In the fall of 2012, Greg Stodola and his wife, Millaine, were newlyweds starting a new journey together. They were getting settled in their newly re-modeled home on the family farm where Greg played a prominent role as a dairy and custom farmer.
It was just before their first Christmas as a married couple, that Greg noticed a lump on his neck. While he didn’t think much of it, his wife gave him the extra push to get it looked at.
“I went to get it looked at and they did a biopsy,” said Greg. “I remember getting the phone call with the results. The lump on my neck had tested positive for Hodgkin lymphoma.”
This led Greg to HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers, where right after Christmas he began chemotherapy which was then followed by radiation. But first, Greg had to absorb what having Hodgkin lymphoma meant.
“My initial reaction was shock. I’m a healthy person. I felt like I took care of my body for the most part,” recalls Greg. “I didn’t know where the journey was going, but I knew I was too young to just give up. I had a lot of life to live.”
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that is a part of the immune system called the lymph system. The earlier it is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment can be. For Greg, he learned everything he needed to know from his HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers oncologist.
“I didn’t need to research it a lot because I trusted my doctor,” said Greg. “It was very comforting just to know that he wasn’t going to lie to me or hide something. He was going to tell me what it was and do what we were going to do, to fix everything. I walked out of there every day feeling great. There were sad times, but there was that comfort of knowing you were in his hands and he was going to take care of you.”
Greg not only had complete trust in his physician, they also shared a common bond.
“He actually grew up farming, so whenever I went in for an appointment he could really understand what I was trying to get done while going through treatment. He could relate really well, and it was amazing,” said Greg. “I felt like I was being treated like a friend or family member and not just a patient.”
Greg went through four treatments of chemotherapy and then had radiation for two weeks, five days a week.
Today, Greg is cancer-free and continues yearly visits to HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers to monitor his progress. Greg and Millaine continue on the joyous journey they embarked upon as newlyweds in 2012. In 2016, their journey led them to the greatest joy of all with the birth of their son, Abraham.