How Cancer Affected My Life

Hello Mr Biden,

Thank you for asking about how cancer affects us. My father died of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1996 at 64 years of age.

It was “mantle” lymphoma that grew around the lymph nodes instead of in the nodes. That made it harder to deliver the chemotherapy in a way that affected the disease. It also grew slowly, which made it harder to target and gave the chemotherapy more time to damage his healthy tissue. He was in treatment for 2 years. His medical staff did everything they possibly could to save him, but the treatments caused his lungs to retain fluid. Eventually this put him into shock and hastened his end.

During his treatments, we all had the opportunity to settle any issues and come together as a family. This was the peculiar advantage of dying from a slow disease.

My father was born in the height of the Great Depression and raised in Chicago. He served in the US Army for 30+ years as a horn player and a band director, managing Army bands at Fort Hood TX, the US bases at Ansbach and Heidelberg Germany, and for 7 years at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He was well-loved by locals everywhere he went, putting on concerts for the public and at elementary schools. He would spend hours talking to people after concerts.

Years later, I learned that I have a pretty severe intolerance to gluten. I’ve cut gluten out of my diet and am much better for it. It turns out that untreated food intolerances can raise a person’s risk of both lymphoma and colon cancer. My father had many of the same symptoms I had, symptoms that a gluten-free diet resolved for me. I wish we had known about this decades ago.

Cancer seems to come from so many sources and factors. We want cures for cancer; in order to get cures, we need honest reporting on causes of cancer. Some causes may come from exposure to plastics and other petroleum products. I think many such moneyed interests act against scientific research nowadays. We need to change that.

Thanks so much!


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