Paige and Mitch Hollandsworth with their two kids, Scotland and Cedar. Mitch was diagnosed with Pure Seminoma, a rare form of testicular cancer, in 2017. Watch our interview with the couple in the video above. | Photo courtesy Paige Hollandsworth
RIGBY – A Rigby man with a rare form of cancer is hoping for a full recovery following an invasive surgery, and a local entertainment venue is holding a benefit concert on his behalf.
Mitch Hollandsworth was diagnosed with Pure Seminoma in 2017, a type of testicular cancer that accounts for about 1% of cancers in men, according to BioMed Central. Hollandsworth returned home early Sunday morning after five days of chemotherapy treatment at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
In March, doctors determined the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. As part of his treatment, Hollandsworth had an invasive surgery called a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection that involves removing lymph nodes from vital organs near the kidneys and small intestines.
“They basically cut you from here to here,” Hollandsworth says, pointing from his mid abdomen to his groin. “They open you up and remove all the lymph nodes they need to (before putting the organs back and sewing you back up).”
It’s the most invasive surgery Hollandsworth has ever had. Though he’s trying to stay positive, he tells EastIdahoNews.com the procedure has really knocked him down.
“I’ve done things similar to this before, but this one must be a little bit harder because it’s definitely affected me more,” he says.
Mitch lying in a hospital bed in Salt Lake City | Courtesy Paige Hollandsworth
The diagnosis came out of nowhere shortly after Hollandsworth and his wife, Paige, were married. The couple were on their honeymoon when Mitch, who’s always been physically fit and never had any health problems before then, started feeling sick.
They made a trip to the ER, and were shocked when the doctor said he had cancer.
As Mitch looks back at that moment, he says the news felt like “a punch in the gut.”
“Neither of us had anticipated anything like that. I didn’t have a ton of symptoms at the time. We were lucky to be able to find it because I really wasn’t feeling that sick. I definitely was disappointed and upset by what was going on. It’s a punch in the gut when you get news like that,” Mitch says.
After some scans and ultrasounds, doctors performed surgery to remove a tumor from Mitch’s body. Doctors gave him time to heal following the procedure, eventually giving him a clean bill of health.
Then in 2021, Mitch started feeling pain in his back. They went to the hospital for more tests and discovered his lymph nodes were swollen.
When they met with a urologist in Salt Lake last year, he told the couple cancer had returned and prescribed chemotherapy for Mitch. He was declared cancer free in December and the couple felt their medical woes were behind them.
Mitch without hair and heavier after an inpatient chemo regimen at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake. | Courtesy Paige Hollandsworth
Not too long after their second child’s birth in March, Mitch’s back pain returned.
He ended up in the ER, where scans again showed swollen lymph nodes. After another trip to Salt Lake, they learned another surgery — the most invasive one to date — was needed.
Mitch says he’s felt nauseated, weak and tired since returning home, and most of his day is spent in bed. He’s looking forward to the day when he can return to work.
Though Mitch’s diagnosis has been a difficult trial they’ve dealt with their entire marriage, Paige says their children are a bright spot through all of this. Their love for them and for each other keeps them moving forward.
The Hollandsworths at a recent neighborhood fundraiser on their behalf. | Courtesy Paige Hollandsworth
While the Hollandsworths hold out hope for a full recovery, their neighbors and lifelong friends are putting on an event to help with their medical expenses.
Trent Tyler, who owns Mountain River Ranch in Ririe, is hosting a baked potato bar and concert at the venue on Saturday, Sept. 23. Dinner will be served beginning at 6 p.m. A concert featuring two-time world fiddling champion Jacie Sites and the Mountain River String Band will perform at 7 p.m. There will also be an auction and raffle.
He’s encouraging people to donate whatever they can to support the Hollandsworths during this difficult time. Scan the QR code in the flyer below for details.
Mitch and Paige are amazed how many people have stepped in to help through all of this, and they feel “blessed to have wonderful people” rallying around them.
“It’s like when you go to lift a piano. Two people can’t lift it, but 10 or 15 can. This is a hard, heavy situation. With lots of help, lots of hands, lots of support, we can get through it,” says Mitch.
The post Young father continues to fight after being diagnosed with cancer on his honeymoon six years ago appeared first on East Idaho News.