Several months ago, Beth Chapman, star of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and Duane “Dog” Chapman’s wife, revealed she was facing the biggest battle of her life: stage 2 throat cancer.
The 49-year-old decided to share her diagnosis and subsequent health journey with loved ones and, in a letter obtained by Us Weekly, she wrote that her life was changed in an instant:
As most of you know I’ve spent a lifetime facing tests and challenges I didn’t see coming and certainly never expected. I’ve been dealt my share of unexpected blows over the course of my almost fifty years but nothing as serious as the one I heard from my doctors two weeks ago when they uttered those dreaded three words, “You have cancer.”
After months of a nagging cough, a routine checkup resulted in a diagnosis of stage II throat cancer. I have what is referred to as a T2 Tumor in my throat that is blocking my breathing. My doctors are suggesting immediate treatment and surgery before the disease progresses.
She clarified, however, that she would overcome the brutal disease:
To be certain, I’ve stared down the devil more than once in my life but I’ve never faced a real life or death decision. My life has never been easy, and I surely don’t expect it to start now. Still, I’ve never been a victim and I won’t let cancer beat me. I realize the road I am about to travel will be rocky, full of unexpected twists and turns. But I know one thing for sure. A bend in the road is not the end of the road.
And later that month, in September, Chapman underwent a 12-hour surgery to remove as much of the reported plum-sized tumor as possible.
But what led to her decision to opt for surgery over radiation?
According to a recent interview with Fox News, Chapman said the skills she’s learned during her career as a bounty hunter made the choice fairly clear [emphasis added]:
“It took me a week to really go through all the pros and cons. But I will tell you that when it came to the radiation, the doctor didn’t help his cause. He really couldn’t look at me in the eye. He looked away constantly. I am a profiler for a living. That is what I do, I’m able to read people, and I can read when they’re lying, and I couldn’t believe anything he said. Nothing. He gave me no warm, fuzzy feelings. He gave me no sense of compassion. He gave me no sense of security whatsoever.”
From there, she said her only other option was to go for the surgery and hope she could trust the doctor as much as she thought she could (emphasis added):
“I think at that point, you go for the surgery and you hope they can get it all… It did not make sense for me to destroy a lot of the organs, tissues and cells that I already have living in my body when I have a chance of going to surgery and getting rid of it all right there. I put my faith in the surgeon, not the radiologist.”
Of course, judging a medical professional based on their body language isn’t for everyone, let alone recommended, but in Chapman’s case, she clearly did what she felt was right.
She also told Fox News that one of the hardest moments in her cancer journey was when she first laid eyes on her scar. But Chapman clarified, saying she’s incredibly grateful to be alive in order to “hate” anything:
“I hate [the scar]. It’s horrible. I’m very self-conscious of it. But you know, I’m alive to be self-conscious. I’m alive to hate it. I’m alive to see it. A scar is just a battle wound. Death is forever.”
Like any person battling cancer, Chapman has seemingly remained a warrior throughout the process. She mentioned, however, that she might not continue to be a warrior on the streets for too much longer:
“We’ve gotten a reality check on life and life is short. The world is a dangerous place right now. Folks do not have very much respect for law enforcement. They definitely don’t have respect for our courts and our jurisdiction system. So we’re taking it day-by-day, but a lifestyle change is in order.”
But whether she’s fighting crime on TV or relaxing with her children, Chapman hopes to be following her heart for a very long time — and doing so cancer-free.