Larry Zellner was sitting on the bleachers at his granddaughter’s softball game when he received the phone call no one ever wants to get. It was his doctor confirming that he has bladder cancer.
“My symptoms began in 2011 and I went to the doctor right away. I was diagnosed in 2012 with stage four bladder cancer,” said Zellner from his rural Galion home.
Zellner, who managed several car dealerships before working at Whirlpool until his retirement about one year ago, said he underwent six weeks of chemotherapy for three years before deciding to ask for a second opinion in 2014.
“I went to the James Cancer Center in Columbus with plans to have my bladder removed but that fell through when they found cancer in my lymph nodes in my left leg. The cancer had spread,” said Zellner.
Zellner, who is husband to wife Debbie and a father and grandfather, then embarked on an aggressive chemotherapy round to see if his lymph nodes would respond.
“Early this spring, about mid-April, I had a CT scan done to check the progress and we were very happy to find that the chemo had taken away all of the cancer in my lymph nodes,” said Zellner, beaming with happiness.
Zellner is not completely out of the woods yet.
“I still have to go through monthly follow-up appointments with my oncologist but I am feeling very positive about the situation now,” Zellner said.
Zellner said when he took his twelfth and last session of the chemotherapy in Mansfield, it is customary for a bell to be rung to signify the end of the treatments.
“Debbie could not be with me that day so the next week when I went back for an appointment with my doctor, we went to the oncologist unit and all of the nurses stood around us as I rang that bell. It was very emotional for me,” Zellner said.
Zellner was recently chosen as an honorary survivor for this year’s Crawford County Relay for Life that will be held on June 17 and 18 at Wynford High School.
“It is a real honor to be able to tell my story and help others,” Zellner said. “God has really been good to me.”