Michael Davis is the presiding judge for the city of Conroe. A cancer survivor of 50 years and counting, Davis says he's blessed to be able to live an active lifestyle and share his story.
In 1945, Charles Davis returned from WWII after suffering two gunshot wounds. He married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Carr, and in 1946 they had a healthy baby boy. That would be me, Michael Len Davis.
When I was 2 weeks old, my grandfather noticed I was having difficulty breathing. I was soon diagnosed with an enlarged thymus gland. The treatment of choice in those days was to be held up in front of an X-ray machine and zapped. Two treatments, and the gland shrunk.
However, many of my generation who received such treatment developed thyroid cancer, which like mine, was discovered when it spread to the lymph glands in the neck.
It was 1968. The war in Vietnam was in full swing, and I had just graduated from college, plus was newly married. At my military physical examination, I was told to see a head and neck surgeon. Living in Pasadena, Texas, at the time, I was familiar with MD Anderson's reputation. It only took five minutes for them to tell me I had thyroid cancer and required surgery.
That was 50 years ago, and I have been cancer-free since that surgery. I've been blessed to lead an active lifestyle with no restrictions. I like to share this thought when I encounter a cancer survivor: 'Once you are diagnosed with cancer, it flips a fear switch that can never be reset.' No matter how positive you are, it is always in the back of your mind. Only a cancer patient can relate, but many have told me, 'I thought it was just me!'
I am truly blessed to have been a patient of MD Anderson and will always be grateful for 50 years and counting.
Promise invites cancer survivors to share their reflections. Email email@example.com.