A TITLE MATCH IN THE FIGHT TO END CANCER | FEATURING LARRY HUGHSON
Friday January 27, 2017
Article By: Luis Parades
The men and women of the Fight To End Cancer Fight Team train extremely hard so they can compete at the FTEC gala. Larry Hughson fought extremely hard and came out on top against one of the toughest opponents. Larry was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer on July 19 2011, 11 days before his 39th birthday. His first reaction to the news was very emotional and full of despair, but like the true fighter that he is Larry quickly shook off the doubt and sadness. He then began on his journey – the fight of his life and his road to recovery!
“I decided that this horrible disease would not defeat me! From that point on I would not allow any negativity or pity from anyone who visited me during my treatments.”
Larry’s fight began with a surgical procedure to remove the tumour and testicle that was infected with the cancerous cells. Five rounds of chemotherapy followed this initial surgery and a subsequent surgery to remove lymph nodes from his back was required. Many cancer patients have people they depend on for support during the many procedures and treatments as tough as chemo. Larry credits his loving wife Tammy, his family and friends and especially his trainer Pete Brown.
“Pete would meet me at the gym to train. Some days I would get tired fairly easily due to the chemo, and our workouts would not be as long as other days. He always offered a positive attitude and support; he didn’t care if I was training for five minutes or an hour.”
Through all the encouragement and support that he received from this group we are proud to announce, as of March 23rd, 2017 Larry will enter his 5th year of remission! Due to his support group and everyone who filled him with positivity and love, Larry was able to knock out his cancer and continues fighting hard for others who need help! We reached out to Larry to see how he was doing and to delve deeper into his fight with cancer. We wanted to understand what he did to come out the winner of his title fight, as he likes to call it!
INTRODUCING CANCER SURVIVOR | LARRY HUGHSON
You spoke about going to the gym a lot while you were going through your fight, were there any other activities or places that you liked to visit that helped you during your treatments?
Other than going to the gym I mostly stayed at home. What helped for me was just watching movies and I played a lot of PS3 (mostly Call of Duty).
I found a lump, that at first, whether due to ignorance or fear, I tried ignoring. Once my wife became aware of it I went to the doctor and then to a specialist who confirmed it was cancer. My advice would be to not do what I did and as soon as you think something is not right go to your doctor. I was lucky that I came to my senses soon enough and the treatments/ surgeries were a success. It could have easily gone the opposite if I kept ignoring it.
You spoke about how your wife Tammy was there right next to you during your entire fight. What were the different things that she did to keep you motivated and positive from your first diagnosis to going through your treatments?
She really didn’t do anything different, just be there unconditionally allowed me to relax when needed and not worry about the day-to-day stuff. She was my rock during everything, even when she would get upset or worried she would not let me know so that I would not get upset. She also kept any one away who was negative or tried to pity me in any way.
At the Fight To End Cancer we have a new group of men and women every year who step into a boxing ring after six months of hard training all to raise money for cancer research. What words of motivation would you give to them, the night of their big fight?
I’m not even sure where to start with FTEC, it is a very inspiring group of individuals.
The fact that they are willing to put themselves through all of the training etc., to raise funds and awareness for cancer make them all winners in my book. I would tell them that seeing them do what they are doing would give me the energy needed to go that extra bit, whether it is chemo, surgeries etc. while I was sick and fighting my own fight.
At the Fight To End Cancer our main goal is to end cancer within our lifetime. We reach closer to that goal everyday with donations to cancer research. Tell us how cancer research has affected your treatment and how has it helped you reach the point you are at now?
Cancer research has helped me by finding better drugs and/ or treatments. For me personally I was fortunate to have an awesome benefit plan at work which allowed me to use a drug called Neulasta. It is a prescription medication given approximately 24 hours after you receive chemotherapy treatment. It helps protect against the risk of infection and provides support through your chemotherapy cycle with just one injection. Neulasta works like a natural protein within your body to signal the growth of new white blood cells, which helps protect against the risk of infection following chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a useful tool in battling cancer but also takes a large toll on the person’s body, tell us about your 5 rounds of chemo. How did your body react to the treatment and how did you push through the difficult times.
Like most people all of my hair fell out. It would usually take about a week after each cycle for me to get any energy back. During my treatments I was very tired and weak. It also affected my appetite, I lived mostly off of chicken noodle soup and Boost drinks. Due to the chemo I cannot drink pepsi or some other drinks out of a can as they have a tin like taste now.
As of March of 2017 you will be in your fifth year of remission, how has your life changed from the day you were first diagnosed with testicular cancer?
My life has changed in many ways. I now have to take a drug called Androgel once a day to keep my testosterone levels in the normal range. There are times when I am not as easy-going or upbeat as I used to be and I am a lot more emotional now. I don’t have too many pictures from when I was going through treatment, but here are the ones I do have.
What are some words of advice or encouragement that you would give to someone who is in the fight of their lives as they battle hard against cancer?
My advice to anyone who is diagnosed is to stay positive, even when it seems impossible. Tell anyone who wants to be around to keep the negativity, sadness, etc. away because in my experience, it doesn’t help. The diagnosis and treatment are bad enough to worry about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from doctors, other patients and nurses (especially nurses — they know way more than they often get credit for). Keep a notepad when asking questions or bring someone you trust who can help remember any questions to ask or answers that are provided.
Larry’s story is one of resilience and determination as he never gave up and kept fighting hard against this horrible disease. We at the Fight To End Cancer take great inspiration from his story and will keep working hard so we can end cancer within our lifetime! As Larry said, without his support group of family and friends, he wouldn’t be where he is now. So be sure to be there when you hear that someone is in need of help! We challenge you to go out and become part of a support group or help someone who is in need, because that extra push of positivity may make the world of difference to someone!