Seven Years in Burkitts

Today is an anniversary for me of sorts, because on December 30th 2008, I was at work when I suddenly felt something strange. Not a touching feeling, but I felt a strange sensation, which later turned out to be Burkitt’s lymphoma. My life permanently changed from that date forward and there was no going back to the way things were. When the treatment was done I couldn’t feel anything from the knees and elbows down, I had near complete amnesia of things I knew before Cancer, I lost my health, my stamina, muscle mass, my life savings, and much more, but I have learned a few things about Burkitt’s lymphoma. I have learned how cancer effects people and how knowledge is empowerment and that has lead me on a path, a path to share with others. It’s to the point that if I don’t, someone else may not benefit and it matters, so I must.

Nearly seven years of studying Burkitt’s lymphoma and suffering from it and the treatments side effects, what have I learned? I have learned that diagnostic imaging isn’t always right. I have learned that time matters when its a matter of life or possible death. I have learned that when I get a biopsy for something that is questionable, that if at all possible and if it makes sense, I am getting the excisional biopsy.  I learned that side effects are plentiful. I have learned that not only can cancer rob you of your health, but it can rob you of social interactions and social functions.  I have learned that cancer can put you in financial crisis. I have learned a lot more, but what stands out the most is that when I was told that Burkitt’s is one of the good cancers, they were wrong. Not only because of my situation, but of others. I have seen many suffer. Burkitt’s has robbed parents of their children, robbed children of their parents, robbed people of their friends and has left people in pain, disfigured, and in hardship. Yes, I have learned that most of all Burkitt’s is not a good cancer, but Burkitts has put me on a path that I may have never gone down without cancer, that is at least one good thing.

Jeff Runyan
President/ Founder
Burkitt’s lymphoma Society

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