Emil Dilanian on his Journey with Lymphoma

“If you're not in the right mindset, it can be detrimental to battle any battle in life. I’ve proven to myself over the years that a strong mental capacity will push you to levels beyond your imagination. I’m glad I went through this process with Lymphoma because it taught me that anything is possible.” 

Emil Dilanian’s diagnosis came as a complete surprise to the 35-year-old when he was told he had Lymphoma after visiting the doctor about excessive sweating throughout the night. He was getting up multiple times per night to change due to the heavy sweating, but since his wife had been experiencing flu symptoms, he thought it was something similar. Nonetheless, he decided to see the doctor, and his PCP had done a biopsy and ordered x-rays after seeing something that needed to be addressed. One thing led to another; Emil got a CT scan. Then surgery by a thoracic surgeon discovered a fist-sized tumor nestled right between his heart and his lung, confirming his diagnosis as Lymphoma. Emil couldn’t explain how he felt when he heard this news. He didn’t know what to do, where to go, and which way to turn, and he was crying outside the doctor’s office, searching for answers and options immediately.  

 “Not a good feeling at all; I was not expecting that to happen. At the time, I was just a year into my marriage, and we didn’t even have a kid yet. Needless to say, it was something I had to face, and I wanted all the support I could get from my surroundings, family, friends, and doctors,” Emil shared when asked how he felt hearing his diagnosis.  

Emil knew he had to be strong to win this battle right away. He decided immediately that he would not let this affect him negatively. He would keep moving forward and focus on what he had to do to get through. He found Los Angeles Cancer Network through a friend’s recommendation and was put in Dr. Jerry Wada’s care.  

“Lisa Hineman is next in line after Jerry Wada, whom I owe my life to. I can’t speak enough about the service, the care, the quality, the caring. It was just overwhelming. I was actually looking forward to going to their office because I knew I was in the best hands,” said Emil.  

Emil spent nine long months going through treatments that consisted of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and injections. Halfway through the treatment, the tumor shrank to half the size, reassuring Emil and the doctors that the treatment was successful. Lisa & Dr. Wada were by his side to comfort his fears and remind him that they were there to assist through every step of the way. Emil continued his daily work as an architect while receiving treatment in the hospital. He refused to put his life on pause for this. The nurses at Glendale Memorial were faxing his sketches for him.  

“I was relentless, and I didn’t want to give up. I focused on what I had to do and got everything accomplished. That project got published in Architecture Digest,” said Emil 

Throughout this process, Emil did extensive research. He focused on various dieting aspects and got in touch with survivors to gain more insight into this disease. He stayed positive and never let cancer take over his mind. He firmly believes that your psychological state plays a massive role in the fight.  

“Trust your instinct and change your mindset and outlook. You cannot be thinking about the negative. Because in essence, cancer, if you dissect the word, it means I can, sir. I always had the intention of getting better. I conquered it with mental power more than anything else. Of course, medical interventions are always a huge part, but there are some losses, unfortunately, among everyone. Not losing hope, staying 100% positive, focusing on the future rather than the present is what got me through,” said Emil regarding getting through this battle. 

He remained positive throughout his treatment and had a great family support system to help him get through. Emil also saw a shamanic healer, who had battled cancer herself, that helped him connect his mind & body for an additional holistic approach. It showed Emil how powerful your mindset really could be. Emil refused to let this define and take over his life from start to finish. Twenty-two years later, Emil remains cancer-free and is living a healthy lifestyle. He is grateful for what the journey taught him and offers his full support to anyone going through this process.  

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