Cancer is one of those things that is so much more important than any sport or any outcome on any field or court.
Dillon Bishoff, Dixie State University’s junior kicker, found masses on his abdomen Jan. 28. Later, he found out they were similar to Burkitt lymphoma. Bishoff said it is Stage IV, and it isn’t exactly Burkitt lymphoma, but it is so similar that the doctors are calling it that.
According to webmd.com, Burkitt lymphoma is recognized as the fastest growing human tumor. It is associated with impaired immunity and is rapidly fatal if left untreated. However, intensive chemotherapy can achieve long-term survival in more than half of the people with Burkitt lymphoma.
“It started with me feeling pretty lousy for about two weeks,” said Bishoff, an accounting major from Monroe. “I was really tired all the time, and I’d get pretty dizzy and lightheaded after standing for a few minutes, and I’d lost quite a bit of weight — about 20 pounds at that point.”
Bishoff said he went to the Instacare in St. George and had a few tests done before finding the masses on his abdomen.
“When the doctor was looking at the inside of my stomach, it looked like something was pushing on it from the outside,” Bishoff said. “He ordered a CT scan for the next day, where they found two softball-sized masses in my abdomen. One (of them) was under my liver, and the other was around my small intestine.”
Bishoff was admitted to the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City Feb. 4 after finding out what cancer he had the previous day.
“Initially, it felt like a dream,” Bishoff said. “It really didn’t sink in until a couple days after being in the hospital. It all happened so fast; I didn’t really know what to think. I was just hoping I wouldn’t have to withdraw from school.”
Head football coach Scott Brumfield said he had the same cancer a few years back, so he knows what Bishoff is going through.
“It’s devastating,” Brumfield said. “Not in a football sense, but in his life. He has an amazing attitude when I’ve talked to him on the phone a few times. You wouldn’t even know anything is wrong if you just talked to him on the phone.”
Brumfield said Bishoff is a tough, positive man and will be able to fight through the recovery process of chemotherapy.
“I have to stay within 30 minutes of the hospital for the next four months,” Bishoff said. “(The doctors) are just doing chemo treatments through a central line in my chest.”
Bishoff said he will do multiple rounds of therapy. The first round ends within the next week, and he will be released from the hospital. The second round will start in about two weeks and will last six days. Bishoff said he would then be released for about two weeks before the third round.
Brumfield said football should be the last thing on Bishoff’s mind right now.
“We’d love to have him better and come back,” Brumfield said. “He’s a leader and a good kid.”
Bishoff has had his share of good games as the kicker for the Red Storm. He kicked off seven times with four touchbacks in a game against Simon Fraser Oct. 5. He also made 91 percent of his extra point attempts, making 29 of 32.
“It is possible that I could come back to DSU and play football next year, but my plans right now are to just work for a semester or two to pay off some debt and save up some cash before starting back with classes,” Bishoff said. “I really enjoyed playing sports for DSU, but I would really like to focus on school during my last two semesters.”