(WBTV) - "I got great news today, MoMo." It was nice to hear those words from Paul and great to hear him use his nickname for me.
"My white cell count more than doubled in a weeks' time. That's the one thing they were concerned about."
I could tell the doctor's report lifted a weight off his shoulders. As you've probably noticed, Paul's been off air for several weeks. It all began when Paul noticed swelling in the knee he had replaced last summer, almost exactly a year ago.
By mid-July doctors knew Paul had a serious infection in that knee. Once they opened Paul up for surgery, they realized the infection was worse than they suspected. Paul had to undergo ANOTHER knee replacement surgery. Poor fella.
PHOTOS: Getting to Know - Paul Cameron
Paul not only had to recover from surgery, but he had to beat the infection. It has been tough, but he feels great that the latest antibiotics are working.
"So this means I'm fit to return. I'm feeling really good. But of course the biggest issue is energy. I don't have all my energy back. That's why I'll just start with half days," Paul said of his return FINALLY Monday!
I was so happy to hear such a positive outlook from Paul. When I visited him Friday and spent a few hours with him, he'd just been switched to a new antibiotic and he was clearly sick of being stuck at home.
"I won't mince words, it's been hell! I'm not the kind of person to just sit around and do nothing. You know me MoMo, I'm always doing some project, fixing something around the house or working in the yard. This just isn't me," he said.
"But there are so many other people who have so much more serious illnesses and injuries than I have. I'm lucky. I'm going to heal. I like to think of it as blip on the radar and I'll move on a be better after this," he said of recovery.
Paul told me all that time fighting a very serious infection and recovering from surgery gave him time to really think about how precious life is and what's really important.
"I tell Jan, my wife, I've got to think twice about being upset about anything. Life is way too short to worry about anything and get upset." he said. "Something like this really opens your eyes. I'm going to enjoy life and try to leave the negative hassle parts of life behind and be happy to keep living."
It is clear your prayers and messages to Paul, through email and his Facebook page, have meant the world to him.
"I'm extremely grateful and honestly overwhelmed by the outpouring from people. From viewers, to casual acquaintances, to my WBTV family. It has just been overwhelming," Paul said.
I noticed when I saw Paul Friday how much weight he'd lost. He even told me his tailor came by to trim down some suits to make them fit properly.
"I'm now down to 187 pounds, that's 12 pounds I've lost after this surgery. After last year's surgery I was down 25 pounds totaling 37 pounds in a year's time. But let me make it clear, this is NOT a recommended weight loss program," we both had a good laugh at that!
After 35 years on a job, your coworkers become your second family. Paul said that's been one of the hardest parts, missing us at WBTV, and missing you, our viewers.
"I miss my newsroom, my TV folks, and Maureen, I really miss our viewers. I can't wait to get back Monday," he said with lots of enthusiasm.
Paul, we can't wait for you to come back too! So look for my partner back in the saddle Monday, August 22. He'll be on half days, so he'll anchor the 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. He hopes to be back to all shows, including the 11 o'clock news by Monday, August 29.
We have missed Paul as well. So we are going to be so happy to see him walk into this newsroom Monday.