If you take nothing else away from my personal cancer story, please remember this – DON’T WASTE TIME! Specifically, if you notice any kind of growth, mole or skin abnormality, please get yourself checked out immediately. It’s important. I want to deliver that message loud and clear. I’m lucky.
As a proud V Foundation board member for decades, I know the tremendous strides we’ve made in the areas of cancer research, prevention and treatment. I also know the devastation this horrible disease can have on families. I see it each and every year through the personal stories told at my annual Dick Vitale V Foundation Gala. It’s why I’m so passionate about this cause.
And as it does for so many of our loved ones, cancer came knocking on my door recently. Because of early detection, something the V Foundation constantly emphasizes, thankfully we were more prepared.
My beautiful wife Lorraine and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary by travelling with our extended family to our country’s 50th state – Hawaii. It was Awesome Baby; I was riding high. Then came the scary news: a diagnosis that some skin they removed from above my nose had tested positive for melanoma. My heart sank.
On June 28, I went for my first surgery to have the growth removed from above my nose. It helped that we caught it early, and I was thrilled to learn it hadn’t spread. The bottom line is they removed all cancer cells, and I was relieved, big time, to be cancer clear.
Then came four additional procedures in recent weeks to sew up the area on my face. We all know I’m never going to look like Tom Cruise. I’ve got no hair on my dome and I’ve got a body by linguini. Fortunately, I continue to heal from those cosmetic surgeries and it’s working out fine. I’m in good shape and will be ready to start my 43rd season calling ESPN college basketball games at age 82.
I’m in awe of the wonderful medical professionals who take such great care of so many of us, and I’m so thankful for the compassionate support I received at home. My family is everything to me.
My friends, I’ll end where I started. Take care of you. If you see or feel something, even if it’s not bothering you or infected, get it evaluated. Melanoma is serious and it can spread to your organs. Doctors told me that a typical basal cell skin cancer is like getting gently brushed by a bicycle, while melanoma is like getting hit by a truck.
I’m lucky that mine was contained. I will hope and pray that it stays that way when I go for my quarterly check-ups.
Luckily, I took care of it when I did and I can’t stress enough that you all should do the same. That’s how I’m going to achieve my goal of sitting courtside calling a game when I’m 100 years old! The ultimate Triple Digit Dandy! You know how much I love people and can’t wait to be around all the special fans, players and coaches. I am so grateful.