David Gogue is a termite inspector at Admiral Pest Control. Hired 15 years ago, David applied for the job when he heard there was an opening at the company and has been a devoted Admiral employee ever since.
But his tenure at Admiral, as well as the loyalty his customers show him, is not the story that defines David today. On February 11, 2013, David’s doctor found lumps on David’s vocal chords, and as a result sent him to UCLA Medical Center for follow-up tests. On February 12, 2013, it was confirmed that David had throat cancer.
Things Change in a Second
No matter who you are or what kind of cancer you have, it’s always a surreal moment when you hear that diagnosis. And this was no exception. Having suffered from a raspy voice for at least a month, David’s family urged him to go to the doctor to have it checked out. Disliking doctor visits David shrugged off his family’s concern as an overreaction, and wrote off his horse voice to age and the fact that he had been a smoker since he was 18 years old. However, his family felt that both those facts were even more reason to have his gradually worsening horse voice checked out. Finally, at the absolute insistence of his family, he went to see his doctor. And unfortunately, the news was not good.
Once the diagnosis was confirmed David took a week off from work to process his new situation. His doctors wanted to get rid of the malignant tumors in his throat as soon as possible, so on February 21, 2013, a little over a week after he was told he had cancer, David had laser surgery at UCLA Medical Center to remove the tumors. The procedure cut his vocal chords down to the muscle, and as a result David came out of surgery with an even raspier voice than he had had before.
On a Path to Recovery
But on the positive side the surgery went well, and David’s prognosis for a full recover is very good. He took only two weeks off after his operation, and was back to inspecting for termites in people’s homes within three weeks of being diagnosed.
“It helps to work,” says David. “It keeps me busy. And when my customers hear my horse voice and ask what’s wrong, they’re very sympathetic when I tell them that I had throat cancer. They ask if there’s anything they can do, and I tell them, ‘Just pray for me that all will go as expected.’ They assure me they will.”
When asked if David has quit smoking his answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!” He has two motivators that make it easy for him to not smoke; his cancer and his grandkids. David has nine grandkids ranging in age from four to 24, and he doesn’t want to miss out on any of their lives. “If I even think about smoking, I just remember my grandkids, and that curbs my craving for a cigarette.”
It’s been several weeks since his surgery and David’s voice is still raspy, however it gets better by the day. Even though he has no pain, his throat begins to tickle a little if he uses his voice too much. However, that’s a small price to pay for a second chance. Between working at Admiral at a job he loves and spending time with his grandkids, David looks forward to many more cancer-free smokeless years ahead.