Andrew Shares His Warfare With Cancer Throughout 45 Years Of His Life

6 minutes

I am Andrew Kuzyk, a fifty-three year old man from McDonough, Georgia. I live here with my wife and our five Chihuahuas. I am a proud father and a grandfather too. I have fought with cancer for 45 years straight. My doctors tell me that I am a rare person to have survived cancer 6 times now. I want to help cancer patients and other terminal disease-afflicted people, in my own small way by sharing my experiences.

Cancer 1: I was first affected by cancer when I was an 8-year old kid. When my doctor said that I had skin cancer, I did not really understand its complexity but I remember my family was very tense and had me operated. I was in a lot of pain due to the removal of skin on my ear but my doctor told me that I was lucky. I had won my battle with cancer. But the war had just begun.

Cancer 2: At 17, I was diagnosed with appendix cancer. It is a very rare form of cancer. I was operated urgently after the diagnosis as my organ was on the brink of rupture. I was immensely grateful to the surgeons who saved my life.At the time I had no idea I would experience cancer yet again soon

Cancer 3: A few months later, I had several episodes of pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen. My doctor ordered an abdominal ultrasound and pathology reports followed. The reports said it was T2 gallbladder cancer. I underwent surgery and began my recovery. It was hard, but I thought that I was lucky to be diagnosed and operated in time, again.

Cancer 4: About two years later, I experienced excruciating leg pain and doctors discovered that I had a malignant tumour in my lower leg bone. The surgery was scary as surgeons almost sawed my leg into two to get to the tumour. They were successful and I again began my long, slow recovery.

Cancer 5: Three years passed and I was beginning to feel okay about my health amidst the recovery treatments. I was in college when I went to a dermatologist to get some moles examined and the biopsies declared them to be stage-4 malignant melanomas. This was a dark diagnosis and all I could do was pray.

The prognosis was very bleak when I underwent those agonising surgeries. Surprisingly, the surgeries were immensely successful. I survived and skin cancer did not relapse. This is a miracle in itself as stage 4 cancers generally come back to invade the body.

Cancer 6: I thought 5 times was really enough. However, at 47, cancer had another curveball ready for me. I was in a hospital for a recovery treatment when unimaginable pain developed in my right back area. I was rushed to get a body scan and this time, it was kidney cancer.

The large tumour was located right in the centre of the kidney. My doctors told me the grim situation, I decided to go ahead with the surgery to remove the cancer-affected kidney. It was the most difficult of all surgeries I had till then.

Honestly, I feel lucky to be alive after the repeated attacks of cancer. It has tested my willpower and inner strength time and again. My wife and my five Chihuahuas have constantly been my support system. Without my wife, I could not have fought these battles. Of course, my doctors have been my lifesavers too. I also strongly believe in God and His Blessings that helped me in all these years.

Sometimes, people address me as a 6-times cancer survivor in a glamourous way. I assure you it is not glamorous. I am still fighting with the side effects of all harsh surgeries, medications and therapies. I have several health problems like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, lupus, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy and I need both knees to be surgically replaced. I cannot really do much at all these days. My wife, my dogs and I live in a small basement. We have exhausted our cards and thoroughly rely on the food banks for food.

But what matters is that I am alive. I try not to let my physical and mental conditions run my life, but it takes everything that is within me to get through another painful day. I pray with all my heart and believe that only the bravest of warriors are given the harshest of battles.

I would like to say this to everyone who is going through a hard time right now due to any illness, misfortune or sorrow. Always remember – You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem. I also believe that prayers and faith in God helps. Also, If you want to help a friend diagnosed with cancer, just be there. Friends can’t make cancer go away or heal it. But your friendship can make the cancer person feel safer. And when one is scared, it is important to know that someone is there for you.

Your DOST celebrates the brave spirit of Andrew Kuzyk! Do you have a story inside you of struggle that you overcame with your brave spirit? Share it with us! You never know who can connect with your story and get the courage to keep moving ahead!

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