Category: Comeback story


Mr. McCullough your heart is fine, but there appears to be a concern with your lung.

With that began the scariest, most uncertain 45 days of my life.

It all started with an innocent physical. I’m a mid forties black guy (why the ‘black’ thing is relevant?) with a family history of heart issues, for me getting the ol ticker thoroughly examined is as common as opening wide and saying ah.

My doctor suggested I undergo a calcium scoring test, just to make sure my cardiac plumbing is clear. I’m fortunate to have a well-trained, young physician who is well-versed in the latest diagnostic bells and whistles.

So I take the test, expecting the same results I’ve received with every heart test since I turned 40 – everything is fine.

A couple of days later (the fact that the results came so fast should have been my first clue) I got the call: heart – good, right lung – “when can you come in and talk Mr. McCullough?” The intrepid radiologist who initially examined the test took a look northwest of my ticker and discovered what appeared to be a lesion on my lung.

I won’t bore you with the fear and anxiety that saturated my mind in those days following that call. Instead, let’s fast forward to Friday, October 22. I think it was around 5:00 pm in my room at Emory University Hospital Midtown. I don’t exactly recall the time because I was still post operatively hazy and trying to manage the blinding, fiery discomfort that is the Foley catheter.

Zoe walking with Lurch from the Addams Family, and no, that gold liquid ain't Chardonnay!

My thoracic surgeon – oh yeah, we’re way beyond the general practitioner stage – arrives and tells Carla and me that the mass on my lung was an adenocarcinoma, which required the removal of the upper lobe of my right lung. Yup, I had a form of lung cancer that was treated by removing a chuck of my lung.

The lump, the lung chunk and a few lymph nodes are undergoing further testing.

We’re optimistic (as you should be) that all will be well.

Besides having a couple of cool new scars on my upper back and getting the remaining two-thirds of my right lung back in shape, one week after surgery I’m doing pretty well.

So how does a non-smoker with no family history contract lung cancer? No one seems to know. I’m just thankful for a bunch of things – not the least of which are, a great family, great doctors and most importantly, the ability to take a breath and say I survived lung cancer (and let’s pray it stays that way)!


I just love a good comeback story!

Image: USA Today

Did you hear Marion Jones is competing again? This time on the WNBA hardwood. Marion’s quest for redemption has motivated me to create a ‘comeback story’ category here on my little blog.

As the header states, I love a good comeback story, do you? There’s something inspiring about seeing somebody standing tall and trying again, after she has been beaten to the ground (especially when it’s self-inflicted). Such is the story of Marion Jones.

So maybe she won’t be on a Wheaties box, and maybe Nike won’t be calling, but that’s OK with me. I’m just happy that “the oldest rookie and seventh-oldest player in the WNBA” is not giving up.