Sam Kliman has an attitude…and it was an important part of his cancer journey.
Ten years ago the Regina resident was in his early 30’s and enjoying life; golfing, staying fit, hanging out with friends and loving his job.
It was during a visit with a massage therapist who noticed an unusual lump on his neck. The self-described “typical male” initially played it off as nothing, but prodding from loved-ones forced him to get it checked.
A biopsy would reveal Stage Two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
When the news came, Sam wasn’t surprised. In talking to his doctor and his own research he prepared himself for the news. When it was finally confirmed he didn’t wallow or wonder “why me”…he did the exact opposite.
“Knowing that my cancer was highly curable, I was looking forward to getting down to the business of treatment. I think the doctors may have thought I was a little bit crazy because I was like, yep, I know what this is, let’s get this going,” Sam says.
Sam’s positive outlook was reinforced from the outset. At the time he entered treatment, which included chemotherapy and radiation, a capacity issue put his case through the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency’s (Agency) pediatric unit. That put his own situation in perspective.
“I was watching kids go through way tougher battles than I was going through. It was definitely inspirational. It recharged my batteries a number of times going through treatment,” he describes.
In addition to his positive attitude, Sam says he tried to maintain as much normalcy as possible. It was as much for his benefit as it was for his family and friends.
“I think people can sometimes view someone who has cancer with worry and pity. I didn’t want to be seen that way or be the cause of worry for my friends and family.”
Ten years have passed since Sam’s diagnosis. He says life is good.
When he stops and thinks about what he went through he’s very appreciative of the work the Agency staff do each and every day.
“Their bedside manner is fantastic. Their ability to deal with such a hard subject was inspiring to me,” he says.
Sam’s cancer journey has taught him that the future is uncertain and it’s important to live in the present, loving life. And he’s reminded of that daily. A side effect of his treatment is hypothyroidism, which requires he take a pill daily.
While there are no guarantees in life, Sam says should his health change he’s ready to fight. But that has also reinforced for him the importance of supporting the replacement of the Agency’s two Computed Tomography (CT) Simulators.
“Whatever is going to come, is going to come. But I’m going to be ready, and I know the Agency will be too by people supporting initiatives like replacing this equipment,” says Sam.