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Stories from the Road

Resilience Unleashed: Troy Anderson’s Story

As National Cancer Survivors Month comes to a close, Troy reflects on his cancer journey and his unexpected path to BellRinger.

5 min read
Two BellRinger riders posing with their bikes after finishing the ride

In the summer of 2020
, amidst the pandemic, Troy Anderson noticed a disconcerting change in his ability to swallow. Acid-reflux was not a new feeling for him, but this was different. Without much concern, he scheduled an appointment with his doctor to make sure everything was normal, but his initial appointment was delayed due to the overwhelming strain on healthcare systems at the time. Nevertheless, Troy waited a few weeks to be seen, thinking there wasn’t much to it. The results revealed the presence of malignant esophageal cancer. Shocked, shaken, and confused, Troy found himself thrust into a world of fear, uncertainty, and contemplation, especially with his wife eagerly awaiting the arrival of their baby girl just a few months later.

Troy underwent an intricate surgery that aimed at removing a portion of both of his esophagus and his stomach. The weeks spent in the Intensive Care Unit were marked by harrowing hallucinations, the physical challenges of being unable to eat or drink, and an overwhelming emotional toll — the parts of the journey that most don’t like to share with others. Yet, it was within these trying moments that Troy’s strength and determination shined through, propelling him even when the path seemed insurmountable. Slowly but surely, he embarked on the daunting process of relearning how to eat, adapting to the fundamental changes that the surgery had imposed upon his body. But this was just the beginning of Troy’s journey.

After a short period of time in recovery, his doctors shared that he will be heading over to Georgetown Lombardi for post-cancer chemotherapy. Dr. John Marshall informed him that post-surgical chemotherapy was necessary to ensure the complete eradication of the cancer. This revelation was disheartening to Troy, as he was so ready to be done with treatment and his wife was getting closer to her due date. Yet through all of this, Troy summoned his resilience to confront this additional hurdle head-on and began the process of what would soon result in four rounds of chemotherapy. While he was in between rounds two and three of chemo, he became a father on Christmas Eve of 2020 when his wife gave birth to their beautiful baby girl, Hadley.

Following chemo, Georgetown Lombardi’s survivorship program became an integral part of Troy’s post-treatment life. This program provided a dedicated space for him to express his concerns, receive ongoing guidance from an internal medicine physician who understood the unique needs and experiences of cancer survivors, and connect with a supportive community of individuals who had embarked on similar journeys. He also had access to a professional nutritionist that provided much-needed guidance to navigate the eating challenges he encountered post-surgery. Within this environment, Troy found comfort, reassurance, and the knowledge that the physical and emotional challenges he encountered were not isolated, but rather an essential part of the recovery process.

BellRinger rider and cancer survivor smiling in front of Georgetown University Hospital

As he looks back on his journey, Troy is filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the positive outcomes he achieved. The coordination and integration of comprehensive cancer care between his previous surgeon and oncologist at Lombardi set Troy at ease, knowing that his case was diligently managed by a multidisciplinary team of experts. Despite the immense challenges and weight loss he experienced throughout his treatment, Troy has emerged stronger, wiser, and armed with a renewed appreciation for the gift of life. Not to mention, he never lost his ability to make people laugh! His physical transformation with weight loss often sparks curious comments from others about his appearance and what he did to lose the weight, providing him with an opportunity to respond with a touch of humor, “Nope, I just had cancer.” These moments serve as powerful reminders of the battles he has fought, the resilience he has cultivated, and the importance of finding light and joy in the face of adversity.

Troy’s extraordinary journey serves as a reminder of the significance of timely medical intervention, unwavering support from loved ones, and the exceptional care provided by dedicated healthcare professionals. Two and a half years later, Troy is back to work and spends as much time with his wife, daughter, and his dog Ollie. “You dont think when you’re 35 you’re going to get cancer. I might have been days away from the cancer spreading to surrounding organs, which would have made the surgery I had useless. Early detection saved my life, and I urge everyone to seek help if they think something is wrong,” Troy shared. He goes through routine checks throughout the year, such as CT’s and blood tests, but everything has shown clean results that lead him and his to believe that his cancer will not be returning.

Troy’s journey with BellRinger began with a fortunate coincidence. He learned about the Ride and its mission from both his doctor and his colleagues at Deloitte. BellRinger provided him with an opportunity to not only connect with other survivors at work but to also raise funds for a cause and a place that directly impacted him. But what’s one of his favorite things about BellRinger you might ask? The unforgettable feeling of riding his bike down a closed Canal Road. In BellRinger 2022, Troy rode 50 miles as a member of Team Deloitte and raised $5,000 as a Royal Ringer. The BellRinger team extends our utmost gratitude to Troy for not only sharing his story, but for showing that cancer is no match to people dedicated to its demise. This October, Troy will be back for year two taking on the 50-mile route in BellRinger with Team Deloitte.

June 23, 2023

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