My story: “You are cancer free!”

Robin EmbryIt was a mild breezy spring day in 2013. I had just hit a tee shot down the left hand side of #1, which made a fortunate bounce into the fairway, leaving me a short iron from the green. The call I received before hitting that short iron, felt like a very unfortunate bounce into the deep rough, hazard, or maybe even out of bounds. The doctor said, “Mr. Embry, the pathology report confirms you have cancer”.

About a month before, I had developed a very sharp pain in my side. My doctor sent me for a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis of diverticulitis. The diagnosis was confirmed, however, something else was there that concerned the doctor. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy – I was 49. I had many polyps. The most concerning was a large cancerous looking polyp. Before I go any further, I want to say there is nothing like hearing “you have cancer”. However, there is also nothing like hearing “you are cancer free”. I’m blessed!

During 2013 I had several scopes to remove unhealthy tissue – it wasn’t working. The doctors recommended having a procedure to remove the small segment of my colon that had produced the cancerous polyp and continued to produce pre-cancerous polyps. It was scheduled for January. Good, let’s get this behind me. This disease had taken enough of my time and energy. Let’s get this over. With family, work, coaching (I was looking forward to my 15th spring of coaching high school golf) I didn’t have time for cancer! I’m blessed!

The procedure went well, with only a few days in the hospital. After a couple weeks I was feeling much better and went to see my surgeon for my follow up. Another loose shot. The pathology report of the removed segment showed the colon wall contained cancer cells. There was a possibility the cancer had spread. My surgeon recommended I have a colon resection – remove the lower third of my colon and all lymph nodes involved. On March 6 the colon resection was performed successfully. However, I was left with a temporary ileostomy which would be reversed eight weeks later. I was told the basic recovery would take several weeks and a full recovery may take up to a year. After a few days stay in the hospital, I went home looking forward to returning to normal – family, work, & coaching. I’m blessed!

Once again, after a couple of weeks, I went to see my surgeon for my follow up. What a well struck shot! “You are cancer free!” he said. I understand there is the possibility of recurrence, but boy, to hear those words! If you are currently battling any sort of cancer – I pray you hear those words! I was able to work from home and with time began spending more and more time in the office – being with everyone and being useful was good medicine for me. In addition, although limited, I was able to get to the course with the team! To spend time with them, our head pro, and all the staff at the course – it was good medicine as well! With more time, I was back to a full practice & match schedule. I gradually got back where I could play and was even able to participate in a charity scramble with one of my daughters and a couple of family members. It was a great day! Not just because we finished -14 and I was able to make a putt or two and hit a couple of good iron shots; but I was back working, coaching & playing golf! I’m blessed!”

Toward the end of spring I had a procedure to reverse the ileostomy. After a few days stay in the hospital, I was home recovering. Physically, this recovery was more difficult than the colon resection. Yet again, as I was able to spend more time at the office and the course with everyone – it was good medicine for me! As winter approaches, I’m almost back to my old self – maybe even a better self after this journey! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many knowledgeable and compassionate health care professionals and connecting with others fighting and recovering from cancer. I’m blessed with a great wife, Dawn, who stayed by my side every step; loving daughters (Tosha & Carissa), family, & friends who gave me untold encouragement and support! I’m blessed!”

Romans 8:38-39

–Robin Embry, Henryville, Ind.