I was working out on my treadmill when it started
It had been a regular day. I had arrived home from my job as communications operator for the Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg Barracks. My wife Tisha, a registered nurse, was at the hospital working. Our 2-year-old son slept soundly in his crib.
The pain that appeared in my knee that evening got worse during the next few weeks. After an inconclusive MRI, I was given the diagnosis of an “arthritic” knee at the tender age of 35.
A full year later in September 2007, my left leg suddenly turned hot from the knee down and I started sweating profusely. After several weeks of diagnostic tests, the phone call came…I had B-Cell Lymphoma. By now I had a lump below my kneecap. The tests revealed cancer in my tibia and pelvis, with a few nodes also found in my stomach.
The last thing on my mind had been cancer
Suddenly my future, and my wife’s and son’s futures, were very uncertain. All of the “what ifs” and “should haves” swirled in my mind. The unknown is terrifying.
I met with my physician at the John L. and Cora I. Grove Cancer Center, part of Summit Health here in Chambersburg. His expertise and knowledge on the latest treatments quickly put my mind at ease. But most importantly, he boosted my morale with his confidence.
My chemotherapy treatments were on Tuesday, once every three weeks. I was so impressed with the nurses…they were great. Always professional, warm and cheerful, they kept the atmosphere very positive. I wasn’t just a patient – I truly became part of the caring “family” at the Grove Cancer Center.
Each session lasted for seven hours as the cancer-fighting drugs traveled from the IV bag into my veins. You can’t help but think about the deadly cancer cells wreaking havoc inside your body and the toxic chemotherapy being used to kill them.
I’m very fortunate. Tisha and I have wonderful families and an extended network of friends and colleagues who helped us each day. Many came to visit me at the Grove Cancer Center as I was receiving treatment, and that kept my mind busy and occupied.
I noticed other patients who came all alone. Some read. Some closed their eyes and laid back while the chemotherapy slowly dripped. Others simply stared out the window during those long hours.
My visitors all wondered why there was no television available. “Wouldn’t it help pass the time and distract you from thinking about the treatment?” I agreed…a television would be very helpful as those 7 hours dragged by.
I just finished my last chemo treatment and soon start 20 sessions of radiation therapy at the Radiation Oncology Center behind the Chambersburg Hospital. The cancer in my stomach and pelvis is in remission and my doctors are 99% sure the radiation will finish off the cancer in my leg.
I feel like the luckiest guy in the whole world
Tisha and I gave the Grove Cancer Center money to buy a television screen for one of the chemotherapy treatment stations. The patient will have a private screen to watch a favorite channel or program to keep him or her occupied during treatment.
It’s a way my family can reach out and help others going through the same experience
There are 15 more treatment stations to equip. Will you help me provide televisions for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy? A gift of any size is important. Because I’ve sat in that chair, I know how much it will mean to other patients.
I feel so strongly about the wonderful care I’ve received. I plan to volunteer my time to talk with future cancer patients. I want to encourage them, because the mental battle can be as difficult as the physical one.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story. More importantly, thanks for your charitable gift in support of cancer patients. Your gift will touch lives for years to come.
Husband, father, son, brother, colleague, volunteer, and cancer survivor
P.S. If you’re able to give a charitable gift to completely underwrite one television, a small plaque on the unit will tell others of your support for cancer patients.