That nasty thing we call cancer

Posted: 22nd June 2012 by Aaron Hagen in Uncategorized
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It was always something that affected someone else.

It wasn’t something I thought about. Or even knew much about.

That is, until about a year ago.

All of a sudden, it was something that affected me.

It was something I couldn’t get out of my thoughts.

I was at the Daily Globe office one afternoon when I got the call.

My father had gone in for a regular colonoscopy . It was just a routine check-up. But what followed was far from routine.

The first call I received was that they had found something on his colon, but they weren’t sure what it was.

The next call was to tell me he was going in for surgery to remove the mass.

At that point, I didn’t fully understand what was going on.

I told my parents I would come home.

I arrived at my parent’s house the night before his surgery. It was then they told me what was going on.


This was my father. My dad.

It wasn’t something you read about. It wasn’t something you hear about.

All of a sudden, cancer became very, very real for me and my family.

We woke up the next day and he went into surgery. It was the longest few hours of my life.

I remember the TV was on in the waiting room. It was some sort of talk show. I don’t know if either my mom or myself sat still for too long. We went and got someĀ  breakfast, but things just weren’t the same.

A couple hours later, he was out of surgery.

I thank God every day that things went well.

He spent a few days in the hospital, and I was able to stay with him for a few days.

It was state wrestling that week, so I left to go to St. Paul after a couple days.

What followed after his surgery was recovery time at home.

Before long he was back to work.

But his battle with cancer wasn’t over.

He started chemotherapy and had round after round of poison flushed through his body.

I went and sat with him a couple of times at the hospital in Mason City. He was confined to a chair for hours at a time.

I’m happy to say his latest scans have looked really good and he is doing really well.

But he was one of the lucky ones.

Tonight is the Nobles County Relay for Life event at the fairgrounds.

It’s a chance to celebrate life, remember loved ones and help raise money and awareness for that nasty thing we call cancer.

I had the opportunity to write a story a few months ago about Heidi Heckenlaible, who is tonight’s featured speaker. She is an amazing lady who has battled leukemia for the past year. Last season, the Minnesota West men’s basketball program, which is coached by her husband Justin, raised money for leukemia research.

Go to tonight’s Relay for Life even and support the fight against cancer.

Go for those you know who have been affected by cancer.

Go for Heidi.

Go for my dad.


  1. Karen H. says:

    Thanks for the lovely words, Aaron. We are thankful for every day that things have turned out so well. Thanks for your support.

  2. gretcheno says:

    My mom had colon cancer too – five years ago. She had a stroke afterwards which totally sucked. She’s cancer-free now, but the stroke side-effects remain. I’m so glad your dad is doing okay!