Personal Story: Jim May Have Cancer, But it Doesn't Have Him
When Jim White, 53, of Shamong, NJ, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins follicular lymphoma in 2004, it took him about three weeks to come to terms with it.
“When I heard the words ‘you have cancer,’ I thought my life was over,” says Jim. “But my doctor told me it wouldn’t change the way I live. And, I told myself that I wouldn’t let it beat me. My saying became: ‘Yes, I have cancer, but cancer does not have me!’”
Non-Hodgkins follicular lymphoma is a cancer that affects lymphocytes—cells that are part of the immune system that help the body fight infections. Follicular lymphoma means that the cancer cells tend to grow in a circular pattern in lymph nodes.
Cancer Couldn't Keep Jim from Living, Working and Hunting
Under the care of Virtua hematologist/oncologist Maurice Cairoli, MD, Jim received numerous rounds of chemotherapy treatments in 2004 and 2013. Jim, who’s the owner of a pest control company, continued to work through his treatments. He notes: “The only days I didn’t work were the days I received chemotherapy or Rituxan (a drug that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells). Even if I wanted to retire, my wife jokes that she won’t let me.”
Jim’s doctor told him not to change his life, so Jim has carried on with his favorite hobby – hunting. He loves taking his dogs hunting for duck and bow hunting for deer. Every October, for the last 20 years, Jim travels to North Dakota for a week of duck hunting. “Even during treatment, I never missed a trip,” he says. He also travels to Illinois each November to deer hunt and, recently, spent a week duck hunting in Argentina.
After his diagnosis, Jim continued doing everything he always did and, maybe, even more. “I never really missed much, and that’s due to the terrific doctors and nurses at Virtua who looked out for me and my quality of life,” explains Jim. “They kept me as healthy as possible.”
Jim adds that his care from day one was, and continues to be, exceptional. “I feel like after 12 years, Virtua is part of my family. I have and always will recommend Virtua doctors and staff. They hold a very special place in my heart.”
Updated January 5, 2017