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Cancer Doesn't Care.

POSTED BY: Megan Satterwhite

Cancer doesn’t care.

More than likely, you or someone you know has been affected by cancer, because cancer doesn’t care. Young. Old. Male. Female. This widespread disease doesn’t discriminate.

When I was 44 and in the best shape of my life, cancer didn’t care then either. It didn’t matter that I had a wife and three children or that I was president of our family business. Cancer didn’t care.

You know who did? Florida Hospital. I’m thankful every single day for the care I received at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, and I tell my story.

 

My Diagnosis

During a financial exam, I put my hand on my neck as I pondered a question, and I felt a bump. A visit to my doctor followed, and I was prescribed a round of antibiotics and steroids.

A vacation to the Keys, a business trip and a needle biopsy later, I was diagnosed with stage four HPV-related tonsil cancer. A few days later, I had a radical tonsillectomy and a neck dissection to remove 42 lymph nodes. After that, I began chemotherapy and radiation.

As the days unfolded, I learned more about my diagnosis:

  • Men between the ages of 40 and 50 are most likely to be diagnosed with HPV-related head and neck cancers.
  • Most people probably contracted the disease years before and are symptom-free for a long time.
  • While the diagnosis is severe, HPV-related tonsil cancer is highly treatable and tends to have good outcomes.

My Treatment

Over the next seven weeks, I experienced side effects of my treatment that ranged from unpleasant to downright miserable. I was unable to swallow my own saliva, and I had to learn to live with a feeding tube.

There was an emotional toll, too. It’s a horrible feeling to need your wife to shield your children from you, but I didn’t want them to work about the possibility of losing their dad.

I recorded personal messages for each of my children in the event of my passing: “Lauren, one day you’re going to get married, and I won’t be there.” I tried to impart years of fatherly wisdom in a matter of minutes, because I didn’t think I had much time left.

Let me tell you, those are videos I hope you never have to make.

Cancer-Free

The journey was certainly not an easy one, but I’m proud to say that I’m cancer-free today. I didn’t fight my battle alone: my wife was a superhero; my children and the rest of my family were the strongest support system I ever could have imagined.

And thanks in no small part to Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, my story has a happy ending.

Florida Hospital Cancer Institute

I received the best-possible care at Florida Hospital. Skilled and compassionate caregivers were committed to me and my health, and they continue to work toward a cure for cancer.

The generosity of people like you helps fund:

Join Me

Florida Hospital Cancer Institute saved my life. Thanks to everyone on my care team, I will walk my daughter down the aisle one day. I’ll get to see my sons become dads. I get to spend a lifetime with my wife. I’ll be a brother and son for many more years.

None of this would be possible without Florida Hospital. I support their work, and I invite you to join me by making a gift today.

You can help bring us one step closer to a cure.

Click here to learn more about Florida Hospital Foundation.