Better every day - Scott Bingham is Relay For Life honorary chairperson
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:51 AM
Nice seeing you. "It's good to be seen," replied Scott Bingham with a smile. Bingham's positive attitude is something he found important to keep throughout his battle with cancer.
Scott Bingham lives in rural Spring Grove and enjoys traveling with his family. Here he is at Big Sur in California.
"I couldn't control everything that was going on with my health, but I could control my attitude. I wasn't going to let cancer take away my attitude. Focusing on a positive attitude gave me strength to keep going."
Bingham has been chosen to be the 2013 Houston County Relay For Life's honorary chairperson.
In late May 2010, he went into the doctor for indigestion that wasn't going away.
"They took an x-ray and boy did they get excited," remarked Bingham. "I had a tumor about the size of a deflated basketball in my middle abdomen area. It was seminoma, a germ cell tumor.
"This is a very aggressive cancer, therefore they had to do very aggressive treatments because otherwise the cancer would adapt to the drugs and keep growing," he explained.
"I would have chemo for three hours a day for five days in a row and then on the sixth day, I would go to the clinic again to get an injection to help keep my red and white blood cells up so that my counts would stay high enough.
"I would then have two weeks off and then start again. I did 20 rounds of chemo followed by 20 rounds of radiation and several surgeries.
"After that was complete, the tumor was gone, but to ensure all the cancer was gone, I had to have a PET scan. However, I had to wait six months after completing the radiation before that scan could be done; waiting is a hard thing to do."
On April 27, 2011, Bingham was declared cancer free. He is now at six-month checkups of x-rays and blood work.
Even though it has been more than two years since he had chemo, he is still feeling some of the side effects such as nerve damage, but he is back to doing one of his favorite activities - riding his bike, which he tried to do every day for about 45 minutes to an hour mostly on gravel roads.
"Being in good shape when I got cancer helped my body fight the disease," remarked Bingham.
"I had six doctors and one of them admitted to me, after I finished treatment, that he didn't think I'd be back in his office, because he had had people half my age with half the size tumor that I had that hadn't survived. He attributed that to my being in shape."
Wisdom that Bingham has learned throughout his cancer journey?
"Fighting cancer is not something that you do by yourself. I want to encourage anyone that is fighting cancer to not be afraid to ask for help.
"There will be days that you are so sick you don't even realize you need help, but it is OK to ask.
"And for those that want to know how to help - cards, words of encouragement on places like a CaringBridge site, calls or when that person is able to make it out to church or something in the community, a hand on their shoulder that lets them know they're not alone is comforting."
"I couldn't have gotten through it without the community and my faith. The community was excellent, and I knew we had support. I may not have always been able to react to their kindness because I wasn't feeling well enough, but I was always very thankful."
Scott lives with his wife, Karen, in rural Spring Grove. They have two daughters, Whitney who lives in Seattle, Wash., and Anna who lives in Lanesboro.
Relay for Life is next week
Bingham will be a part of the 2013 Houston County Relay For Life Opening Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2, at the Fest Building in Spring Grove.
The program will also include music followed by the Survivors Lap around the track and then the Caregivers Lap with everyone else joining in after that.
The Relay For Life will run all night Friday until early Saturday morning. The public is invited to all of the festivities.