A little about you
Name: Adam Van Hove
City: Norfolk County (between Delhi and Simcoe)
What was/is your diagnosis? Burkett’s Lymphoma
What year was it? What was your age at the time? August 25, 2016 at age 26
What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
Beating cancer. It hasn’t come back yet, and to get back to work full time again.
I am proud to get past the big mountain of getting over that and going back out into the world and doing more cancer related things to help people.
What is a top item on your life to do list?
Do some travelling.
Spend more time with my son.
What are your hobbies?
Woodworking, snowmobiling, quadding, fishing, camping.
What was your life like before your diagnosis?
Busy; I had full-time job and hobbies with a wife and son.
How did you find out you were sick? What led to your diagnosis?
I found out in a surgery that what we thought was my appendix was a tumour that had wrapped itself around my appendix and caused it to leak, so they had to do a right hemicolectomy.
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
I am going to be off of work more than the two weeks I told my boss. My wife is going to be really upset.
In which hospital(s) are/were you treated?
Woodstock for initial surgery for appendix/ tumor finding/ right hemicolectomy.
London Science Centre for treatment and more surgeries.
What did your treatment consist of?
I was treated with chemo, and they were going to do radiation to but held off just in case it came back. I had a few surgeries to fix the other issues with my stomach because the stomach surgery didn’t heal properly because of the chemo.
What is your current medical status?
After the few surgeries and a lot of chemo all in hospital, I am cancer free so far.
Life after cancer
How is life different for you now post diagnosis?
Besides having chronic sinus infections. life is back to being almost normal with some limitations, and I have slowed down a lot. I fell in the hospital while on chemo and hurt my back, so that bothers me sometimes. My neck and should go numb a lot, so I can only do so much until that is fixed. Also, if I eat something my stomach does not like, it lets me know because of all the scar tissue.
I separated with my wife in April 2019 and found a wonderful girlfriend who accepts my limitations that I have. Also, since my son has grown up with me having these limitations, he is kind of understanding that I can and cannot do certain things he would like to do.
What is/was the toughest part about having cancer as a young adult?
The physical and emotional abuse that your body takes during treatments, especially the afterwards during recovery.
What really helped/helps you to keep going while you were/are sick?
Family and close friends. Also listening to music when upset.
What kept you/keeps you busy during treatment?
Family and playing cards games while in the hospital, watching TV on my iPad, and listening to music.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer Canada? How did it happen?
I went on a cancer retreat with Tip of the Toes Foundation and met a few people that were part of YACC.
Did/Do you feel isolated from your peers since your diagnosis? If so, how did/does that affect you?
I found it that they still have fast-paced lives and I can’t keep up to it, but they understand and I just do what I can to keep going.
Did anyone talk to you about fertility options before treatment? If so, how did that affect your decisions? If not, what do you wish you had known?
The doctors did and we froze some samples, but at the end of the day, we decided to not have any more kids after all.
Has your cancer diagnosis affected any of the relationships in your life? If so, how, and how are you managing them?
Having cancer and the aftereffects really put an emotional and physical strain on my family and friends, but we got through it together.
Since separating with my wife, I believe it was due to part of my cancer and recovery process.
If you have children, how has your diagnosis affected the way you parent? Do you have any tips for other parents on talking to their children?
My son was really young (one year old) at the time, so it was hard for me to be away from him for so long (five months). It was hard to come back and try to learn how my wife was parenting him.
Me and my son are doing great.
How has your cancer experience affected your body image, and your relationship to your body?
With having so many scars and other issues with my body, I just look at them like people look at trophies and say to myself that I did a big journey that took some sacrifices, but at the end of the day, I won.
What are some lifestyle changes you’ve made since your diagnosis?
Slowed down and try to enjoy the moments in life again.
Resources and recommendations
What would you add to a treatment-day playlist?
A lot of adrenaline-pumping music or slow, calming music.
Have you participated in any other retreats, conferences, programs, or support groups you’d like your cancer peers to know about?
Went on Tip of the Toes canoe trip Retreat.
Went on Tip of the Toes Snowshoe trip in Quebec mountains.
Went to YACC’s Survivor Conference 2019.
Went to YACC’s Retreat Yourself Adventure 2019.
Stay in touch
What would you like to say to other young adults dealing with cancer who are reading this profile?
Stay strong and hold your head up high; you can do it. It will be challenging at times, but stay focused and positive to beat it.
Are you interested in helping others facing cancer challenges? If so please let us know how you can be contacted.
[If you are interested in getting in touch with Adam, email [email protected] and we’ll forward a message for you.]
Facebook: Adam Van Hove