The Greatest People on Earth
Andrew Lanstedt, Los Angeles, CA
My name is Andrew Landstedt and I am from San Diego, California and I am a cancer survivor.My story began when I had just graduated from college at UCSD with my business degree and I was a college care pastor at my church. I was driving down the road one day and I felt a bump on my throat that would end up changing my life entirely. I was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma when I was 23 years old.
When I was first told by my doctor that I would have to fight cancer I really had no clue what that looked like or what to do. The doctor told me that over the next year I would have surgery to remove my saliva gland and then I would have 2 months of radiation. As I went through that process I went through different stages of being hopeful,confused, victorious, scared, tired, and alone. Beating cancer was the most challenging time in my life and it took every once of my faith and determination to overcome it.
Last month I celebrated my "5 years" of being cancer free and I am in the best shape of my life. My life is completely different than it was when I was fighting cancer. I no longer spend a lot of time in hospitals, doing tests, and taking medicine. I now live in Los Angeles and am in the entertainment industry and I have a business consulting job. As I look back over my fight I learned a lot of great things to help me through it.
Being a Jesus follower through my cancer fight was a game changer for me. My faith helped me through being diagnosed with cancer, fighting cancer, and then beating cancer. No part of my fight was easy and cancer definitely challenged my faith. Before I was diagnosed with cancer my faith was mainly about sharing God's love and pouring into others. I actually had a friend that was fighting cancer and we would all pray and encourage them with their battle. When cancer became "my battle" I really felt like it was a challenge for me to see what I actually believed. I went through all the challenging question like is God good, why did this happen to me, did I do something wrong, and so forth.
The most challenging part of fighting cancer was how I felt like no one could relate to me. I had just graduated from college and everyone was starting to launch their lives while I was trying to survive mine. I really felt like my family and friends didn't know what I was going through. Spark the Way is such a great organization because it connects "fighters and survivors." I really wish that I had someone to talk to that knew exactly how I felt and knew what to expect as I was trying to overcome this horrible disease. My hope and prayer for you is that you will come out of cancer healthier than you were before and with some new friends to help you along the way.