I was hitting .360 when I was diagnosed. I didn't forget how to play while I was recovering. I don't know if the cancer is gone for good. I don't think anyone ever knows, but no one is going to steal my joy for as along as I'm able to play baseball.
I will be a role model for cancer patients for the rest of my life. But you know what? When I was getting chemo, those people inspired me.
People saw me as being heroic, but I was no more heroic than I was with other injuries I had, like the lacerated kidney I suffered during the 1990 World Series. It's just that people haven't known anyone with a lacerated kidney, but everyone can relate to someone with cancer.
I'd never heard of colon cancer. Baseball wasn't even important to me. I have a wife and two girls. That's what was important. The doctors told me and all I could say was, 'When are we going to get this thing out?'
Nothing I did contributed to me having cancer, so I can't sit back and say, 'Oh why me.' Why not me? Why does tragedy always have to hit someone else?
I'm no different than others with cancer. I just happen to play professional baseball. I'm part of those statistics that cancer has touched as well.
I know people are pretty well embarrassed just at the mention of colon cancer. Sticking a tube in you to find out what's wrong is not a nice thing. But I can tell them, a 30- or 40-minute test is worth it. We have to make them feel more comfortable about getting screened.
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