After spending a couple of weeks at Christmas with family in Wisconsin, I returned with unusual sore throat symptoms. The sore throat was accompanied by a "scratchy" sensation, almost as if a popcorn husk were lodged way in the back of the throat. A check-up with my family doctor turned up a growth at the very base of the tongue near the region of the tonsils. However, my tonsils were removed at age 3.

Concerned, I immediately saw an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist who took a look and scheduled me for surgery on February 9, 2005 (within 6 days) to remove the mass that he described as half the size of a golf ball.

Surgery went well, and I was fully anticipating good news (and perhaps a round of golf) after my post-operative appointment on February 15, 2005.

The diagnosis changed my life forever! The physician explained, "...your surgery went fine and we have the results from pathology. There is no easy way to say this, but your biopsy showed that you have lymphoma....cancer."

I had very little knowledge about cancer and even less about lymphoma. All I could think of was that I felt fine, felt strong, and what are we going to do to treat this? Could it be removed surgically like my tonsils so many years ago? The doctor replied, "No, that my lymphoma would probably not respond well to surgery and that chemotherapy would likely be my treatment choice." And with that, I was recommended to see an oncologist with the High Point Regional Health System (HPRHS) Cancer Center the very next day.

I started this Web Log (Blog) approximately three (3) months after my diagnosis, which has afforded me the luxury of reflecting back on how a person's diagnosis abruptly and irreversibly changes their life forever. Grief, and many other emotions, unmistakably set in as a natural response to losing one's health. A person must patiently work through the shock, denial, emotions, and finally the acceptance of the situation. Fortunately for me, there wasn't much "why me" or anger involved, because I believe that anger looks backward and hope looks forward. I simply had a desire to get on with a program of treatment and to try to become the best patient that I could be with a determination to be positive throughout the journey!



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