World's first 9-time cancer survivor shares his story

Submitted by Stomper Andrew Kuzyk

This story was submitted via Web contribution form.

Getting diagnosed with cancer can be a frightening affair, but for Stomper Andrew Kuzyk, he has had to hear the dreaded words not once, but a whopping nine times.

Andrew shared his story in an email to Stomp:

"In June of 1970, when I was only eight years old, I had my very first experience with cancer. Little did I know that this was going to be a lifelong relationship.

"I was diagnosed with Basil Cell Carsinoma, and I had to have a surgical excision to remove the cancerous areas.

"For the next nine years, I thought my health was back to normal. However, I started to develop severe pain in my left leg nearly a decade later. I tried to dismiss the pain, but an eventual Computed Tomography scan showed that there was a tumour in the bone of my left leg.

"My doctor reluctantly told me that I might lose my left leg. I never prayed so hard in my entire life to be healed.

"After two major reconstructive surgeries to my left leg and countless rehabilitation sessions and bone graphs, I pulled through. 

"When I was 21 years old, I began experiencing chronic digestive issues and severe abdominal pains. A routine scan of my abdomen uncovered tumours in my gallbladder. 

"I needed severe and invasive surgery, but it left my body weakened in septic shock. Thankfully, I was able to overcome the infection and slowly recover. 

"After being cancer free for the next 13 years, I thought that I was finally free from cancer for good, but during a routine skin examination, doctors found a stage 4 malignant melanoma tumour on my upper back. Another tumour was found in my lower back. 

"I had to have wide excision surgery followed by painful skin grafts on both surgical sites. The treatment was successful, and once again, I managed to triumph over cancer.  

"After beating cancer for the fifth time, I had a newfound approach towards life. I focused on living a healthier lifestyle and working to help other cancer patients. I wanted to start a foundation to help people battling cancer, and also went back to school to study in the hopes of becoming a cancer counsellor. 

"Unfortunately, I had to put my plans on hold when I found out that I had cancer for the sixth time.

"I had just undergone a cardiac stent procedure and as I was recovering, I felt tremendous pain in my right kidney. A kidney scan revealed a large malignant tumour deep in my kidney. 

"The surgeons and oncologist were not optimistic on my chances of survival. Thankfully, the doctors were able to remove the walnut-sized tumour in full and I have adjusted to living with only one kidney.

"Unfortunately, in 2017 I was biopsied three times and all of the biopsies returned as malignant melanoma cancers, requiring multiple surgeries.

"I do not plan on giving up and will continue to fight with the same attitude and faith I have had since I was eight years old."

"My name is Andrew Kuzyk, and I am a 54-year-old nine-time cancer warrior from Atlanta, Georgia.

"I am the world's first, and only nine-time cancer survivor."