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Pa. senator returns to work following cancer diagnosis

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Feb 28 2012 03:58:03 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2012 04:52:51 PM CST

Pa. Sen. Mike Folmer is back at work after breaking the news to his constituents that he has cancer.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Pa. Sen. Mike Folmer is back at work after breaking the news to his constituents that he has cancer.

Sitting behind his desk in Harrisburg, Folmer, a Republican, said he is thrilled to be back on the job after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last week.

"I think I'm going to handle it just like everybody else who has my type of cancer that gets up every day and goes to work," said Folmer, 56.

Before he was given his diagnosis, Folmer, who represents Lebanon County and parts of Berks and three other counties, said he was not feeling like himself.

"My neck size went up. I thought I was getting a fat head," said Folmer. "I wasn't gaining weight anyplace else. There was just something drastically wrong."

CAT scans and x-rays revealed he had a lump in his chest, said Folmer, whose doctors removed more than three liters of fluid around his heart.

The type of lymphoma he has is one of the more treatable ones, said Folmer, who has to undergo six chemotherapy treatments once every three weeks at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon. His first was last Friday.

Stepping down or resigning, Folmer said, is the farthest thing from his mind.

"If I thought I wasn't able to do my job, I would have said so," said Folmer. "But I knew I was going to be a fighter."

Folmer said he will not allow cancer to get in the way of his work. In fact, if he were to lose all his hair because of his treatments, he said he would bring a new fashion statement to Harrisburg.

"I'll just wear a beanie," said Folmer.

Folmer said his attitude stems from his faith and support system, consisting of his loved ones and those he represents in the 48th District.