The Times Journal & Russell County News
Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY —
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Living beyond cancer’s woes
In Nov. 12 Issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Reporter

Diagnosed with lung cancer back in August, lifelong Ono resident Bruce Johnson decided not to give in to the disease, instead he's fighting it ... and winning.

"I don't set around and dwell on it," he said. "That is the worst thing you could do."

Johnson, a retired state human resources worker, said with his faith in God, good people praying for him and the excellent work from his doctors, he is able to continue living life in normalcy, despite the round of chemotherapy and radiation treatments he just completed.

Johnson said the physicians at the Commonwealth Cancer Center in Russell Springs and at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital's radiation oncology unit were a pleasure to be under the past few months.

"They go out of the way to make a bad thing a lot better," he said of the doctors. "People tell me I've been lucky, I say I'm past lucky, I've been blessed."

"If I didn't know I had this lung cancer, you'd never know," he said. "I've never lost my appetite, I've never been sick."

Johnson, who farms in Ono, was cutting hay this summer when he noticed he had a cough. The cough lasted several days and prompted him to go the doctor. He said he knew something wasn't right.

After a chest x-ray showed a spot on his right lung it was determined that Johnson should go to Louisville to see a specialist.

"For about a week I was on this roller coaster," he said. After a biopsy and PET scan confirmed the cancerous spot, the doctors met and concluded that the small spot had not yet spread and could probably be taken out in surgery, along with part of the lung.

But then another problem arose. The spot was located too close to the aorta, which would ultimately prevent surgery. Radiation and chemo was determined by the doctors to be the best way to treat the cancer.

"I've done 34 radiation treatments since then," he said. "About the middle of (treatment) they did a scan and said it had shrunk about half."

His last treatment was this past Monday.

"Now we wait five weeks and see how it shapes up and where we go from here," Johnson said.

Until then, Johnson will continue farming and working around the house, doing things that will keep him active and his mind off his cancer.

"There are days you don't feel as good but I don't worry about it," he said. "I'm going to do what the doctors tell me to do and trust the man upstairs."

He said friends and family have flooded him with cards, letters and telephone calls in recent months.

"You don't realize how much people care until something happens," he said. "I don't worry about (my cancer) though. I go one day at a time."

Johnson said he believes there is a purpose for everything.

"I don't know what the answer will be," he said. "We don't have any promise we're going to be here tomorrow anyway."

Johnson looks at his situation in a simplistic manner and one that helps him through each day.

"I've got lung cancer," he said. "I'm not the first and I'm not going to be the last."

His church family continues to be there for him, offering assistance if needed.

"I go to an old fashioned church, Square Oak Baptist," he said.

Johnson, an on-and-off smoker, also had open heart surgery in 2002, yet another trial he has overcome in his 62 years of life. His sister, Brenda Roy, and his special friend, Daphne Blevins, continue to be at his side, day in and day out, as he battles on.

He also had a sister pass away four years ago from cancer and attended local American Cancer Society Relay For Life memorial events then, but never as a cancer survivor himself.

"I'm not real active in it, but I'll probably get more active in it now," he said. "I'm on a lot of prayer lists and there is something to (the power of prayer)."

As Johnson's progress and attitude shows, he's right.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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