be of assistance to them to try and calm their nerves prior to their biopsy and also after while they await the results. Just being there and lending an ear can be the difference to calm the nerves of most patients.
The volunteers of the Cancer Resource Center are the most compassionate people you will ever meet. They have been so supportive of me and my illnesses as well as helping hundreds of others in need in our community.