The Impact of Cancer
- Conservative TV/radio host Dan Bongino thankfully beat Hodgkin lymphoma earlier this year, but wants to remind his followers that cancer has changed him forever in a good way: Every minute is a gift.
- Bongino notes how the cancer diagnosis initially came as a shock—as it does for many frustrated patients–as he doesn’t smoke, has never done drugs, and doesn’t really drink.
- Bongino has admitted to some low points and dark thoughts but overall has maintained a positive, determined attitude, which matters in a cancer battle, according to a leading expert.
The former secret service agent, who normally sticks to mostly politics on his socials, posted a clip talking about his cancer story.
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Bongino notes how the cancer diagnosis initially came as a shock—as it does for many frustrated patients–as he doesn’t smoke, has never done drugs, and doesn’t really drink. “Well, maybe a little.”
Plus, he’s really fit and works out consistently—before, during, and after cancer.
“I was given the gift by God of finding out that we all have an expiration date,” he said, noting that this is meant to be a positive thing, not pessimism. Once we acknowledge that we have an expiration date like every other living being on the planet, we often start changing our perspective on life. “Every minute of your life is a gift.”
Bongino’s Cancer Diagnosis
Bongino was diagnosed with cancer last year after a fan, who is a nurse, spotted a lump on his neck while watching him on TV.
Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells called lymphocytes, which work with your immune system to protect your body from diseases and infections. The two most common forms are Hodgkin lymphoma, which Bongino received treatment for, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Immediately following the diagnosis, Bongino admitted he broke down sobbing on a plane. He didn’t yet know what type of cancer, what his prognosis was. He thought of his two little girls. He admitted that when he got back home, he saw a mall under construction, and couldn’t help but think that he was never going to see what stores would be going in that mall.
It’s hard to avoid that uncertainty that envelops you after you hear the world “cancer” for the first time. Luckily, it does get easier as the “new normal” sets in.
Although Bongino has been luckier than others by getting out on the other side, he also recalled tough times during chemotherapy in a prior interview with SurvivorNet.
“There are some really poignant moments when you go through cancer,” he said. “The worst part of the chemo for me wasn’t the nausea, I wasn’t nauseous at all. The worst part for me was the darn hiccups, they call them chemo hiccups. It just never stopped.”
Bongino had trouble getting rest for work and was up many nights getting comforted by his wife.
“I would get choked up, because I could not go to sleep because of these damn chemo hiccups,” he said. “My wife—I was like a child—she would be patting my back like she was burping a child and we would be up to two or three in the morning. She would be like, ‘I can’t watch you go through this.’”
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Then he would wake up at 6 the next day and do the show “like nothing happened.”
“You know, I don’t like to tell my audience, because I always said I wouldn’t do a show when I didn’t feel like it, but there were a couple days where I was on the borderline, like ‘I don’t know if I can do this today,’” Bongino admitted. “And I was like, ‘you know what, I’m gonna do it, this isn’t that bad, and I’ll get through it. Toughen up, don’t be a wuss, and get on the air.’”
In fact, that’s how the best-selling author gets through moments of weakness or fear.
“Toughen up, cut the bullshit, the world’s a tough place, stop feeling bad for yourself,” Bongino said of his self-mantras. “Every time I think ‘poor me’ I go into the oncology clinic. I met a lady with stage 4 stomach cancer who had two weeks to live. When you think, ‘Nobody has it worse than me,’ I promise you, I can probably go find 1,000 people who have it worse than you. Self pity? That’s all bullshit. Seriously. Toughen up. I’m not lecturing anyone else, I’m telling you how I get through it.”
Keeping a Positive Attitude Through Cancer
Overall, despite some low moments which we all go through, Bongino has been impressively upbeat throughout his cancer journey—and very real, maintaining a positive, determined attitude. We admire his vulnerability in sharing his diagnosis with the world and showing both strength and emotion as he opens up to listeners about his battle.
Dr. Zuri Murrell told us in a previous interview how much a positive attitude can affect the cancer battle. “My patients who thrive, even with stage 4 cancer, from the time that they, about a month after they’re diagnosed, I kind of am pretty good at seeing who is going to be OK. Now doesn’t that mean I’m good at saying that the cancer won’t grow. But I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patient are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”