Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is a heartbreaking and daunting thing to hear. However, in most cases, one of the most crucial pieces to a complete recovery is catching the cancer early and beginning treatment as soon as possible. Jeremy Sobecki has learned this multiple times, through his own story and those around him.
Sobecki was a runner throughout high school, and went to college on a running scholarship. He had always been healthy and never showed any signs of illness. One day he noticed his lymph nodes by his collar bones were swollen. He then made what ended up being the most important decision in his life. He decided to go to the doctor immediately to get this symptom checked out, even though it didn’t seem serious.
“I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Sobecki said. “The tumors took up a third of the width of my chest cavity and had spread along my collarbone.”
Hearing this diagnosis was obviously a very hard and shocking occurrence, especially for someone so young and overall healthy like Sobecki.
“Initially, it was hard right as I heard it,” Sobecki said, “but I was young and in shape and healthy, and I told my wife that I'd rather I be getting this diagnosis than somebody who I love who wasn’t as healthy as me and maybe couldn’t get through it.”
Sobecki had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments to get rid of the tumors. These treatments are known to be draining and harsh, but he handled them well.
“I got through it pretty well,” Sobecki said. “I was young and healthy, and it hadn’t spread too far since I caught it early.”
Throughout this whole process, his biggest supporter was his wife. They had only gotten married a few years before, and she was there for him through the entirety of this difficult journey.
“We wanted to have kids, but the doctor told us we may not be able to have children after this treatment,” Sobecki said. “Our daughter ended up being from in vitro fertilization (IVF). Then, to our surprise, we ended up being able to have our son later on.”
Though Sobecki had a rough time going through his diagnosis and treatments, he came out of it even stronger than before, with more hope for his future now that he knows he is capable of getting through something like this. The most important piece of advice Sobecki gives to everyone he can is to go to your annual doctor check-ups, even if you feel completely healthy.
“A lot of people don't do their annual checkups with their doctor,” Sobecki said. “If something doesn't seem right, go get checked. I know a lot of people don't want to go see doctors–they think they're gonna find something wrong with them--but if they wouldn't have found this, I'm sure I wouldn't be here today.”
Sobecki is not the only one in his family who has struggled with cancer. His mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, and his father just recently passed away from brain cancer. This gives him even more reason to stress the importance of early detection.
“Early detection is the biggest thing. People tell you this again and again, but I can tell you from experience that early detection is key. The word cancer is not always as bad as it would seem if you catch it early on for certain cancers,” Sobecki said. “My dad’s was a terminal cancer from the start; no matter how early we caught that, I think it would have been terminal. The question is, how long could he have lived?”
Sobecki was faced with many challenges throughout this whole process and throughout his life. He managed to fight through it and now lives happily with his loving wife, Jennifer, and his two kids, Brayden and Brenna.