living well
Daily Tip

Document your worries and anxiety on paper in the daytime. This way come night time, you will be less worried and you will be able to fall asleep easier.

My Daughter’s Shocking Diagnosis

maressa williams living well with MontelBy now I am sure most of you have heard the shocking news about my daughter, Maressa. About two weeks ago, she was officially diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

For me, this has been one of strangest and most difficult things I have had to go through. I travel the country as a health advocate and talking to people who are ill and injured, yet nothing could have prepared me for this.
Let me fill you in on what happened and where we stand now.

For those of you that don’t know, I have four children: Ashley, Maressa, Montel and Wyntergrace. Maressa is 24-years-old and is a very talented young lady. Starting when she was a little kid she used to play little nurse games and two years ago, she decided to pursue this passion and go to nursing school. Just this past summer, she transferred to a major University, where she could finish her studies and earn her degree. The day she got the acceptance notice to this program was the day that she found out that there was something going on that wasn’t a result from a minor injury.

Maressa had been experiencing some health symptoms, but we thought they were from an incident over Labor Day weekend. Like a lot of kids, she was out with her friends, being a typical 24-year-old. They were out partying and at the end of the evening one of her friends in a joking way picked her up. While they were running across the parking lot, he tripped and fell and she slammed her back on the ground. She thought that she had whiplash and so she went to see her chiropractor. When a few adjustments didn’t help, she was sent for some X-rays then a CAT scan, which showed a large spot.

She was in the doctor’s office getting the results of the CAT scan when she had the doctor call me. He started saying,  “I found a mass.” But I couldn’t process what he was trying to tell me; I thought he was referring to her discs. Then he went on to say that when they see stuff like this, they think lymphoma, so they really wanted to do more tests right away.  I lost it at that point.

I immediately switched from Dad mode to advocate mode. Advocate mode sent me immediately reaching out to friends of mine who are extremely well positioned in the medical field. I am sure any parent can relate to this willingness to do anything to get the best for your child.

The other thing I did was turn to the Internet. We all know the web is one of the best things in the world, but it can also be one of the worst because you can’t hide from the information.

I learned quickly that Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is 90% curable. But that also means that 10% of people who have this do pass away. That for me, as a Dad, is very tough to swallow.

Right away, upon receiving the diagnosis, Maressa said she wanted to share her story. When she went for further testing people in the building saw where we were going. They knew what it meant when we turned down the hallway leading to the cancer ward. No doubt, with my health history, people were starting to think I had cancer.

Knowing my role and how open I have been in discussing my illness, we knew someone was going to write about this. So Maressa decided she wanted to take the power into her own hands and openly announce her illness. I immediately called my good friend Mehmet Oz – or Dr. Oz – and asked if she could announce it on his show, which aired on Monday.

Words cannot describe how proud I was to sit next to her on that stage.  It has been remarkable watching the way she is handling this – it reinforces my belief that she is going to be ok. It’s going to be tough but she’s going to get through this and be even stronger.

I cannot thank you – my fans and supporters – enough for your continued support, well wishes and encouragement for my daughter’s healing. Your words, thoughts and prayers mean more to us than you know.
They have also touched and encouraged Maressa to continue to share her journey. So I have given her her own space and blog here on the website, where she says she will be writing about the good, the bad and the ugly along the way.

And while she shares her perspective, I am going to also share mine. I will open up about everything from the emotional toll, what exactly I am doing to cope with all of this and how we feel our way this through these next few months, all in real time. I know there are countless people out there who are going through what I am going through, whether it is someone watching a loved one go through this battle, parents going through similar situations with their children, and even children going through this with a parent. I hope by sharing our family’s story, it will in some way help others.
 
Posted: 11/05/2013 with 5 comments


Comments
sally64
Hello, Montel.

I just watched the Home and Family show and listened to you talk about your daughter's diagnosis.

I want you to know that I am a cancer survivor and I had what your daughter has right now--Hodgkin's Lymphoma/Disease. I had it in 1998 and went through similar to what Maressa has been going through now. Drs told me the survival rate in this case is 95 percent and 5 percent is a very small chance for this kind of cancer to come back. Still, praise the Lord.

I blogged your daughter and told her she's in my prayers. She is very beautiful and has positive attitudes despite her ordeal.

Give all of the worries, stress, anxiety, etc. to God and let him take care of them. Maressa is in good hands. :-)

I pray that once Maressa's chemo is over, she'll receive the best news that her cancer is gone just like I did!

Happy holidays and wish 2014 brings you and your family lots of happiness and blessings.

Sally
12/5/2013 1:38:35 PM

briggs925
I am so sorry! My prayers are with you and your daughter.
11/12/2013 4:53:43 PM

DemetriusCornell
I would like to extend my admiration for your strength and courage as a father; I do not know how I would handle the same situation if I was in your shoes. I do know that Maressa is so blessed that you are her dad and that you would go above and beyond for your babygirl. I have two daughters myself and their ages are 11 and 7 respectively and they are my world; just as your children are yours. I would like to thank you and Maressa for allowing us to walk with her on this journey to battle this debilitating form of cancer. I will keep your family in our prayers and if there is anything that you request of us...don't hesitate to ask!!!
I salute you Maressa...you are a very strong woman with an even stronger family base...YOU WILL WIN THIS FIGHT!!!!! God Bless
11/10/2013 11:23:34 AM

Samantha A
Mr. Williams,

I am SO sorry to hear of Maressa's condition. I've had the pleasure of being her friend for about 3 years now and during a very rough time she picked me up, dusted me off, and made me see they are kind and caring people in the world. You are blessed to have one amazing daughter and I feel blessed to know her on a level that most people don't. My thoughts and prayers are with you and her every moment of every day :)
11/6/2013 6:55:33 PM

Fariyal
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. Like her daddy she will be strong and overcome. May god bless you both.
11/6/2013 1:47:39 PM

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