My name is Joe Wasser. In March of 2009 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma. By August of 2009 after 8 rounds of chemo we had knocked it into remission and started maintenance Rituxin. I wish that was the end of the story.
In early 2011, while still receiving maintenance treatments, I started feeling tired. Nothing was showing up on tests and it was decided I just needed to exercise. So I started running. My first goal was the classic couch to 5K in under 30 minutes. After a run one day I felt sore in my right at my hip joint. While rubbing that spot I felt a lump. The doctor later confirmed it was a Lymph-node and my cancer had returned. In fact a bone marrow biopsy confirmed it was Stage 4. I hadn’t even had a chance to run my first race. There was no doubt in my mind I still had to run a race and beat my goal. I finished my first race in 33:49. It was obvious I had to keep at it. But now I had to beat 2 clocks. I had to beat 30 minutes and I had to do it before chemo started. I am happy to say I beat that 30 minute mark twice before chemo started with my best time being 28:23 just 2 weeks before my first treatment. All that while having Stage 4 Follicular Lymphoma.
Having cancer for a lot of folks, like me, means not working. During chemo I was trying to figure out how to make extra money. Somehow in the fog of chemo I realized beating cancer is another victory, just like finishing a 5K, that some of us can be proud of. Cancer is a horrible thing but for those of us who survive I think we need to be proud of it. That’s when I got the idea for a sticker to go right next to my 3.1 oval sticker celebrating my personal 5K victory.
Right now the money I make is going to help with my medical bills. Hopefully, in the future, I would also like to start giving back to the cancer community in a financial way too. Thank you for stopping by the site and thanks for your purchase.
Update: In September of this year it was discovered that my Lymphoma had returned. This is my third bout of cancer. It is an incurable cancer but there was hope that the autologus (my own stem cells) transplant might give me a lasting remission. It only lasted 630 days. The first bout of cancer gave me 636 days of remission. Doctors say I will most likely undergo an allogeneic (someone else's stem cells) transplant within the next year. It's only stage 1E this time so right now it's a wait and see approach. So for now life goes on, almost like a normal person.