The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 3, 2012

OU’s Woods conquering cancer

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma deep snapper Austin Woods went to lunch one day at a Chinese buffet and was struck by the fortune in his cookie: “Remember three months from this date. Good things are in store for you.”

Exactly three months later, he has finished his chemotherapy treatments.

“That was kind of crazy,” Woods said.

Woods was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma after he had been bothered by a sore throat and swollen glands around his neck during spring practice. He has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments every two weeks but has continued to practice with the team and maintain his spot as the snapper on field goals for the No. 17 Sooners (2-1, 0-1 Big 12).

“It’s very great. I’m just really thankful I got through it,” Woods said. “I’m really happy I made it through with not too many setbacks along the way and just really glad to be done with it.”

Woods will find out if his cancer is in remission when he gets the latest in a series of scans of his lymph nodes to check for cancerous cells.

“All of my scans previous to this have come back excellent. So everything looks good right now,” Woods said.

For now, Woods is anxious to get past the energy-sapping treatments, which involve a mixture of chemicals being pumped into his body for about four hours. He says he just starts to feel back to his normal self before it’s time for another round of chemotherapy.

“I know once two weeks rolls around, that next Monday I’ll be feeling good that I don’t have to get a treatment that knocks me back down again,” Woods said.

Through it all, Woods has continued to practice and maintain his job. The Sooners play at Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0) on Saturday, trying to rebound from their first loss of the season.

In between, he marked the end of a difficult process, although to some degree it passed without fanfare. There was no recognition at practice, and Woods simply came back from his chemotherapy treatment Monday to go to a legal studies class and then watched the Dallas Cowboys’ game against the Chicago Bears.

“As we started getting close to the end and started knocking them out, it went by pretty fast. But at first, I didn’t know when it was going to end,” he said. “But with all of the support and being able to stay active, it really helped pass the time.”

Woods said he’s thankful for the support of his teammates, fans and parents — including his mother, Donna, a breast cancer survivor. He has heard from other cancer patients through Twitter and tried to provide words of encouragement.

“I hope my story has helped. It’s one thing I wanted to use, my position on the OU football team, to raise awareness or help anyone that had cancer get through it,” Woods said. “Like I said, it’s all about your attitude. That’s really what helped me get through it was the attitude. You can’t always control how you feel that day, but you can control your attitude.”

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