By DAVID LOPEZ
San Benito News
Mid-way through his Junior year, as other students concerned themselves with mid-terms and end-of-the-year dances, Bruce Maxwell received life-altering news.
Maxwell was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer that directly targets the immune system, after he began noticing issues with his lymph nodes.
“I had noticed the lymph nodes in my neck started growing, and they began growing in other places too. I even had one the size of a golf ball under my armpit, I couldn’t even raise my arm,” Maxwell described.
His family doctor at first dismissed it as an allergy breakout, but after referring Maxwell to a specialist, Maxwell was put through a bone marrow biopsy, which revealed the cancer.
“It really didn’t bother me, once they told me that it came back positive I kept a positive attitude, it was just something that I had to get over. I mean I have family and friends all around me, no matter how tough it is you can’t let life knock you down. You gotta get back up and keep fighting.”
And fight he did. Maxwell attended chemotherapy sessions every 2 weeks at Texas Oncology-Harlingen for a total of 12 cycles, spending between four to six hours straight in one session.
“I would arrive at the oncology center, they would take me to the back of the room. I could see anybody else who was fighting cancer; I was the youngest one out of everybody. It was pretty intimidating,” Maxwell said. “It was hard because I would see people for a good while and then you just wouldn’t see them anymore. It’s so mind boggling to me, but it goes to show that anyone can go just like that.”
Maxwell remained out of school until the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year when he attended Gateway to Graduation Academy, earning his credits by October of 2018, left only to wait till high school graduation in May.
“Even going back to Gateway, I met this student who didn’t want to graduate whatsoever, but I influenced him and encouraged him to graduate, and he received his diploma.”
Maxwell’s mother Linda Linan felt ecstatic about her son’s graduation, commenting that Maxwell is not one to give up.
“I have always taught my kids that quitting is not an option. Therefore seeing him walk the line after everything he has been through, I am just extremely proud of him, thankful, & blessed,” said Linan.
Maxwell is now in a stage of remission, meaning the cancer is not completely gone but its effects are practically non-existent, and he has to visit his oncologist once a month. Maxwell said he is just glad he can avoid the four-hour chemo treatments.
“I work at Cheddar’s, but after two years of remission I wanna pursue my military career in the Navy or Marines. I have a couple of ROTC years so I would go in as recruit. If not, I want to go to college to study HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning),” he said.
Ms. Linan, Maxwell’s mother, continued, “It hasn’t been easy these past couple years but I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I am very thankful to God for giving him a second chance in life. Many times I thought he was going to give up but I stood right next to him throughout everything I always will.”
Maxwell turned 19 on May 30th, a day before the Class of 2019 graduation on May 31.
“No matter the odds, no matter what God throws at you, know that’s it’s always for a reason and a purpose, always keep a positive mindset and be happy, don’t let anything keep you down,” he said.