James Womack’s life was so rough and tumble that by the time he was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer at age 51, he figured he should have already died several times.
But he has always been a survivor and now, six years and many medical interventions later, he is cancer-free. After being given a five-percent chance of survival, Womack and his medical team overcame those odds with an emergency tracheotomy, 33 rounds of radiation, and six rounds of chemotherapy. That was followed by intensive therapy to relearn how to swallow, eat, and speak, and cognitive therapy to restore concentration and problem-solving skills.
With his therapist, he even planned a new career, opening his own hot dog stand, Sunny Dogs.
Though his journey has been long, Womack and his care providers have been committed to his successful recovery. Midway through, Womack followed the tradition in Radiation Oncology at Community Hospital of ringing a bell mounted on the wall outside the treatment room.
“The day I rang that bell, I was born again,” Womack says. “That’s when I was granted a second life, when I realized I wasn’t going to die.”
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