Teacher Battling Cancer Celebrates End Of Treatments
Posted April 11, 2002 6:56 a.m. EDT
NASH COUNTY, N.C. — Mike Lancaster, a husband and father, has a form of lymphoma that was diagnosed after doctors found a tumor on his tonsils.
The popular band director at Southern Nash High School and his wife, Pam, invited WRAL to follow them through their battle with cancer.
After chemotherapy every week for two months and 38 rounds of radiation, Lancaster and his family have reason to celebrate. The treatments are over.
"I don't have to come back up here and get on that table," Lancaster said.
The treatments to save his life have taken a toll. Lancaster has lost 22 pounds. He has been too sick to eat, too exhausted to work and too tired to leave the house.
The cancer has also been eye-opening. While it has weakened his body, it has strengthened his marriage.
"I thought we were close. Now we're real close," Lancaster said.
It has also strengthened the family's faith.
"There's been time prayers have been answered instantly," he said.
The kindness and generosity of family, friends and strangers has made a tremendous difference, too.
"He said 'If you don't enough time built up, you can have some of my sick days,'" Pam Lancaster said of a coach who offered up his sick time.
Pam's co-workers pitched in more than $200 for a family night out.
A music teacher and band director at Southern Nash High School, Lancaster picked Frank Sinatra to serenade him during his final radiation treatment last Thursday. His thumb taps to the beat while his family anxiously waits outside the lead door.
At this point, doctors do not know if the cancer is gone, but Lancaster is sure that it is.
"We're through. This is it. It's taken care of," he said.
Pam is more cautious.
"Everybody seems so optimistic and I'm optimistic, too," she said. "I'm not trying to be negative, but I still have that twinge of fear of what if it's really not all gone?"
The family should learn for sure in four weeks when Lancaster has a CT scan. If the cancer is not gone, surgery is his Lancaster's last option. For now, the family is not thinking about that.
"It's going to be all right. It's going to have to be all right," Lancaster said.
Over the weekend, Lancaster picked up a virus. He said he is feeling better. As for his throat, it is still raw from the treatments, but is healing.
Doctors told Lancaster that he should be feeling better in another week. WRAL will continue to update Lancaster's progress when he goes in for his tests next month.
In the meantime, anyone wishing to send their well wishes to Mike Lancaster can do so by