Newest survivor dedicated to living healthier
Paul Konrath survived cancer and walked the track with other survivors Friday night at the Elmwood Park/River Grove Relay for Life.
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:24AM
Paul Konrath, 47, of Elmwood Park was one of the cancer survivors present at Elmwood Park/River Grove’s annual Relay for Life event.
In January, Konrath went in for a scan and they found a huge mass on his left kidney. Upon first hearing the news, his mind went blank.
“When the doctor first told me I had this mass, I couldn’t remember what he had said and had to call the doctor again.
“It was a shock because I went in for something completely different,” he said. “But, it’s a good thing they found it. If they had found it a few months later it would’ve been a different discussion. When you’re 47, you don’t really think things like that can happen.”
Konrath’s doctors decided the best step to take was to remove the kidney along with the adrenal gland. Even though some lymph nodes were affected, they were diagnosed as benign. After Konrath’s surgery, he had to stay in the hospital for 10 days and take off three months from work.
Konrath doctors recently informed him that he is cancer free. He tries to live a healthier lifestyle by exercising and eating healthy. He has been feeling much better and has returned to work. Konrath thinks it’s amazing that he was diagnosed in January and has already finished his treatment.
“After something like this, you look at things differently,” Konrath said, “You don’t let things bother you as much as before. Unless you’ve gone through it, you don’t really know how it feels.”
His wife, Nancy, admits she had a “why him?” moment when driving home from the hospital one night.
“You never really think it will happen to you,” she said. “You don’t know why it’s happening. But you have to pull yourself together quickly because you have to move onto the next thing that needs to be done.”
Of course, she is so thankful he has been feeling better.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than being here with everyone,” she said.
According to Konrath, the American Cancer Society is a solid source of information that people should take advantage of. He also attributes the Survivor’s Network (a blog for cancer patients and survivors) that helped him through his struggle. This year at Relay for Life, people have sponsored him and have made donations in his name.
“I hope events like this get bigger with more teams and more participants,” he said. “I hope this makes people more aware.”