Most importantly, the doctors, nurses, and researchers are true angles; wouldn’t be here without them. Dedicating their lives to saving others’, I am forever thankful. Not to mention the secretaries, volunteers, and administrators who are the lubrication to the operation, thank God.
It has been a while, but here’s the summary: Diagnosed with ALL in Oct. of 1986, remission shortly after in Dec. of 1986, then 2.5 years of chemotherapy and a few weeks of radiation therapy. It all changed my life... for the better.
I was a senior in high school and was on a path to nowhere, was excited about the Army because I hated school, then the diagnosis and an eye-opening transformation on many levels occurred (and continues to occur). Lots of friends died back then, some with the same type of cancer, some different. It was nerve racking for a long time, and more so for my family. But, for some reason I trusted the medical professionals to do what their passion was driving them to do, visualized the chemo kicking ass on those pitiful leukemia cells, and put my faith in God. As a result, I am still here.
Looking back my dream as a kid was to join the Army, getting cancer prevented me from doing that my senior year. Fast forward about 12 years to 1999: I had a Bachelor’s degree (I would have never even graduated h.s. if it weren’t for cancer), was married to a woman I met at the camp for kids with cancer in AZ back in 1992, had a beautiful daughter (then another in 2000), and I was able to join the Army Reserve through a strange turn of events, something called a medical waiver.
April 2019 will be 20 years of service to this great country (I am currently a full time, AGR, Soldier in the Reserve component and expect to stay in until I am forced out at the mandatory (age at 60) and have not had any problems with the leukemia coming back. However, unrelated to the leukemia specifically, but possibly related the radiation treatment I received some 30 years ago, I had a squamous cell tumor sliced from my tongue, exploratory surgery revealed papillary thyroid cancer in my left neck lymphnodes, which led to having half my thyroid removed and, lastly, had a basal cell mole removed from under my right eye - all in 2014, April to September.
I miss getting involved with all the volunteering opportunities, and went back to that summer camp in AZ in 2014 with my oldest daughter and we both volunteered for a week - it was awesome - and was blown away by how much it had changed... kids were surviving more! Thanks to efforts from organizations like The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Today, I will be 50 in August and I am remarried and have four daughters. I am going to the Team In Training site to see how to get involved with Ironman here in Hawaii... something I will hopefully do before I leave here Hawaii in the summer of 2020.