Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that he has late stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he described as “a very advanced and very aggressive” form of cancer.
Hogan, a Republican who pulled off a huge upset last November beating then Democratic Lt. Governor Andrew Brown, took office in January. “I’m going to face this challenge with the same energy and determination that I’ve relied on to climb every hill and to overcome every obstacle that I’ve faced in my life,” he said.
The average guy persona that helped Hogan win over Maryland voters last year was fully on display, as he spoke plainly and sometimes emotionally at a news conference that felt more like an intimate family meeting. He was open – explaining how he first noticed a lump in his neck while shaving, and then detailing everything he knew thus far about his condition. At times he became choked up or emotional, as did his wife and grown daughters, who stood by him.
The survival rate for non-Hodgkins lymphoma is relatively high. Physician Kevin Cullen, director of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, said about 70 percent of patients with the disease are still alive after five years.
Cullen said most cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma are discovered at stage 3, when the tumors are more pronounced, just as Hogan’s was. Patients rarely require surgery or radiation, because chemotherapy can generally treat the disease without those procedures, Cullen said. He said Hogan is taking the right approach with his plans to work through the treatment period.
“There may be the occasional day when you should cut back on your schedule, but we encourage people to maintain as normal a routine as possible when they’re being treated,” Cullen said. “I think it’s important for people to maintain a positive psychological outlook,” he added. “People who derive pleasure and mental stimulation from working, we encourage them to do it.”
Hogan said he would begin aggressive chemotherapy treatments as soon as possible, and was relying on Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) to fill in for him on state business as needed.
Here’s a video of his statement to the press:
Anyone who can offer up a little humor at such a wrenching moment is a cut above the ordinary:
“There’s a very strong chance of success,” Hogan said. “Not only a strong chance of survival but a strong chance of beating it all together. . . My odds of getting through this and beating this are much, much better than the odds I had of beating Anthony Brown,” Hogan said with a smile, referring to the Democratic former lieutenant governor who he beat last November in one of the biggest upsets of the mid-term elections.
Members of the audience – many of whom had tears in their eyes – burst into laughter.
Shades of Reagan in the aftermath of the attempt on his life; “Honey, I forgot to duck,” and to the doctors about to operate on him, “I hope you’re all Republicans.”
The cancer attacking Hogan doesn’t know what its in for.