Today is a great day for a young man named Michael. From the day he was born, neither he, nor his parents, nor his sibling ever thought in their wildest dreams that today, August 27th, 2013 would be such an important day. Today Michael and his family got to hear a word that was unknown to them in meaning and value before today, “remission.” Today Michael was told by his doctor officially by his doctors, that his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was now in remission.
Michael did not volunteer for this journey. As a young adult, I am certain that he had other plans for his future, such as continuing his education, which he now will have the opportunity to pursue should he choose to do so. From the time that I have known of Michael, I have never heard or seen anything less than a child facing a horrible disease with bravery, determination, and endurance.
His battle with Hodgkin’s has left him with some visible scars that will eventually fade from our memory, hair loss, weight loss, and some side effects that we cannot see such as a challenged immune system. Not once did I ever hear of Michael complain about what he was going through, only that he would get through this.
Just one of a parent’s nightmares is to be told that her child has cancer. Yet his mother never, ever had anything less than hope for her son. Every day she cared for her son, took Michael to his appointments, comforted him when he did not feel his strongest, gave him nourishment and medicine when he needed strength. What I saw in this mother’s heart was a complete sacrifice of herself to care for her only son, selflessly and without condition.
In all my years of talking with cancer patients and survivors, I normally do not get emotionally attached to anyone. As with so many our professional caregivers, we cannot afford to. Unfortunately not every story has a happy ending. But this one does. For the first time in over two decades, I took a special interest in Michael, and no one could be more proud of him than me. Just a little over a month ago, I heard that Michael had already been referring to himself as a survivor. Michael, you are the truest definition of a survivor. You have definitely earned the right to be called a survivor.
It is a safe bet that this family will sleep very well tonight. They have been through so much and have finally come to the end of the road and dealing with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
And Michael, if you are reading this, this is for you my young friend…
“As I continue down the road of remission, I will keep looking in my rear view mirror to make sure that you are still following me.”
Congratulations Michael. May you enjoy the many years ahead of you, just as I have, and so much more.