Liberty County Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Wilson confirmed on Wednesday that he was diagnosed with cancer in August, and so far the chemotherapy appears to be working in his favor.
Channeling a sentiment from Mark Twain, who famously said, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” Wilson addressed rumors that his prognosis is bleak.
“It’s amazing to me how a handful of vile haters have turned this into a death sentence for me, which is not the case,” he said. “I have been given a good prognosis from my cancer specialist, and we are moving ahead.”
In early summer, Wilson said he started experiencing some minor health problems that led him to seek medical treatment, and that’s when the cancer was found. Instead of attacking the cancer with mild chemotherapy, which reportedly was one of the recommendations from his oncologist at Methodist Cancer Center in Houston, Wilson elected to take the most radical approach – attack the cancer with the strongest medicines.
He has completed four rounds of chemotherapy and has two left to go. After his chemotherapy treatments end, he will undergo a PET scan to see if the chemotherapy is having the right effect on the cancer. Two spots of cancer on his lungs have already completely disappeared, Wilson said.
Wilson is counting his blessings that so far the only side-effects he has experienced have been fatigue and changes to his vision, both of which are temporary.
“I haven’t been plagued with nausea, vomiting or hair loss thankfully – all of the real serious side effects. Fatigue is the biggest side effect for me,” Wilson said.
Even so, Wilson said he is still getting up and going to work, and handling the daily business of a commissioner. He missed one recent commissioners court meeting due to a surgery. Otherwise, he has been present at all recent meetings through Zoom. Because his immune system is weakened by the chemotherapy, he has to limit his exposure to large crowds.
“You are told to limit the amount of people you are around when you go through chemo. Your body is unable to fight off minor illnesses. With flu, COVID and RSV going around, I am choosing to be extra careful right now,” he said.
The commissioner, who will be sworn into his third term in January 2023, is overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and support he has received since word of his cancer began to spread through the community.
“We’ve had friends offer to bring us food or to do chores, and Amanda and I are just so thankful for their kindness. We are doing okay. I have someone mowing our yard and our family members are helping out,” he said. “We really would just love to know that people are praying for us.”
The support of his friends, family and the community has boosted his spirit, Wilson said. He is also finding strength from his belief in God.
“The one thing you must have when you are battling cancer is a ‘never give up’ attitude. Every physician will tell you that the mental state of the patient can mean a world of difference to the body,” he said. “I am fine. I am not a victim. I am a warrior, and I will keep on fighting.”