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My whole life, in some fashion I was in the gym. As a football player, as a Marine, and as a civilian I always believed in an active and healthy lifestyle. As I approached my 30’s my body and energy levels were noticeably low. This was extremely uncommon, after a workday something as simple as walking my dog became an effort. As most, I felt this was what getting older meant and that I would have to overcome these obstacles and figure it out.

Some time had passed and while at my friend’s house watching football, I felt my first lump under my arm behind my chest. An initial instinct is it is odd but nothing to be concerned about. Considering my mother was at the same time battling stage 4 colon cancer, why would I even consider cancer as an option. Not listening to advice from my best friend, I continued to live my life and not worry about the possibility of being sick. Afterall, the lump I felt was hard to find at times, and could have been anything, right.

Wrong, as another year passes, my symptoms become more noticeable and I decide to go on a two week “spirit quest”. For two weeks, I traveled with my dog and my jetski across 4 states stopping at 4 lakes, 3 rivers and a whole lot of memories. One in particular, meeting my mother at MD Anderson and seeing firsthand what it is like battling a horrific battle. I remember seeing the doctors face in response to my mother’s questions, I knew she would not survive. I am almost certain she knew it. She decides to perform clinical trials and prepare innovative sciences as a case study to hopefully save lives in the future. A brave and unselfish decisions she decided to make. As I travel back from my quest, I come to realize I need to find out what is happening with my own body.

I return home, and instantly start searching for answers. Over a few weeks, maybe months, my health had turned and with the stress of uncertainty I was gaining weight. Going to many appointments, having scans, biopsies, and bone marrow  biopsy I received my diagnosis. Stage 4 Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma (NLPHL) spreading from my neck to my chest, to my liver and my spine. As I receive this news, my girlfriend was with me and said “you’ll still be you” as I tell her to get out before it gets bad. Her strength and my mother’s strength provided me with a direction to beat this disease. Chemo began less than two weeks after that news, and with the chemo came a lot of drugs and steroids to combat the cancer. Over the next 6 months, I gained more weight and lost most self-esteem as well I had to tell my mother I was also sick. We were to fight the battle together, and 3 short months later she was gone. At this time, I knew I needed to win and after a few more months of chemo I had major progress and I could move on to radiation for the liver and spine.

So, my first day of 5 weeks of radiation, was also my first day at Polarize CrossFit. I was overweight, weak, and low self-esteem. However, the atmosphere was exactly what I needed. I was making instant progress, and I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. Over the next few years, I lost over 30 pounds, married the love of my life (GF mentioned above), welcomed our first child and are now partners at Polarize CrossFit.

Polarize CrossFit had an open door, the members were continuously supportive, the coaching staff could relate and provided the expertise and support for me to become faster, stronger, and healthier. December 2020, will be two years of remission and I do not see myself where I am today without my wife and Polarize CrossFit.

Rick B.

Surviving Cancer, Polarize CrossFit

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