Anchorage Republican Mike Hawker today learned that the cancer he has been fighting for more than a year is in complete remission. A year ago, doctors had not expected Hawker to live more than a few weeks. Today, they told him that his life expectancy is the same as it was before the cancer ever appeared.
A year ago, when he was 54 years old, Mike Hawker’s doctors in Anchorage told the legislator that he would not be alive at the end of the 2011 legislative session. His prostate cancer was of a rare kind, and it was aggressive; and they said he only had a few months left.
As a final grab at life, he went to the Mayo Clinic, where the doctor said he, too, thought Hawker would die within a few weeks. But there were therapies to try. And Hawker decided to fight back.
I certainly have great respect for the medical community in Anchorage, but they just weren’t stepping outside the norms. We found this little clinic down here at the Mayo and the guy said “I think I can help you, come on down.” Frankly I left Alaska never expecting to return alive, but I got here, and he put me on the hormone interruption therapy and my body, for whatever reason, responded to a greater degree more quickly than they’ve ever seen at the Mayo before.
Hawker says he will still have to take frequent blood tests, a full series of scans every six months – and he’s aware that some hot spots might have to be treated in the future. But he’s comparing that regime to where he was a year ago.
You never cure cancer. Cancer is truly incurable. But what you can do is render it irrelevant for as long as is possible. In my case, I was put on a treatment protocol a year ago that involved completely drying up all the growth hormones in my body. The result was the cancer had nothing to feed on and it literally dried up completely. And I had cancer spread from my knees to the base of my skull and in every organ of my body and my bone system. The doctor himself described it as nothing short of a miraculous healing. But the fact is, there is science available that can help. Prostate cancer is an insidious evil, but it’s something we can fight and it’s something you can win the battle on.
After last year’s election, when the majority was organizing, Hawker removed himself from being considered for any role involving the Finance Committee – an area in which he had worked since he was first elected in 2002. He says now he’s ready to go back to the Committee – and ready to go back to work in Juneau.