Dr. Scott Johnson, head of the communication department, was diagnosed in 2006 with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Because of a stem cell transplant he received in 2008 as well as four different types of chemotherapy, the cancer was expected to go away for at least five-10 years. But the cancer returned a month ago.
“There are a whole bunch of people at Bethel who have it worse than I do,” said Johnson.
He talks about some specific students in his classes this semester who have had serious health problems and had to miss days or weeks of school.
“I can go to class,” he said. “I might feel a little foggy, but I can go to class. I have options.”
One of the main symptoms Johnson has been experiencing is memory loss. He plans to see another doctor in the next few weeks to get a second opinion on treatment options.
Eventually, he expects to have a biopsy that will identify specifically what type of cancer he has.
Johnson is specifically interested in anything he can change about his diet to fight the cancer. His office is full of books about dietary changes, and he has already made the step to become a vegan (avoiding all animal products).
“God is transforming me to realize that it is not my responsibility to incorporate him into my world,” he says, “but to become a part of his world.”
Smiling, he says, “I chose to participate in my neighborhood.”
Johnson’s neighborhood, he said, includes his wife, Carolyn, as well as students and faculty.
He said he chooses to take an active role in his students’ lives and dedicates himself fully to their academic and spiritual growth.
“One cannot not live in God’s universe,” he said. “We have to take the step of acknowledging that and becoming more aware of it.”
Johnson shared one of his favorite Bible verses, Psalm 118:17.
“I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”
Johnson said a light bulb went off in his head while reading the second part of the verse. It wasn’t the first part of the verse that stood out to him, but the second (I) will proclaim what the Lord has done.
“I will thrive in the mystery of life,” he says, smiling and leaning back in his chair.