On June 15, 2011, during a routine colonoscopy, that “men of a certain age” are supposed to have, a tumor was discovered. Even though the biopsy had not yet been tested, I was informed that the tumor could only be one thing CANCER. A few days later the test confirmed my worst fear. The next few weeks could not pass quickly enough as I worked to build a team of doctors to treat my cancer. Being that the tumor was located in my rectum I would need to go through both chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the same time. This would have to be done before any sort of surgical intervention could be performed to remove the tumor. The treatments started the second week in July and were completed by the end of August. After allowing my body time to recover from the radiation and chemotherapy, surgery was performed on September 28th to remove what was left of the tumor. While in recovery, I learned that the radiation had dissolved the tumor, that it appeared the cancer had been caught early enough to give a positive prognosis for recovery, and that there were no other signs of growth or movement to other areas in my body.
On June 15, 2011, my routine colonoscopy changed not only my world but the world of my family and friends as well. Cancer does that. My fight was not one I did alone nor could I have done it alone. My wife and children provided both the hope and inspiration I needed to go to each treatment and also gave me the strength to believe that not only would I survive treatment but I could beat cancer. While they cannot, and I hope will never have to, understand what I was going through; I know I am not able to fully grasp the living hell they must have been going through in hoping for the best and fearing the worst. There was also a larger family at Delta Air Lines that I will always be indebted to for their support. I was amazed by the number of colleagues who had personally battled cancer and shared their story to help prepare me for what I was going to go through. I quickly learned that I was not alone and the many phone calls and notes during my treatment and recovery ensured that I always had support.
On June 15, 2011, I chose to have a routine colonoscopy that changed my life. Cancer does that. That choice allowed me to preside over my son’s wedding in June of 2012, and to hold my first granddaughter in April 2013. It allows me to go camping with my wife and to watch my daughter play soccer. My act on June 15, 2011, resulted in my cancer being discovered early enough to be treated and beaten. That is the true message of these few short paragraphs of a much longer story. Listen to your body. Visit your doctor yearly and when it becomes your time for “certain age” checkups to look for cancer or any other sort of health condition…Just Do It. It could change your life.