Restarting after a ‘dream’ call


Somebody pinch me.

I feel like I’m dreaming.

More than a month ago, I had a full-body scan done after I took a radiation pill due to thyroid cancer. Both thyroids were removed surgically and my oncologist wanted to make sure nothing lingered.

I had bloodwork done after radiation.

Last Tuesday, my phone rang.

It was the oncologist’s nurse calling to let me know everything appeared in good shape.

In her words, “He’s letting you off the hook for a year.”

I couldn’t believe what I heard.

I’m cancer free!

Tears of joy and relief flowed for a good 10-15 minutes.

I choked back emotions as I shared my good news with friends and family on Facebook. The outpouring of support and well wishes I’ve received the past few days has been overwhelming.

I had a cousin die from leukemia at 11.

My grandfather and two uncles – all on my mom’s side of the family – passed from a rare blood disorder similar to leukemia. I’ve been told it could be inherited.

My brother died from cancer at 47.

You always think “it will never happen to me.”

And that’s what I thought until last August when I learned I had a malignant tumor on my right thyroid.

Thankfully, I have a doctor who prefers aggressive treatment.

He removed the tumor in September.

I had a second surgery in December and took a radiation pill in January. After I had the scan done more than a month ago, I anxiously awaited to learn if anything else lurked in my body.

No call.

No news is good news, right?

Still, I walked on eggshells as doubts constantly clouded my mind.

With a compromised immune system, I had to be careful where I went. Instead of venturing out on days I didn’t have to work, I stayed home in my “safe” zone.

That’s when I realized I had put my life on hold.

I recently ran into a good friend of mine who lives by the motto “Dream Big. Pray Hard. Never Quit.” After we spoke that night, I sent him a message that I’ve “forgotten how to hit the restart button” on my life.

He knows about my past.

“You have been through a lot and many would have given up,” he said. “You haven’t. Keep moving forward.”

I’ve pushed that restart button.

Time to write that next chapter.

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at


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