My wife Kathleen and I were spending the month of February 2010 on Sanibel Island, Florida. I noticed a swelling on the left side of my neck before we left home, and it wasn’t going away. I finally visited a doctor in nearby Fort Myers, who did a biopsy. After Kathleen and I returned to his office, he gave us the bad news—squamous cell carcinoma. We immediately returned to our home in Michigan and, after several medical consultations, I was admitted to the University of Michigan Hospital where the cancerous lymph nodes and my left tonsil were removed. I got through the surgery fine, but the worst was yet to come. No chemotherapy was needed, I was told, but seven weeks of daily radiation to my neck and head were recommended to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
Those seven weeks, beginning in late May, were the worst period in my life. My energy level waned, and I lost my appetite and couldn’t eat. My mouth was infested with open sores. I lost 15 pounds. Kathleen kept me going with smoothies, soup, and Ensure. I was very depressed. At one point I was ready to quit but, in the end, hung on for the full course of treatment. It took another two months of recuperation before I felt myself and could eat normally again. After several years of biannual checkups at UM hospital, I was declared cancer-free in 2015.
In September 2010, after the treatments were over, I said to Kathleen, “I have always wanted a Porsche. After what I have been through, I think now is the time.” So I let it be known that I was looking for a used 911. Low and behold a friend told me that he saw one on the used car lot at Williams Autoworld in Lansing. I immediately took a look. It was a low-mileage 1995 911 (993) Carrera Cabriolet, six-speed manual, polar silver with a black partial-leather interior. It was a beauty. After negotiating with Jeff Williams (it was his wife’s car), we settled on a price and I bought it. The 993 is the last air-cooled Porsche series, and the car is worth today a lot more than I paid for it. I’ve never regretted this purchase for a moment. It’s a wonderful and engaging car to drive, especially on a nice day with the top down.
Since then I have invested in a couple other Porsches, a 2002 911 (996) Turbo and a 2009 911 (997) Carrera S—both terrific cars. I still own the 997 and that first 993 Cabriolet. But the 993 is my sentimental favorite.
Don Dickmann, Past President/Motor-Stadt Region
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