Watson: I’m a lucky man

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thom Watson, a 17-year cancer survivor, is thankful to be alive.

Thom Watson is a lucky man.
The owner of the Sweet Home Alabama Campground on Point A Lake is grateful to be alive after what he thought was a pulled muscle escalated into unbearable pain that made sleeping nearly impossible.
The then 36-year-old Watson put off a trip to the doctor for nearly six months.
“If I would have waited another six months, it would have been worse,” he said. “I did the ‘man thing’ and slept on the other side.”
When he finally saw a doctor, they found a golf ball sized tumor doctors called a germ cell tumor.
Thankfully, Watson said, the tumor was caught early enough it could be removed.
“I did about four weeks of chemo spread over about three months,” he said. “So, far I’ve been cancer free since 1993.”
But that doesn’t mean Watson doesn’t worry about it coming back every time he goes for a check up.
His good fortune and the experience in battling cancer has given Watson a new outlook on life.
“It makes you think about what you want to do in life, you know the things you haven’t got to do yet. You also think about family and you find out who your friends are,” he said. “It makes you thankful for every day you have. You think it’s the end.”
Since Watson’s tumor was detected early enough to save his life, he encourages others to seek out treatment for strange pains.
“My advice to anyone is that if they haven’t ever had the pain, they should go to the doctor if it happens at least twice,” he said. “You’ve heard it over and over again, with cancer the earlier you catch it, the better. It’s too risky to wait and hope it goes away.
Since his defeat of cancer, Watson said he has participated in the survivor walk at several Relay for Life events, and it’s something that he said makes him thankful his battle with cancer wasn’t any worse than it was.
“When you get on the lap, you see what all the others went through. I really didn’t go through the ringer like some people. Some people have to have chemo and surgery. I can’t imagine what it would be like to undergo more than I have,” he said.
“I probably had 100 hours of chemo total,” he said “I had a boss who had to have 1,500 hours of chemo. I didn’t even recognize him when I saw him. It was because of the chemo. It will wear you out. I was lucky.”