Rodney Johnson and I have have been good friends since I was 14 years old. His family took me deer hunting many times when I was young. The whole Johnson clan is a very warmhearted and generous bunch.
Last year at about this time Rod was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer. The prognosis was not very good.
Rod and his wife Karen stayed positive and Rod started chemo-therapy earlier this year. There was a benefit for Rod at the Gays Mills Community Center recently. Rod looked skinny and his color was not very good. He is a fighter and it was obvious he and his family was doing all they could do to battle his cancer. There was an overwhelming turnout for the benefit. Over double the number of people that the family projected for attendance came to support Rod and Karen.
About a month ago Rod had a portion of his colon removed. They believe they got the cancer in his colon but, the cancer in the liver was still present. The doctors are going to aggressively attack the cancer in Rod's liver next week.
I ran into Rod last Friday night. He was at his traditional night before deer hunting gathering at the local pub. Since his surgery he gained back 10 pounds and his color returned to normal. He seemed like the same old Rodney. He told me about some type of aggressive chemo wash he was going to get the next week. He showed me direct line that the doctors had placed in his chest for chemotherapy. He was very upbeat and announced he was going hunting opening day.
Rod showed me his special permit for hunting. Wisconsin allows seriously sick hunters to hunt from their vehicles. Rod was really pumped up about going hunting. He told me he would be satisfied with even a little doe. He was just happy that he could deer hunt with his illness. We sat and talked for three or four hours about the old days and hunts past.
When I left I told him that he was going to get a big buck and no small doe.
Rod parked his truck out in the pasture behind the family farm opening day. Right after first light, Rod harvested this massive buck.
Thanks Linda for all you have done for Rod.
Having cancer is very scary, but if you fight it and stay positive, you can beat it. Rod, you have many more deer hunting years in your future.
Read more from Len Harris.
Len Harris blogs from the "Heart" of Wisconsin's Driftless Area. Len's passion is small stream trout fishing with every legal means possible. When trout season is closed he writes and takes photos. He even dabbles in a little cooking. Read more of Lenís writing on his blog at http://lenharris.blogspot.com/.