Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Yesterday, there was an article published at ESPN.com about the bravery of two Kentucky football guys — one a coach and one a player — who have been bravely fighting cancer together for the last couple of years. Of course, everyone here who follows Kentucky football, or Kentucky sports at all, knows that we are talking about defensive end/linebacker Josh Paschal and offensive line coach John Schlarman.
What we know is that Paschal had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma has affected a lot of famous people including Bob Marley, who died of the disease, as did former football coach Bruce Snyder, actor Burgess Meredith, and Maureen Regan, daughter of former President Ronald Regan. Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Troy Aikman, Sam Donaldson, Hugh Jackman, and Whitney Carson (Dancing With the Stars) among many others have also been living with the diagnosis.
What many of us, at least me, didn’t know is that head coach Mark Stoops found out about Paschal and Schlarman on the same day. Paschal’s diagnosis we also knew, but Schlarman’s was not revealed, at least to me, until this article. He has a rare bile duct cancer with a typically inscrutable name, “cholangiocarcinoma,” seemingly reserved for rare malignancies.
One of the things I have the unfortunate distinction of knowing a lot about is malignant melanoma. That’s because my wife Petra was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma in 2015. After two surgeries, she was cancer free in February of 2016 and has remained so to this day. Her five-year anniversary will be next February, a milestone all cancer patients look forward to.
Josh Paschal’s diagnosis was very similar to my wife’s — a sentinel lymph node in his groin tested positive for a small focus of cancer cells. Petra’s melanoma was on her arm, and she also had a small focus in one node.
For those that know melanoma, this is the among the scariest news you can get. The standard treatment calls for a lymph node dissection (removal) of all of them on the affected side to be sure as possible no malignant cells remain. A large area of skin around the lesion is also removed (Petra’s looked like a small shark bit out a piece of her arm). Recovery is painful, as is the often-attendant health consequence of lymphedema, which unfortunately happened to her as well. But that’s way better than having live cancer in your body.
As bad as all that is, Schlarman’s diagnosis was far worse. His cancer is inoperable, and as physicians are wont to say in their unfortunately droll-sounding vernacular, outcomes for Schlarman’s disease are poor, as is typical of rare cancers, especially those involving internal organs. But he continues to live with the disease that is virtually always fatal, and as medical science advances rapidly on the immunotherapy front, maybe he can be at the forefront of surviving this horrible malignancy. We can all hope and pray for that.
That news had to be a horrible moment for Stoops, but in typical fashion, he immediately transitioned from his grief to, “How can we help?” The rest of the story is fascinating if you have not read it, so I won’t go on from here.
Read the whole thing.
Tweet of the Morning
Kash Daniel, yesterday:
Couldn’t buy a bite on the water today. Still woke up a free American, being able to do what I love. All thanks to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live everyday as free people. Take a minute to remember the fallen and their families! #MemorialDay— Kash Daniel (@KashDaniel15) May 25, 2020
Plus, can you imagine?
Tracy McGrady : “I was going to KENTUCKY! Derek Anderson was my host. I went on my visit. I saw all them boys with fully loaded Eddie Bauer outside, I said ‘THIS where I’m going!’” -All The Smoke Podcast-— Beau Zach Bricks (@BricksDF) May 25, 2020
Yusuf Corker might be the most underrated player on the team. Take a look at some of his stats last season as a sophomore. #BBN— BBN Football (@KentuckyFB) May 25, 2020
• 74 total tackles (leads team)
• 1 interception
• 4 passes defended
• 2 fumble recoveries
• 1 defensive touchdown pic.twitter.com/1T2nn9wWf4
- UK linebacker Chris Oats hospitalized with serious, undisclosed medical issue. God, I hate to hear that. I hope he makes it back.
- Memories: Kentucky took down a juggernaut in 1951.
- Kentucky’s strength next season should again be up front.
- A Kentucky fan met a Duke fan, and got a big surprise.
- Kentucky edges Duke, UNC for top 2020 recruiting class. It’s good to be back on top.
- Coach Cal says that the 2009-10 UK team changed college basketball. Good memories and bad for that one...
- The UK-Michigan game in London scheduled for this season has been moved to 2022. Sorry to see that, but it’s probably for the best under the circumstances.