When my wife, Cathy, called to tell me she had breast cancer, it was a shock. It was in 2006, and I was at a senior tournament in Boston. I went home to California immediately. The hardest part of the news was that Cathy found out on a Friday, so she couldn't see a doctor and get started on treatment until Monday. That was the longest weekend of our lives.
This is an article from the June 8, 2009 issue
It was equally shocking to hear about Amy Mickelson's breast cancer. I don't know the details about Amy's situation, but I can tell her and Phil this about cancer—it will be a life-changing experience.
Cathy's mother and grandmother had breast cancer, so she was careful to get regular examinations. She found a lump two days before her annual mammogram. Cathy had a lumpectomy and eight chemo treatments, one every three weeks, and the whole ordeal lasted a year. One of the hardest things I've ever done was watch those chemicals run out of the IV bag and into Cathy's body.
Amy and Phil will discover that people want to help. Last fall Cathy and two other cancer survivors staged a charity walk in Redlands, where we live. They hoped to raise $50,000. They raised almost $500,000. It was unbelievable.
Golfwise, this will be tougher for Phil than it was for me—he's in the prime of his career, his late 30s. But Phil will learn, as I did, that when your wife has cancer, you appreciate everything more. I'm sure golf won't mean as much to Phil, maybe ever again. Bumps in the road of life are nothing compared with squaring off against cancer.
To me, the trick is knowing you're going to lick it. That's the only way to look at it. You know the schedule, how long it will take and the number of treatments, so you must stay positive and stay together. It takes a team effort, and that's a great thing for Amy—she has Phil and the kids and both of their families to help. When Cathy lost her hair, I buzzed mine in solidarity.
The public support Amy and Phil will experience in the coming months will be overwhelming. We received so many calls and cards, some from complete strangers. Cathy called a few of them back because their messages were so heartwarming. For Amy and Phil there will probably be an even larger outpouring.
Cathy and I send our prayers and our most heartfelt wishes. Our arms are around Amy and Phil and their whole family right now.
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