One year ago, I was an active 35 year-old husband and dad and I enjoyed working as a coach with wonderful people. An 8-year Military Veteran, I had run a half marathon just because I was challenged. There wasn’t a sport I didn’t play, a game I wouldn’t compete in or a challenge I wouldn’t take. I wanted to be larger than life so my kids would have a good role model.
Then I found out I had cancer. I was alone. I had insisted on going to the doctor alone and being tested alone. Following the tests, I was told I was lucky I had come in. The doctors said they had discovered something, though not what it was.
I was immediately transferred via ambulance to the hospital and it was then I learned what the doctors had found – a mass growing inside my spinal cord. They described the mass as being very a typical, and I was told that statistically, there was only 1 chance in a million that such a cancerous tumor would grow inside my spinal cord. Doctors said they didn’t know what they could do for me.
Ultimately, I was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumor called Ependymoma. I was given a 50/50 chance of ever being able to move from the neck down, and before surgery my doctor suggested I say goodbye to my family. This moment haunts me today. I looked at my wife and my parents. With a smile on my face and tears in my eyes, I said goodbye.
Later, when I woke up after surgery I heard my doctor say, “Hey champ, we got it all”. When he realized that I could already move my toes, he told me, “It’s all going to come back.” I soon realized I had beat cancer and that I could possibly regain all the functions I had prior to surgery.
I was motivated to push myself harder than I had ever pushed myself so I could walk again. Just 3 days later, I stood up on my weak, numb legs for a second. It was beautiful!
After 10 months, I am still dealing with how having cancer has changed my life. However, I am super blessed with wonderful children, a wonderful and strong wife who didn’t give up on me, and the best doctors possible.
I also feel a sense of duty to earn this second chance I have been given. When I found out about Kure It, I knew I wanted to find ways to support them. I am really excited to share my experiences to help give hope to people who might be experiencing a tough time.