By Ron Peperoni, Jr.
I just want to give everyone some hope. I was written off for dead by 40 doctors in 11 months. It was finally the 41st doctor to correctly diagnose me. In those 11 months, I had 266 doctor appointments, labs, scans, etc.
And I never gave up. I went from a healthy 31-year-old weighing 170 lbs. to 110 lbs. Just by luck I landed in my wonderful lymphoma doctor’s hands, and he threw the kitchen sink at me. I then had a bone marrow transplant in March 2012. Then I experienced horrible endless GVHD of the skin. I’ve had both hips and both shoulders, and all of my teeth replaced. My eyes don’t make tears, I had shingles, C. Diff. Colitis—the list goes on. It has been a very crazy 10 years.
I never quit and I never gave into this. I just hit the 10-year milestone yesterday. I was recently at my doctor’sappointment when they noticed a spot that lit up on my PET Scan. For now, we are holding tight, waiting on more tests. I share this to let you know that YOU hold the key to this. You control how far you’re willing to go to get to the other side. I could have given up 100 times. It was never in the cards.
I learned when I controlled the mental side, I controlled the physical side. We get one go at this life. The days we waste being upset and stressed only rob us of the days we can make good. It’s not easy by any stretch. But if we are alive, healthy or not, we need to make sure we make those days count. Going in the tank takes no effort. Staying positive and staying the course, even with the unknown takes work. What’s done is done and what hasn’t happened—well– hasn’t happened. So don’t let things that are out of your control take over your will to live.
Take back your life. It’s yours. Cancer moved into your body– you didn’t move into its. Don’t beat yourself up. Use what you have learned to help and inspire others. No sense letting this journey go to waste. Make the best out of the worst and the worst becomes the best. Keep up the hard work. We are the ones who others look up to while they fight whatever it is they fight. We lead by example. And we carry the torch for those who haven’t been blessed to move forward.
Ron Peperoni Jr.
10 year bone marrow transplant survivor
Stage 4 NHL