Tag Archives: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Turn Your Head and Cough

19 Oct

I went for my annual checkup with my general physician today and it was the non-event that I expected it to be. Besides some persistent nasal congestion, I have had very little to complain about health-wise recently. The check-ups have been reduced to a series of rote exercises; take a deep breath, turn your head and cough etc. and as well as the usual questions, sunscreen?, seat belt?, smoking?, exercise?, which I usually give them the answers they want to hear.

While this may at times seem like a pointless activity, it is still important and I am fortunate enough to have insurance that covers this annual affair. In 2008 I was extremely lucky to have had a previously scheduled physical when my first and mysterious symptoms of my non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma began to surface. Unexplainable pains in my groin and back might have gone untreated for months if not for quick action by my doctor. He didn’t know what the hell they were either so he scheduled some CAT scans after I returned a couple weeks later with the same complaints. It seemed drastic at the time, but it helped detect my cancer very early, which I believe led to a speedy recovery.

I was lucky that he also took me seriously. This should be a lesson for all doctors, if a middle-aged guy is complaining about some health issue there is probably something to it. Most guys I know hate going to the doctor and hate spending money even more. So don’t forget to schedule your check-up this year. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do even if it involves turning your head and coughing.

 

Sharing my Story

5 Oct

It’s been another hectic summer; so hectic I have been lax in blogging about the book. From book signings, to participating at summer camp for kids whose parents are fighting cancer, raising awareness and sharing my story has kept the The Year My Dad Went Bald team busy. But I am not complaining, the publishing of the book has given me opportunities that I never knew existed.

For the third time this year, I have been invited by Genentech to share my story and TYMDWB. I will be a featured speaker at the Genentech North American Country Clinical Operations Meeting later this month in San Francisco. Genentech is a biotechnology corporation, founded in 1976. Considered the founder of the biotechnology industry, Genentech has been delivering on the promise of biotechnology for more than 35 years. The brainstorm of my old friend Amy Black who thought that it would be insightful to for me to talk to a gathering of clinical researchers who had come from all over the globe to a meeting at Genentech’s South San Francisco campus.

Although these researchers work in the fight against cancer everyday, few of them had actually met someone who had benefited from their hard work. Genentech produces Rituximab, which was very effective in my recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

From the shock of my diagnosis, to my eventual recovery, I took them through the many lows and scant few highs of my cancer ordeal, which culminated, with the publishing of TYMDWB. I never considered myself much of a public speaker but it is a role I that I have come to enjoy. And, at least I get to talk about one of my favorite topics, me!

With great anticipation I look forward to revisiting with the folks at Genentech later in the month.

Good Luck to Marcus Cotton

4 May

The offensive lineman from TCU was the picked with 10th pick of the fifth round by the New England Patriots in last weekend’s NFL Draft despite a recent diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The intense scrutiny that NFL teams place on their potential draft picks just might have saved his life. After coming off a stellar season that saw his team go 13-0 and defeat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Cotton headed off to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis where the players are measured, timed and tested in everyway imaginable. On of the teams requested a biopsy of a benign growth in his groin and the cancer was discovered.
Cotton has already had one chemo treatment and the prognosis is good. So good in fact, the Patriots went ahead and drafted him. Shows how far we have come in the treatment of cancer, as Cotton expects to be ready for training camp in June. Although I usually root against the Patriots, obviously I am pulling for Cotton. His success can show that a cancer treatment doesn’t have to keep you from reaching your dreams.