Getting Back to ‘Normal’ After Cancer
- Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus made his triumphant return to the live stage after announcing about a month ago that he’s cancer-free.
- Last month, Hoppus declared that he was cancer-free after battling stage 4a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma for most of the year.
- Hoppus came out of his cancer journey with a positive outlook. And it’s no secret that attitude can play a big role in how a person responds to cancer treatment, and their quality of life after, such as getting back to normal.
Watch the trio’s Halloween-eve performance here:
Last month, Hoppus declared that he was cancer-free after battling stage 4a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma for most of the year. “Thank you God and universe and friends and family and everyone who sent support and kindness and love,” he posted to Instagram on Sept. 29. He shared that he still has to get scans every six months, but he feels “so blessed.” “Can I get a W in the chat?” he added.
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Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus’ Cancer Battle
On June 23, Hoppus posted to Twitter a shocking piece of personal news: he had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer for three months prior. “I have cancer,” he wrote. “It sucks and I’m scared, and at the same time I’m blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through this.”
— ϻ𝔞Ⓡ𝔨 𝐇𝑜Ƥ𝐩ย𝓼 (@markhoppus) June 23, 2021
He didn’t immediately say what type of cancer he had, or what stage the disease had reached, but he later confirmed he was diagnosed with stage 4a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. “… which means, as I understand it, it’s entered four parts of my body. I don’t know how exactly they determine the four-part of it, but it’s entered enough parts of my body that I’m stage 4, which I think is the highest it goes. So, I’m stage 4a.”
According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, or DLBCL for short, is the most common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, accounting for about 23% of new cases each year. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that affects B-lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are one type of white blood cell, and B-cells are lymphocytes that make antibodies to fight infections; they are an important part of the lymphatic system, according to the research foundation.
In July, about a month after breaking the news, Hoppus said the chemotherapy appeared to be working, writing: “Scans indicate that the chemo is working! I still have months of treatment ahead, but it’s the best possible news. I’m so grateful and confused and also sick from last week’s chemo. But the poison the doctors pumped into me, and the kind thoughts and wishes of the people around me are destroying this cancer. Just gonna keep fighting…”
During the course of his treatments, Hoppus was very candid about how the chemo was affecting him: “… I felt awful. Terrible, terrible worst I’ve ever felt on the chemo. I felt out of my brain. I felt like the chemo brain was really bad,” he told fans. “I couldn’t get off the couch; I felt out of my own body, just terrible.”
Hoppus admitted that he wasn’t so positive at the onset of his cancer journey — before he shared the news publicly — referring to his cancer battle as a life-or-death moment at one point in a series of tweets. The Blink-182 bassist noted that he “felt like hot garbage” from his chemo, but even then, he vowed to “kick cancer’s ass.” And he did just that.
He later had his chemo port removed and shared a series of images and details on its removal with his fans. What is a chemo port? Dr. Scott Rushing, a gynecologic oncologist with Compass Oncology in Vancouver, Wash., tells SurvivorNet the function of a port. He explains that a port-a-cath is “a device that we implant in the upper chest that allows our nurses, our radiology colleagues to be able to access, intravenous access to be able to draw blood.”
Getting Back to ‘Normal’ After Cancer
Hoppus’ Halloween-eve return to the stage signaled an important moment for him: getting back to normal. But what does that really mean? We’ve all been trying to get “back to normal” since March 2020 when the Covid pandemic began. For cancer survivors, like Hoppus, once they hear those magic words — “no evidence of disease” — getting back to normal can be difficult. And we’re not sure what it means, considering “normal” is different for everyone.
One thing we know for certain is that things are going to change after you’ve had cancer — that’s part of the process. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
After CC Webster was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at 29 years old, she was struck by the overwhelming anxiety she started to feel. “In life after cancer, I experienced an entirely new level of anxiety that I didn’t know existed,” Webster tells SurvivorNet. “Earth-shattering anxiety that makes you sweat, and makes your heart race. I had to learn how to manage myself in that, and how to allow myself to process the trauma that I had just been through.”
Webster says what finally got her back on her feet was facing her anxiety head-on. Eventually, she was able to walk away from her cancer journey with a new outlook on life. Like so many cancer survivors, Hoppus seemingly came out of his cancer journey with a positive outlook, even though he’s admitted there were many times when he struggled, just like Webster.
Having a support system is also extremely important when it comes to getting back to your “normal” after cancer. There are many places cancer warriors can find a support system. Like Hoppus, many choose to share their journey on social media in order to establish a support system.
Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Strong In Therapy Psychology, tells SurvivorNet that whether someone shares this heavy news is their personal preference. “I recommend sharing, I’m a therapist,” Strongin says with a laugh, “but to whom and how many people is up to the person (with cancer).”
But regardless of what you decide — whether you share your struggles on social media, find an intimate support group or just lean on your friends and family — “Everyone should focus on what makes them feel good,” Strongin says.
Contributing: Chris Spargo