A New Chapter

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 0 Flares ×

On May 17th I graduated valedictorian from Curry College with a major in Communication, concentration in film and minor in English. Four years of hard work culminated to this exciting moment. The moment that the “real world” would become real and a new chapter would begin.

However, this new chapter, and my first challenge as a post-grad, would instead begin 11 days prior to graduation, on May 6th when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The news came as a shock, but then I suppose it’s the sort of news that always does. Prior to the diagnosis I was sure the mass I felt must have just been some small, temporary problem – nothing serious. Certainly not the dreaded “C word”.

Six days before graduation I had surgery to remove the testicle, optimistic that this procedure would be the end of it. When questioning the Doctor if there would be any long-term effects of losing a testicle, he replied with, “Nope. That’s why God made two”. Phew! Just over four weeks later I’m pretty much fully recovered, with just some minor soreness and fatigue. I graduated walking tall, feeling proud, fortunate, and even awe-struck by an amazing (and terribly fast) four years.

Unfortunately the surgery was not the end of this chapter though. Dana Farber would be the next stop, where I discovered that the cancer was not contained. Blood tests revealed that there are “tumor markers” present, which indicate that cancer still exists in my body. It means I’ll need the more aggressive treatment of chemotherapy: 5 days per week for 9 weeks. There goes summer! The bottom line though: I am going to be fine. The type of cancer is extremely treatable.

I start treatment tomorrow and during these 9 weeks I am told that I won’t be able to work or do much else. Sun will be bad for me, I’ll lose my hair, feel drained, etc., etc. Fortunately I’ve been long-far behind my movie and book collection! Which also brings me to this blog. I’ve always wanted to start a blog….but never really found the time. Sure, it’s a less than ideal situation, but why not make the best of it?

I hope this blog can serve as a means of updating friends, family, and all my loved ones – all of whom I feel extremely blessed and supported for having in my life. As a communication major (and English minor), I’m pretty sure the blog is just as much for me though. A place where I can share my creativity, thoughts, feelings, and everything else you may or (quite possibly) may not want to read!

Speaking of which, I’m impressed if you’ve made it this far down the entry! I’ll try and be shorter next time, but I can’t make any promises…

I will end with this: I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. That there is some greater power at work in this world. And so, I do not ask “why did this happen to me?” with anger, but instead with curiosity and an openness to learn and grow. This chapter will undoubtedly be one of the most important in my life. I will embrace it. And I’ll do my best to share it.



Author: John Abdulla

Share This Post On


  1. Great entry John, thanks for sharing, and you know we are all behind you! And its so inspiring how positive you are no matter what, that positive attitude and outlook is AWESOME!

  2. Hey John!

    Prof. B. here….I loved your first entry and am flattered you shared your update with me via email. As you know, your friends at Curry College are rooting for you and sending you their very best wishes. I have been praying for you every day and I know many are…..remember my Mom, John, and know you have an advocate in Heaven, praying for you too. She was thrilled when I told her you were excelling in our great Public Speaking course and you had an important message to share with the world. She would ask me every day how you were growing and of course her strong mind and faith would always cut right to point: "Bobby," she would say, "Does John have a message that will reach others and persuade them 'to do something,' as opposed to just reflect on something?" I always answered: "Yes, Mom, John has that compelling kind of message. People 'will do' something with his message." Thus, as you and all the Public Speaking and Advanced Public Speaking students know: "At the end of my speech, what do I want my audience to know, learn, and do?" And, John, remember, you had us all "doing" quite a lot, and your important legacy at Curry and beyond is just beginning….seeds have been tenderly and wisely planted, now fruit will begin to blossom even beyond what we have already seen at Curry. WOW!!!

    And thank you for bringing us all together at your graduation party….we could not stop laughing….I was concerned, when Professor Patty Kean and Professor Larry Hartenian arrived, that they may have thought I had 'lost it' with all the strange names I recalled, but then Patty and Larry couldn't stop laughing either. Recall those names as you 'ponder' this summer: Just three out of the many shared always make me laugh: "Tracy Grabme!" "Barbara Whynot!" and "Beep Bop!" LOL!!!!! (By the way, Dan and his girlfriend couldn't stop laughing either….and then your sister….and everyone….gosh, laughter is contagious!)

    Take good care, John, and in the words of Mother Burns: "Always eat your blueberries, take lots of chicken soup, don't forget your bananas, we all need potassium you know, laugh every day, and don't worry when you can pray."

    You're in my thoughts and prayers, John! 'Till next time!

    Professor Robert Burns
    Curry College
    Communication Dept.

  3. Hey there John. Look! I actually can do some computer work without you, although I'd prefer if you were here walking me through it. Psssst from experience I can tell you any hospital excursions will give you tremendous fodder for future writings on modesty and/or lack of. Hurry back

  4. John,
    You are truly my hero – and in so many ways. Your postive attitude is what I would expect of you. You never dissapoint – perhaps the most unforgettable character in my life?
    Lots of hugs. Love you so much.
    Mary Lou

  5. 6.11

    Hey John,

    So glad you're getting started right away — you'll finish sooner — and grateful that you're sharing your adventures with us through your blog. You know without my telling you that all our good thoughts and warm wishes and extra-good karma are with you every step of the way on this journey.

    Advice from the trenches? Start your hat collection now; take every single medication they suggest, before and after chemo, and when people want to help you … let them!

    Thinking of you every minute today.

    P.S. Keep good notes … I feel a screenplay coming on.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 0 Flares ×