Six years ago, before my cancer diagnoses, I was a construction worker in the skilled trades. Strong and confident, I thought my life was in control. My wife called me her rock. My kids grew up watching me fix things. All that changed in an afternoon when a doctor told me I lost the cancer lottery and had one of the world’s rarest cancers. Histiocytic Sarcoma, stage four with tumors inside my liver and spleen. I was told I had 1-3 months to live with statistically no chance of survival.
My health deteriorated rapidly. I was told to get my affairs in order. I was not ready to give up. We prayed. We stayed positive. I continued with treatments and eventually received a tandem autologous BMT. I survived and was declared cancer free!
Three years later I got B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma throughout my bone marrow and lymphatic system. Stage four aggressive growth.
More treatments, spinal chemotherapy, months in the hospital, weeks of double vision, an allogeneic BMT and many life-threatening complications. Yet here I am, once again cancer free!
There were times when the fight was more than the cancer. During my first cancer battle amidst family and friend supporting me and surrounding me with love and kindness, my fourteen-year-old daughter turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of watching her daddy die in front of her eyes. During my second battle my sisters and I grieved together as we lost our mom the day after I was released from the hospital after weeks of chemotherapy treatments and without an immune system. I never gave of hope in any situation I found myself in, believing that all things work out for the good. Today my daughter is a healthy twenty-year-old, get ready to deliver my healthy grandson and my mother left our family a wonderful legacy that lives on.
I am thankful for every day and I enjoy my life to the full. I no longer look to a job or my physical strength to define who I am or to give me confidence. I’m still here for my family, in a different way. In a better way.
My motto in life now is to focus on the things I can do and to encourage people who are facing mountains in their life to do the same.
GRYT is being told I had three months to live but choosing to believe I’m more than a statistic and surviving or not can’t be measured on a graph or a chart.
GRYT is watching my fourteen-year-old daughter turn to drugs and alcohol while fighting for my life and resolving I’m not giving up, regardless of the pain.
GRYT is having my mom pass away a day after I was released from the hospital yet being thankful to have the opportunity to remember and grieve my mother with my family.
GRYT is speaking the positive and believing God is for me and not against me.
GRYT is focusing on what I CAN do, not what I can’t!