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Embracing the Battle: How Army Colonel Doug Thomas Faced His Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Honor, courage, and leadership are a few of the principles that Army Col. Doug Thomas lives by. He puts his kin first, approaches life with a plus position, makes the ruffianly calls, and tries to have fun in the work. These principles served him well during his expansive career in the U.S. Army, helping him achieve incredible achiever during his 21 years of service. He presently serves as the headman of operations for the Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was awarded the Parachutist Badge and the coveted Wolf Belt Buckle. He speaks highly of his friends in the military and is grateful for each of the relationships he ’ randomness formed throughout his career. Thomas believes in ease, much preferring to avoid overcomplicated obstacles that might deter him from achieving success. This is why when Thomas was diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma in May, at the senesce of equitable 45, he chose to return to the basic principles that guided him over the years. “ That was a very eye-opening experience, ” he shared. “ What you thought was authoritative five minutes earlier, didn ’ t necessarily have the same importance. ”
Thomas, an avid runner, began to notice some difficulty breathing during his daily runs in early May. At the clock, he thought he had runner ’ randomness pneumonia. After being admitted to the ER and undergo several tests, his results revealed multiple fishy spots on his left lung. further tests and scans were conducted that confirmed the spots were malignant. “ I knew what malignancy mean, ” he said. “ I ’ m like WTF, right ? No room that ’ s not possible. I ’ thousand healthy, I run seven and a half miles a day. ” As Thomas struggled to process the news of his cancer diagnosis, his doctors ran more tests to determine whether it spread outside of his leave lung. He was left to prepare for one of the most unmanageable conversations he ’ vitamin d have to have with his wife and children. He decided to call his ma inaugural to give her the news. “ I said, I have no theme how to approach this with Tiff, my wife, or my kids. ” Thomas was grateful for his beget ’ south accompaniment throughout the process and reminisced fondly on how much he relied on her. “ I didn ’ triiodothyronine know how to approach it with my ma, but you know, I think we can all relate to moms, ” he shared. “ They ’ re the ones we constantly lean back on. ” curtly after his conversation with his ma, Thomas told his wife and children about his diagnosis .
Before receiving his diagnosis, Thomas wasn ’ triiodothyronine familiar with mesothelioma. apart from noticing the periodic television commercials advertising legal guidance for mesothelioma victims, he hadn ’ t spent much meter thinking about it. Looking back on his experiences in the military, he wishes there was more of a conversation about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the risks associated with it. “ The medical community, I think needs to make sure that they have a adept agreement of what the signs are for this disease, which could be helpful, ” he shared. “ And then, you know, I think the military has to do something in terms of informing the veterans of the risks that are associated with asbestos exposure. ”
Thomas chose to approach his conflict with mesothelioma using the principles that guided him during his many years of serve. He was aggressive and deliberate about his choices for checkup care. After a few changes to his medical team, Thomas became a affected role of Dr. R. Taylor Ripley, the director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Ripley recommended that Thomas undergo a lung-preservation surgery to remove the cancerous tumors from his lung without removing it altogether. By June, Thomas had the surgery. He was reunited with his wife and children during the recovery process.

Throughout his conflict, he relied heavily on his hold net, which kept him encouraged and uplift. “ As I approached this solid cancer matter, I knew that I needed to enlist people that were going to be great supporters and help me through this to make decisions and things like that, ” he said. Support for Thomas came in the imprint of family and friends messaging, calling him, deciding to join support groups on Facebook, and receiving religious guidance from one of his priests from childhood. “ I have a buddy that ’ randomness in the army now that ’ s had cancer three times. ” Thomas reached out to his acquaintance and requested that he become his cancer passenger car, given his experiences with cancer .
As character of his commitment to keeping things simple, Thomas takes his journey one day at a time. Following his free from the hospital after operating room, he had to adjust to having four breast tubes and a reconstruct diaphragm. The colonel, who used to jog seven miles a day, was nowadays adjusting to walking about three and a half miles alternatively. Each day, he remained commit to building his intensity and accomplishing his goal for a full convalescence. Despite a small reverse in July when his doctors confirmed he ’ d developed a minor infection and mild pneumonia, Thomas remained diligent and positive. His latest PET scans reveal no signs of cancer, and all of his chest tubes have been removed.

This month, Thomas will begin the next phase in his multimodal treatment design, which includes radiation sickness therapy. Since his initial diagnosis, Thomas chose to keep his kin and friends informed about his journey using the popular message app, WhatsApp. Although the decision was intended to minimize the extra fuss of having pleonastic individual conversations, he now has access to a series of messages documenting his journey frankincense far. Reflecting on some of the highs and lows of his experience, Thomas acknowledges the harsh world of receiving a cancer diagnosis and trying to figure out what to do next. “ I think that it ’ second actually a manner for me to kind of reflect on what I ’ m grateful for, and what I have done to prepare myself for this travel, ” he shared. “ I ’ ve always believed things happen for a rationality, but as this happened, I think that in truth resonated much more. ” Thomas chose to see his diagnosis as an opportunity preferably than a reverse, which provided him the clearness to keep moving advancing despite the difficulties he faced.

Through his many years of service in the military, Thomas feels he was prepared unexpectedly for the battle he ’ south endured with mesothelioma. During his time as a battalion commanding officer, the six principles that guided him were the same principles that guided him throughout this travel. “ Those six things are what I preached day by day, and I used those to attack this problem, ” he said. “ Everything in my life, whether it ’ s in the military, has been something that I ’ ve gone after with those six tenants in mind. then, it ’ south prepared me in the best way possible. ”
With these principles in mind, Thomas is grateful for what he ’ south learned indeed far, and he ’ south embracing what his following chapter has in storehouse. “ I ’ ve kind of decided that my Army career is over, ” he admitted. “ The Army ’ s gon na continue to take concern of me, but in terms of my ability to continue to serve, that ’ s going to be challenging. ” Thomas keeps a positive attitude as he reflects on all of the capital memories he ’ s had during his career in the military, and the great relationships he ’ s made in the work. He vividly remembers the day he was commissioned into the Army. At that here and now, he raised his right hand and trust to defend the United States ’ constitution against all foreign or domestic enemies. next to his holocene forwarding to the rank of colonel, the mark of an excellent career in military serve, these two memories stand out the most for him. They signify the beginning and the end of an incredible travel, and the promise of what ’ s future .
Thomas encourages everyone facing adversity or those in particular who are facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, to keep a plus attitude and remain brave. For him, it ’ s all about performance, a sentiment good exemplified by his motto, “ execute violently. ”

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