Meet Marlon, Cycle Instructor & Warrior
As an instructor, I have such a deep passion for what I do. But when one suffers a setback, one has no choice but to take a step back and deal with it. One never knows how strong one is until one has to be.
In September 2016, I was in the best shape of my life. I was fit as a fiddle setting all kinds of personal records with respect to my own fitness levels. I was leading up to 20 cycle classes per month and lifting heavier and heavier weights. Then I started to feel a slight pain in the side of my abdomen. I was certain that this was because of a strain due to my intense workouts however my personal doctor was not so convinced.
It turned out that the pain in the right side of my abdomen was a cancerous mass in my liver. And I had a slightly elevated PSA value from my most recent blood test. On top of that, in evaluating the situation surrounding my liver cancer, they discovered that I also had pancreatic cancer (Stage 4).
Yes, I was just diagnosed with 3 major cancers.
After pausing for a moment to ground myself after receiving this dreadful news, I never doubted that I would conquer these cancers. I shared the news with only four close friends at the club because I didn’t want to cause any alarm. I wanted everything to remain as normal as possible. And for me, my body felt strong and willing to take on anything. By the grace of God and a tremendous amount of strength, courage, faith, luck and encouragement from my friends, I was given a second chance.
I am lucky that my personal doctor was so diligent. I happen to live in the DC metro area and Johns Hopkins Hospital, a world class cancer treatment center, was easily in reach every day for my treatment. I was treated by seven of the best surgeons and oncologists in the world. My family and friends were extremely supportive and I felt so loved. The gym is within 15 minutes of my house which made it easy to work out and teach when I could. Yes, I am extremely blessed.
Treatment consisted of three rounds of chemotherapy and surgery for the liver and pancreas, and hormonal therapy and radiation for the prostate. Coordination of treating these three organs proved to be very challenging but I was in the best hands. I asked the liver surgeon if both the liver and the pancreas could be done in one surgery utilizing robotic minimal invasion. He laughed out loud and said maybe somewhere in the world but it has never been performed in the US. I pleaded with him to look into it. He consulted the pancreas surgeon and both agreed to work in tandem to perform the surgery with minimal invasion as I appeared to be in extremely great shape.
On waking up from surgery, the first thing I remembered hearing was that my foremost wish had come true. For the first time in the US, robotic surgery was performed on both the pancreas and the liver in one session! I remember smiling from ear to ear.
Every day we have a choice. We don’t have to do things we don’t want to do. We don’t have to take care of our body. We don’t have to eat well. We don’t have to go to the gym. We don’t have to get off the couch. We don’t have to teach classes. We get to choose. We have a choice every single day. I have missed only one month from teaching my classes. Life is a game. Play it well. So why not live full out like the warriors we are meant to be. If the fire inside you burns brighter than the fire around you, you’ll always win.
Massive shout out to my club’s staff, instructor team and member tribe for supporting me through my recovery.