Not Dead At 56


I am so thankful not to have joined the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Barry White, Beethoven and Hitler, who died at age 56. Tomorrow I turn 57.

A few weeks prior to birthday 56 I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which was a downer at my family birthday party. We didn’t know what lay ahead. Probably a good thing. In the past year I have undergone:

  • multiple scans, biopsies, tests and procedures
  • 4 port surgeries
  • 6 rounds of RCHOP chemo
  • 2 rounds of RICE chemo, requiring hospitalization
  • mobilization and “high dose” chemo
  • bone marrow transplant

Along with bags of weapon’s grade chemicals whose names I can’t pronounce, I have been injected with or ingested a plethora of:

  • anti inflammatory meds
  • anti bacterial meds
  • anti fungal meds
  • anti nausea meds
  • sleeping pills
  • steroids

Despite the best medical care, I have had my share of:

  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • nausea ad vomiting
  • night sweats
  • infections
  • fevers

All these inconveniences are put into perspective by a single reality—LIFE! I’m still here, by the grace of God, and feeling stronger every day. (I’m the patriarch in the front row of this branch of the Hamel clan.)

Immediate Family

As to the cancer, I get my first post-transplant scan in September, and every 3-6 months thereafter. We’ll see if it’s gone, and how long it stays away.

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8 thoughts on “Not Dead At 56

  1. Happy Birthday and what a great message. Wishing you all the best for the upcoming scans and years of enjoying the family. Love the pictures by the way

  2. Happy Birthday, Mike – and many more! Congratulations on coming through a grueling year with your wits and humor still in tact. (Russ also turns 57 in less than 2 weeks; then its just 3 years till you blokes are 6-0-!!)

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