WASHINGTON - It has been 11 months since Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced to the world he had cancer. Now, doctors say Hogan is cancer free. A lot has happened since he was diagnosed and he sat down with FOX 5 to recount the past year, what he has been through and how this has affected him.
It was June 22, 2015 and Gov. Hogan had been in office for only five months. Flanked by family and with a shaky voice, he delivered the disturbing and personal news – he had B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
It was an advanced cancer of the lymph nodes. He had 50 to 60 tumors throughout his body. He wanted the public to know everything while his confidants wanted him to keep it private.
“All of my staff told me not to do it and my doctors told me not to do it,” Hogan said.
Why did he decide to let everyone know about his diagnosis?
“I just thought that it was going to come out, I didn’t want to keep it a secret and I wanted to try to – if this could help anyone else, I wanted to use what I was going through to help other people,” he said.
A new journey began and it was his biggest challenge to date.
“I was in the hospital five days, 24 hour chemo, up all night, and then I took 16 days off and went back again,” Hogan said of his treatment.
That went on for six months. He held cabinet meetings in the hospital. When his staff wasn't there, steroids kept him working all hours.
“It makes you hungry and you can't sleep,” Hogan described. “You are like wired all night. I was in the hospital texting up until 5 o’clock in the morning. I had nothing to do. I was just sitting in the hospital room wide awake and all these ideas flowing because I was wired on the steroids.
“They would wake up in the morning and say, ‘What the heck happened?’ Now they are happy I’m back at work and they can get some sleep.”
When he wasn't working, he made the rounds visiting with other cancer patients.
“I stayed very positive and focused, but I had to keep them pumped up at the same time,” he said. “I stayed distracted with a lot of things,” said Hogan. “I stayed really positive, I tried to work with other patients the whole time I was in the hospital, I made laps around the cancer ward. I stopped by and talked to everybody.”
Eventually, the chemotherapy took a toll on Hogan.
“The lowest point was probably near the end of the chemo therapy treatment because it has sort of a cumulative effect,” he told us. “It really does wear you down.”
He lost his hair and became extremely fatigued. It was the same time Pope Francis came visited the nation's capital.
“When I met Pope Francis and had the opportunity to be blessed by him, I asked for his blessing for all cancer patients around the world,” Hogan said. “I felt I was getting plenty of prayers, but there were other people who maybe didn’t have as many people focused on them.”
Did he think at any point that he was going to die?
“I tried not to focus on it, but certainly the odds that they gave me, there was certainly a chance of it happening,” he said.
For more, watch Part 2 of FOX 5's interview with Gov. Hogan as he explains what got him through his treatments and what he credits for his quick recovery. We also discuss what political aspirations beyond Maryland's top seat and how this experience has changed him.