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MASON CITY, Iowa – “I was kind of one of those people, I was stuck thinking, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Well, then I didn’t have tomorrow.”
Tracy Ingham’s life forever changed when doctors diagnosed him with stage IV lymphoma in 2010.
Doctors described his condition as serious, so serious they told him if chemo didn’t work, he wouldn’t live much longer.
“He pretty much said, “If this doesn’t work you have 2 weeks to live.” Instantly you start to think of all the things you’ve never done,” describes Ingham.
But with such a short amount of time and being as sick as Tracy was, he did the one thing he knew he could.
“You grab your kids, and wife or husband and you hold them close as you can and hope you get longer than two weeks.”
After learning his diagnosis he started chemo the very next day. Tracy endured one excruciating treatment after another.
“It’s terrible, you could literally watch my veins turn red as they were putting it in, it just sets you on fire.”
Tracy’s daughter Trista was just 10 years old when her Dad learned about his devastating diagnosis. Although she couldn’t understand much of what was happening at the time, she sees the big picture now.
“Just to think that he could have missed everything,” she says.
After the first round of treatment, the chemo sent the lymphoma into remission.
But Tracy continued with the therapy every three weeks and the scars left by his time spent in treatment are more than just physical.
“For me in my head, I’ve always got this fear, that one of these days I’m going to go for a check up and they’re going to go “oh God, it’s back,” he says.
Everyday Tracy lives his life in the moment and doesn’t plan too far ahead.
He spends as much quality time with his kids as he can and looks at aging with a set of new eyes.
“I turn 48 in a few weeks and every body is always “Oh god, I’m turning this.” I’m thrilled to be turning 48! I look at it now like, I made it!”
This husband and father of two, believes this experience truly changed him for the better.
“It’s just been an incredible ride, not all good, but the last 2 and a half years, I don’t think I would trade it for anything.”
He shares the lessons he’s learned with everyone he meets.
“You can’t live your life like you have years to plan for it, you can’t. Live your life like you’ve got 2 weeks, if there was something you wanted to do, go d it.”