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Zapping Away The Last Traces of Alex’s Cancer At The James

Zapping Away The Last Traces of Alex’s Cancer At The James

This is Chapter 16 in the on-going story of Pelotonia rider Alex Kip, 23, and his battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Type B) cancer – which is now in remission.

It was over in a couple of minutes. A nurse removed the piece of tape holding Alex’s head in place, he got dressed and walked out of the radiation room at The James. His sixth round of radiation was over; 12 more to go.

Alex walks into the radiation room, past this sign and...

“I don’t feel a thing, nothing at all,” Alex said of the beams of radiation, which are killing the last few traces of the once-large tumor in his chest.

As he walked out, a small child, only a year or two old, was wheeled in on a stretcher. The little boy didn’t look well at all – and was sedated to make sure he would remain still during his radiation treatment.

“He was so small,” Alex said later, still troubled by the sight – and worried about the little boy. While anyone and everyone can empathize with this sight, there seems to be an even stronger bond between cancer patients, even those who have never met.

It’s at times like these that Alex grows a bit reflective, and tussles with bouts of survivor’s guilt. “You feel survivor’s guilt,” he said, “but at the same time you feel so much happiness for those finishing their treatments.  For example, every time someone finishes radiation, they ring a bell three times – and everyone claps.  That happened today – and I started crying out of joy for that person.”

Battling cancer is all Alex has known the past year, through all the doctor’s appointments, the scans, the nausea-inducing chemo treatments, his stem cell transplant, all the poking and prodding by countless doctors, and through all the bad news, followed by worse news, finally followed by the incredible, great news that his stem cell transplant had worked.

...technicians line everything up with the help of this green beam, which aligns itself with the markers on his chest and side and then...

“It’s like it’s been my full-time job – and I just got fired,” Alex said. “In another two weeks, I just stop coming here and I don’t have any appointments or anything for about three months. That’s weird. It’s not like I’m going to miss it – no way. It’s just weird.”

What’s next is the big question for Alex, whose life has been on hold.

Alex is still waiting to see if his paralyzed vocal chord will recover and he will regain his signing voice. If so, it’s off to Broadway to begin to audition for shows. If not? Well, that’s the big unknown.

Either way, Alex seems to have matured and grown stronger through his ordeal – and will be able to handle anything.

“I have picked up my personal trainer’s book again and started studying,” said Alex, who plans to take the certification test. He’s also helping to direct the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie at his alma mater, Lincoln High in Gahanna, and he’s working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. And of course, he’s going to start training for Pelotonia, and promises to form a peloton – soon.

...the radiation begins - this is the view on the monitors just outside the room

I added the word “soon” as an inducement to Alex, who, shall we say, has been procrastinating a bit when it comes to forming a peloton. Sorry, brother!

Oh, and his hair is finally coming back.

“I’m just glad it’s not coming back blonde, like it did the last time,” said Alex, whose hair has always been dark brown. “It wasn’t bleach blonde or anything, it was a kind of blondish-brown and was all wiry and just wasn’t my hair. I hated it.”

Alex initially hated the bald look, but it grew on him and came to be a symbol for what he was going through. Now that his hair is growing back, bald is not an option. A little wisp of a mustache has also made an appearance.

“It’s not that marketable for me, as an actor, to be bald” he said. “Plus, its kind of a sign that you’re sick, a reminder.”

Click here to read Chapter 15 of Alex’s story.

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