Fourteen years ago, my parents received some news. I was young then, but from what I hear it was devastating to a degree that I’ll likely never be able to comprehend, having not been there myself to hear the sound the earth makes when it cracks open and swallows you whole. After a routine doctor’s visit, my dad was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer.
“If we’d have caught this in six months,” the doctor’s said. “It would have been over. We have to treat this immediately, and aggressively. And now.”
And so began years of grueling radiation therapy combined with various other treatments – some experimental at the time – that eventually saved his life. He was in remission by the time his children, ages 7, 9, 11, 20, and 23, found out that the whole time that he and my mom were going to our soccer tournaments, coaching our basketball games, dropping us at college, and making smiley-faced pancakes for us, they were also fighting for his life.
It’s been fourteen years since, and in those fourteen years our family has been fortunate to have been able to live a truly blessed life. And that’s the thing of it, really – living. All of those years growing up together on Murphy Lake. Pushing each other off of the pier and sneaking onto the neighbor’s water trampoline. Hanging out in the boathouse or practicing our free throws in the backyard. There were fishing trips to Canada, skiing trips to Colorado, sunning trips (and senior trips) to Mexico, and summers up at Klinger Lake riding jet skis or playing golf. As I write this, I look back at life and I can’t even imagine the alternative. To think what a difference six months can make, and what may have never been without it.
Today, the Goros are alive and well and living in various Chicago neighborhoods, having started another new chapter in life. But as strong as we feel now, is as vulnerable as we felt then. Few things in life weigh as heavy as a cancer diagnosis. No matter how far down the road to remission, the ripples of diagnosis can go on, in one way or another. When we were kids, my parents used to say, “Don’t cry, you’re tough as nails.” They didn’t know then how it would stick with us. We don’t give up easily, and we won’t go out without a fight. Prostate cancer hit us, and this is our way of hitting back. We may be wearing flags on game day, but this year at the PCL BlueZone Tournament you’ll find us doing our damnedest to ‘Tackle Prostate Cancer’.