Hodgkins lymphoma survivor Jon Peters, Jr. was a healthy 37-year-old who had never been sick a day in his life. But when he was diagnosed with cancer, everything changed. Dr. Dan Vongtama with St. Teresa Comprehensive Cancer Center in Stockton helped him get through treatment. View his story below from the Stockton Record.
Cancer survivor wants to raise awareness for other men to get checked
By Lori Gilbert
John Peters Jr.’s first reaction to the words, “You have cancer,” was to crash his father's truck.
Sitting in his father’s truck, having just made a run to Sacramento for Tokay Press, the company for which they both worked, Peters drove the truck into a metal railing in front of the parking spot where he’d stopped in Lodi to take the call.
“They said, ‘are you OK?’ and I said, ‘yes. I have to process it,’” Peters said. “I didn’t process it very well. I thought I was in reverse, but I was in drive. I hit the gas and ran my dad’s truck into a metal railing and bent the bumper.”
He worried the entire trip to the downtown Stockton office about telling his dad he had crashed the truck, but his father was naturally more concerned with the diagnosis.
Peters, by his own account, was a healthy 37-year-old who had never been sick a day in his life, never so much as broken a bone. He was offering moral support to his mother, who was undergoing treatment for a recurrence of breast cancer. His own diagnosis didn’t make sense.
“I’m 37 years old and I have cancer? I can’t believe it,” Peters recalled. “The first thing I thought was, 'Am I gonna make it?'”
His doctor informed him he had Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma, which starts in the white blood cells and is one of the more treatable and curable forms of cancer. He’s sharing his story to spotlight Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, which is in September.
Relieved when he learned his cancer was curable, Peters still was puzzled.
“My first question was, ‘how did I get it. What caused it?’” he remembered. “They couldn’t tell me anything. I never smoked. Most everyone I know smokes and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? I got cancer?’”
Hodgkins lymphoma isn’t “caused” by any specific thing, according to Dr. Dan Vongtama, a radiation oncologist at St. Teresa Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stockton, who oversaw Peters’ three weeks of radiation.
Click here to read the rest of the story on the Stockton Record website.