On May 28, the White Sox announced the expected activation of their closer, Liam Hendriks. Just nearly six months prior, on Jan. 8, Hendriks announced to the world he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
He released a full message on his Instagram. In the message, he expressed his positive mindset about overcoming cancer and his confidence about returning to the mound.
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On May 3, Hendriks made the media privy to the exact timeline of his diagnosis, treatment plan and the details of his cancer. Let's put the pieces of his timeline together all the way up to his activation and expected return to the mound on Monday.
Hendriks said he discovered lumps in his neck in June 2022. However, a clean blood test around the same time discouraged him and doctors from believing it was cancer. As Hendriks mentioned, it's quite unfortunate blood cancers aren't readily discovered through blood tests.
Sometime after, Hendriks received a PET scan which revealed the lymphomas were bigger in his hips. He expressed to the media last season on different accounts his struggles recovering and not being able to pitch multiple innings. One could believe he pitched most of last season with cancer.
"There's no way to put a real timeline on it," Hendriks said in early May. "But if I had the ones in my neck in June and the ones in my hips were bigger, there was always the chance that I pitched damn near all year last year with lymphoma in my system.
"I'd like to believe that was the reason I struggled to recover and at the end of the year was damn near limping to the finish line."
On Dec. 7, according to Hendriks, the White Sox' team doctor expressed his belief that he had lymphomas in his body that could be cancerous. From there, Hendriks received CAT scans to dig deeper into the status of the lymphomas.
Liam and his wife, Kristi, found out about the diagnosis in early December. Hendriks said he was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which is the most dangerous stage of cancer.
A day after Hendriks announced his cancer diagnosis, Dec. 8, he went through the first of four treatments on back-to-back days. He went through immunotherapy and chemotherapy to help treat the cancer.
Hendriks went through four rounds of treatment. Luckily, those rounds were enough to eliminate the cancer and upgrade him into remission. His last treatment was on Opening Day on Apr. 3.
Hendriks announced his cancer-free status on Apr. 20 on social media. After receiving a bone marrow test, confirming the treatments went well in those areas, he announced his remission.
On May 5, Hendriks completed his first rehab assignment during an appearance with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. He hilariously mentioned to the media he had difficulty adjusting to an "angry" mindset when the crowd and opposing team gave him a standing ovation for his triumphant return.
Upon completing a rehab stint, Hendriks thenafter returned to Chicago to meet with the organization about a return. The White Sox put him through two live bullpen sessions with the team, the last one on Friday, May 26, ahead of the second game of the Sox-Tigers series.
Pedro Grifol mentioned to the media Hendriks' velocity ticked up from his first bullpen session. He also relayed that Hendriks "feels good" to this point.
Fast forward to Monday, May 29, when Hendriks will soon be activated by the White Sox to make a historic return to the mound. It's been nearly seven months since Hendriks was told he has cancer.
For White Sox fans, Liam Hendriks fans, and those who can empathize with going through cancer, it will be a cheerful day to watch Hendriks take the mound in a major league game again. A thrilling accomplishment, certainly.
But Hendriks knew this day would come. And an overwhelmingly positive mindset toward achieving that helped him defeat cancer and return to baseball on an unfathomable timeline.
"Once I learned about the regular treatment times, I was like 'Okay, how can I beat it?'" Hendriks said.