Lynn Nickerson said being able to fill his role
as announcer this weekend was the equivalent of a drag racer crashing and coming
back to win the next race.
Nickerson said in a sense, he had crashed. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2004 and last year it returned in his renal gland and kidneys. This weekend’s event was the first for Nickerson since fending off cancer for the second time in three years.
“You go through things for a reason and I believe that God would never put more on us than we can handle,” Nickerson said. “He’s got something else for me to do.”
“I spent a lot of time in chemotherapy, made trips to the doctor and did time in the hospital,” Nickerson said. “The one thing that made it possible to survive was my love for the sport and the love returned back to me from the racing community.”
Nickerson said the outpouring of the drag racing community was unbelievable and that his cancer is now in remission.
“You wouldn’t believe all of the emails and calls I received,” Nickerson
said. “My phone always stayed so congested to the point, I couldn’t receive any
voicemails. I couldn’t answer them quick enough.”
Nickerson said last January and February were the toughest.
“I was down then,” Nickerson said. “I was honored that people thought of me and there wasn’t a day that I didn’t think about coming back.”
Nickerson said the physical strain of the illness leveled him and he admitted that he felt like giving up at times.
“The treatments aren’t easy to begin with and the mental stuff really
hammers on you hard,” Nickerson said. “We all know we aren’t going to live
forever, but we don’t know what is going to take our life. The cancer just
Nickerson said he always related cancer to those who smoked.
“There are so many forms of cancer out there that everybody needs to go and get checked whether it’s prostate, brain or lung cancer. There are so many kinds out there.”
Nickerson said his cancer began with symptoms of indigestion.
“I thought it was just something I ate,” Nickerson said. “The doctor sent me to get an upper GI. I was scoped and they found the cancer.”
Nickerson said Shelly Howard, who was killed in a testing accident in 2005, was an angel to him during his initial bout with cancer.
“I miss her a lot,” Nickerson said. “When she found out I was sick, she sought me out. She told me that she had heard about my problems with cancer and if they weren’t taking care of me in Dallas-Fort Worth, then I should come to Tulsa.”
Nickerson traveled to Tulsa where he stayed in the
hospital for two weeks.
“I spent almost three weeks at her house recuperating,” Nickerson said. “She was an incredibly caring person. She was supposed to have gone to Las Vegas to run an event but stayed home long enough to make sure I went through surgery and was okay. She was like the mom I didn’t have.”
Nickerson said just attending this weekend’s event was like winning an NHRA national event. It was a goal that he had set for himself when he got sick for the second time.
“My goal from day one was to be able to come back and announce,” Nickerson said. “The best therapy I could have gotten is being able to see the cars run this weekend.”
Nickerson said his battle with cancer has enabled him to have the courage to profess his Christian faith openly.
“I was never a religious person to start with and while I was raised in a home where my mother went to church, I went as a teenager but never committed myself,” Nickerson said. “In 1999, I met with an RFC chaplain and started to see a place for it in my life. This latest episode really opened my eyes that there’s a higher power.
“You turn your life over to him and just believe in the fact that you can make it. It’s all about the belief in God that will carry you through it. To be able to come back from this twice helps me to pass on my feeling and support of others. It allows me to effectively say that if you put your problems in God’s hands, he will carry you. That’s why I am still here.”