The Fighter

My dad has never been anything but a rock-solid support. In fact, he’s been an entire support system all unto himself. Yet, we find ourselves now with the tables turned. While in the last 18 months I’ve found myself with a dream job, married and a soon-to-be homeowner, I haven’t really felt like a grown up until now.

By now I’m sure most of you know, my dad has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. The long and short of it is, doctors found an 7 cm x 8 cm tumor growing on the outside of his kidney after he went to the hospital for lower back pain. His particular type of cancer is one of the most treatable types and his being aggressive makes it more receptive to treatment. Treatment, in this case, is chemotherapy: at least six treatments administered once every three weeks at Maricopa Integrated Health System.

My dad’s not one to back down… this hasn’t always been the easiest aspect of his makeup to deal with, but in this case I couldn’t be more happy. While I never imagined my dad… my  dad would be battling cancer, but knowing my dad… that’s exactly what he’ll do. Battle. No one in this world would or could battle like him. He has the attitude of a solider… maybe he gets it from his father, maybe he gets it from all of his years as an athlete. And maybe it doesn’t matter, because he’s ready to do what he always does: never give up.

The first, and probably the toughest treatment is done and behind us. He was, to quote the nurse, “a model patient.” the treatment was administered in two sets over two days. The second day he received a drug called Rituxan that uses rat proteins to target the cancer cells, or, as my dad calls it, “the rat poison.” The body can identify the “rat poison” as a foreign body and go into rejection that starts with getting flush. He had one momentary feeling of flushness, but it passed as quickly as it came.

And now he’s doing what he always does… still hiking, biking and doing yoga with two weeks to go until his next treatment.

I’ll be posting updates on his treatment throughout the next few months and documenting his experience through photography. Feel free to post comments or shoot me an email at any time.

About LaurenH


  1. Dearest lauren, It’s your cousin in CA…we met a few years ago. I wanted to let you know that Gary called to keep us in the loop on Jerry when he was first diagnosed. He’s been on my personal prayer list with many folks holding the highest and best possible outcome for him daily….We hope he feels the love all around him. Alan and I will be coming out the end of October until Nov 4th to see you all. If there is ANYTHING we can do, including you calling me for support, please let us know…or just call! My dad also had cancer and I dropped everything and returned to LA to be with him on that journey….so i can understand at least part of what you’re feeling emotionally and going through physically… was a huge growth experience for us. Gary mentioned you doing a benefit….if it’s in that time frame, I’d be happy to do music for it. Lauren, he’s so blessed to have such a wonderful and loving daughter. You’re in my heart. Love, Karie

  2. Joni Hillery Heitz says:

    Hi Lauren, Thank you for this blog…I found out about Jerry from Jana Lee on Face book. I’m another cousin…my dad, Gordy, was your grandfather, Jean Hillery’s brother. Dad too, had CLL – a form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after having prostate cancer. In July of 2010, dad and mom moved in with my husband and I here in TN so we could care for them. Dad was a very positive person and woke up happy everyday! I’m sure your dad remembers Uncle Gordy. He passed in Feb. 2012 at the age of 80. Please tell Jerry “hi” from us and that we will keep him and all of you in our prayers! Cousin Karie & her hubby, Alan, are awesome and have helped me so much!!! Love, Joni

  3. Lauren says:

    Thank you Joni and Karie for you love and support. I know it means to world to him. We are all so grateful to have such a wonderful and caring family.

  4. Diane Matthews says:

    Sending positive thoughts to your dad. He is truly a fighter and a strong man. He will get through this!

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