Hello, my name is Kevin Russell; you may know me from KZ103, but what you may not know is that I’m a Cancer Survivor!!! Back in June 2004, I noticed a knot on the right side of my neck. I knew it was something that wasn't supposed to be there, so I scheduled an appointment with Montgomery Berry, M.D., an ENT physician who scheduled the biopsy for a later date at NMMC in Tupelo.
I received an early birthday present, a diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease. I received the news on July 14, just days prior to my 23rd birthday. It was absolutely the worst present I had ever received. Under the care of medical oncologist Christopher Croot, M.D., I learned that my cancer was Stage 1 and was confined to three lymph nodes. I then under went eight rounds of chemotherapy.
The doctor explained that this would be a fast, aggressive treatment to prevent further spread of my cancer. I thought the first treatment was nothing. It made me hyper and the following week I felt fine, I later learned that chemotherapy affects everyone differently. The second session really hit me. I lost my strength and tired easily.
I learned that it beats down every part of your body, mental, physical and spiritual, and that it's important to have a good support system because you can't go through it alone. Cancer doesn't just affect one person; it affects your entire family and your friends. If you don't have a good support system, it's hard to cope with cancer.
The support of family, friends and co-workers proved invaluable. The staff at KZ103 was very accommodating to my needs. I worked when I had the strength and planned my work schedule around chemotherapy. In addition to chemotherapy, I completed a series of radiation oncology treatments at Cancer Center. I think of those treatments like an insurance policy to help prevent further spread of my Hodgkin's disease, I was under the care of radiation oncologist Ray Reed, M.D.
After much self-reflection and drawing upon my faith, I thank God every day for getting me through cancer. I remember telling myself that if I made it through all of this, there has to be a blessing at the end. Now, I’m CANCER FREE! God is good!!! I have to admit that this trauma was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. The support I received from North Mississippi was overwhelming. The tons of e-mails, phone calls, and letters, all meant so much more than I can express.
I know I can’t thank each of you in person; however, please know that your support helped me to defeat cancer. I will say I learned a lot about life and how important life is and how important helping others is. This may sound crazy, but I looked at cancer as a good thing in my life, not a negative. I spent a lot of time asking myself, “Why me?” Then I realized that maybe everything wasn’t about me.
Maybe this event was happening to me so that I could help someone else. You see, I couldn’t help someone if I’d never gone through cancer myself. Therefore, I decided that I have to be positive. A negative attitude will eat you up worse than any disease. When I heard those words, “You have Cancer,” I thought my life was at its end; but now I see cancer as a new beginning!
A Special Thanks to: Montgomery Berry, M.D., Christopher Croot, M.D., Ray Reed, M.D., KZ103 Listeners and to all my new friends at the Cancer Center. If you would like for me to share my testimony at your Church or Organization, call 662-231-5011.
Thanks, Kevin Russell