Roger Kesseler is a man of action. After graduating from Central Michigan University, he worked through the ranks to become the vice president and controller of Dow Chemical Company. Kesseler is happily retired and spends his time in Midland, Michigan and Lake Jackson, Texas. In 2013, a cancer diagnosis forced him to take action once again and led him to MD Anderson.
In September 2013, something just didn’t feel right. I went to a family doctor and she said I had GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). She gave me an antacid, but that didn’t solve it. I went back three more times and they did a CT scan, which showed nothing. I decided to go to the emergency room. The doctor told me there was nothing wrong. I said, 'Doctor, there is something wrong with me. We've got to get to the bottom of this.' A gastroenterologist took three biopsies and a week later called to tell me I had stage I B-cell lymphoma.
I knew I had to get to MD Anderson. Within a week, I was there, meeting Dr. Larry Kwak, who ran tests. He told me that my cancer wasn’t stage I. It was stage IV.
By 11 p.m. that day I had chemotherapy pouring into me, the first of 360 hours of inpatient chemotherapy. Dr. Kwak was positive through the whole process. I never had a feeling that I couldn’t make it. I was positive this was going to get solved.
By April 2014, my tumor was gone. A few weeks later, Dr. Kwak asked if I’d like to take part in a clinical trial with a radioactive drug called Zevalin. I jumped at the chance. Ever since, I’ve been cancer free.
I can’t say enough about how positive the cancer treatment, the care and the level of concern is at MD Anderson. It’s a five-star facility. I’m an action-oriented person. From the beginning, I said ‘Let’s go after it, let’s start the treatment,’ and we did. My advice for those going through this now? Follow your doctor’s orders. Follow their instructions and never lose hope.
Promise invites cancer survivors to share their reflections. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.