ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that doctors have told him his cancer is in remission but that he will be starting maintenance therapy to prevent the cancer from returning.
“This year I have a great many things to be thankful for,” Hogan said. “I’ve just gone through a complete and thorough diagnosis and this morning I completed a PET scan at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. I’m very thankful to be able to report, that incredibly, as of today I am 100 percent cancer free and in complete remission.”
The governor made the announcement nearly six months after calling an emergency press conference announcing he had an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hogan cautioned Monday that the news “couldn’t be any better but it does not mean that I am cured.”
“It will take months for my body to recover from the chemotherapy, and there’s also a chance that the cancer could return, so I have completed the aggressive chemotherapy treatment schedule and I will begin a monthly ongoing regimen of preventative maintenance that will lower the risk of recurrence,” Hogan said.
The governor said he will also continue to get scans on a regular basis to monitor his progress.
“Over the next few months I will continue to get stronger every day,” Hogan said. “My energy level will increase, the swelling will go down, my hair will start to grow back.”
Since June, Hogan has undergone six rounds of five-day, around-the-clock chemotherapy, four spinal taps, three surgeries and numerous other procedures.
Hogan said he was not always the model patient for his doctors and nurses.
“I know I made their jobs difficult at times, because their advice was always to go home and rest, stop going to events, stop working so hard and most importantly, they kept stressing no more shaking hands and no more hugs,” Hogan said. “Then they’d see my Facebook posts with events all around the state with pictures of me with Marylanders hugging and shaking hands.”
‘Particularly the kids’
Hogan appeared to get emotional at times as he recalled his treatment and the other cancer patients that he met over the last six months.
“To them, I was just another guy with cancer. A fellow dad, brother, grandfather or friend. Not a governor,” Hogan said. “Their optimism, courage and positive energy was my inspiration. Particularly the kids.”
One of those patients was 5-year-old Andrew Oberle, of Glen Arm, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia. Earlier this year at a Baltimore Orioles game, Oberle presented Hogan with a letter that included tips to get through his treatments.
“He told me to keep my hugging person with me when I’m feeling down, along with nine other great pieces of advice,” Hogan said before calling the child up and hugging him.
Dr. Aaron Rapoport, a hematologist and Hogan’s doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said the governor’s treatment progressed as well as could be expected.
“I think we’re all very pleased with where things are right now,” Rapoport said. “He’s certainly where we hoped he would be at this point.”
Rapoport said the Hogan is in “full remission” but said Hogan and his physicians will need to remain on guard for any return of the disease.
“I always tell patients that every chunk of time that elapses is good and favorable. There isn’t any magic point at which one says one is totally cured,” he said. “It’s only something you know in retrospect. Each chunk of time, whether it’s three months, six months, nine months that elapses with hopefully everything staying in remission is very favorable.”
Hogan said that despite the optimistic prognosis, his battle with cancer isn’t over and that he will continue to raise awareness about the disease.
“Today doesn’t mark the end of the journey for me, but the end of one chapter,” Hogan said.