City columnist and Preston Hollow neighbor Robert Wilonsky writes movingly about his diagnosis: Stage IV kidney cancer

Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

All this time Preston Hollow neighbor Robert Wilonsky has been writing his scintillating columns for The Dallas Morning News, he also has been fighting stage IV kidney cancer. In a column entitled “Kidney cancer should have killed me. Thanks to these Dallas doctors, I have a chance,” the city columnist turns his focus on something he rarely does: himself. His son was one month away from starting high school when Wilonsky got the diagnosis and doctors told him he’d be lucky to see his son start college.

He writes about the “shark-attack incision” across the width of his abdomen. “A chevron, it’s called — a forever reminder of the six hours surgeons spent carving out my left kidney, chunks of liver and other bits to which the cancer had metastasized.”

I interviewed his wife, Mary Wilonsky, executive director of Friends of the Public Library, a week ago about her role and she never said a word about her husband. That’s how this family is: private. Wilonsky much prefers exploring the city’s history and tossing the baseball with his son. He’s also one of the most prolific writers at The Dallas Morning News.

“I am discovering,” he writes. “You don’t really survive cancer so much as you just try to outrun it. But of this much I am certain: Twelve months ago, I knew I’d never see my son go off to college. And now, at least, I have that chance, because Stage IV kidney cancer is no longer certain death.”


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