Cancer Knows No Borders

After 12 years of continued remission, in March of this year when Covid-19 cases began to increase, a biannual checkup and follow-up tests confirmed that my blood cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had returned. The timing was not ideal but I underwent R-Bendamustine chemotherapy. After four months of chemotherapy, I’m grateful to announce that this month’s PET/MRI results showed a complete remission! I still have three more monoclonal antibody cancer treatments to go to increase the odds of another long durable remission. Having said that, my blood cancer form is still incurable so cancer survivorship is personally so important to me.

Binzee and his son

12 years ago, when I was undergoing cancer treatment, I first learned the term “cancer survivor” from the Livestrong Foundation. Having a one-year-old son at the time, when I read those words, I said to myself, “that’s me!”. Since my initial diagnosis at 35 years old, I’ve made a promise to myself to do whatever I can to survive at least another 35 years to 70 years old. Livestrong’s manifesto “Knowledge is power. Unity is strength. Attitude is everything.” has
helped guide me all these years as a cancer survivor towards that goal. From getting a second opinion (which I’m glad I did!) to being an advocate and proactively discussing the frequency of follow-up CT scans which could potentially increase the odds of secondary cancer, I make sure to make the most informed decisions possible.

Livestrong has empowered and inspired me to do that for myself and others affected by cancer as a Livestrong Leader/Champion volunteer for the last 10 years. During that time, the support of the Foundation has helped make an “Over Cancer Together” survivorship empowerment forum a successful reality; it has supported Japan Team Oncology Program workshops and patient advocacy training in the earthquake and tsunami-hit Tohoku region.

Binzee on the way to treatment on public transport with extra precautions

One silver lining of this COVID-19 pandemic is that for the first time, I can participate from Tokyo, Japan in the first-ever Livestrong Virtual Challenge from October 12–18, 2020. Livestrong Foundation has been there for me since my diagnosis and throughout my 12 years of cancer survivorship and I’m grateful to give back and raise awareness and funds in support of the Foundation and its initiatives and programs to support cancer survivors like me. I’ve raised over $2000 so far for the Foundation and I hope to reach $3500 in the cancer survivorship spirit of surviving and thriving another 35 years since my initial cancer diagnosis at 35. Hope others can help me reach that goal for Livestrong! Cancer knows no borders! Your support for my efforts and the Livestrong Foundation would be personally appreciated! Stronger together! Livestrong worldwide!

Grateful with hope,

Binzee Gonzalvo

Cancer Knows No Borders was originally published in Livestrong Voices on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.