US Olympic Swimmer Battles Deadly Form of Cancer!

Swimmer on cancer: ‘I’ve already won the battle’

Eric Shanteau remains determined as he competes with testicular cancer

During an Olympics where the dominant storyline is one man’s quest to win more gold than anyone before him, it is surprising to hear his teammate say he won’t be particularly bothered if he doesn’t make it to the podium at all.

But for Eric Shanteau, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer a week before the Olympic Trials, just being in Beijing and representing his country in the 200 meter breaststroke, which starts today, is enough.

“I’ve already won the battle as far as overcoming this disease and basically meeting my goals while knowing that I have (cancer),” he told NBC’s Kevin Tibbles. “And that was just making the team.”

Shanteau was a surprise addition to Team USA when he touched out defending Olympic bronze medalist Brendan Hansen to take second in the 200 meter breaststroke at trials. For the 24-year-old Georgia native it was one of the highest highs of his life after being dealt one of the lowest lows just days earlier.

“I was really upset and I got angry when I (was diagnosed),” Shanteau said. “And I had a choice — it could either hurt me or help me, and I made sure it helped me.”

Shanteau kept his medical condition to himself during trials, only opening up to his teammates. He found all 40 of his teammates 100 percent supportive, even if some expressed that in unusual ways.

“I went up to him and I said, ‘You know what? I don’t care. I don’t care that you have cancer,’’” said teammate Cullen Jones. “One of the things I’ve learned with my mom having it twice, my grandmother having it, my dad having it — the last thing the person wants is for you to treat them like they can’t do things for them themselves.”

Shanteau agrees you can’t let cancer completely change your life.

“It’s one of those things where you wake up and you have choices to make every day. And I can chose to let it control my life or I can chose to not. And I’m choosing to live the way I want to and do the things that I want to do.”

Shanteau’s doctor has cleared him to delay treatment until after the Olympics. “Cancer of the testicle is a very curable cancer, with cure rate well over 90 percent when it’s caught in the early stage,” said TODAY’sSnyderman. “Because a tumor in the testicle isn’t going to spread quickly to the other organs, this is one of those times in your life when you weigh the timing of your surgery with the timing of the major events in your life, and it’s OK to put off the surgery for a little while in favor of a major event like the Olympics,” she said. Dr. Nancy

“If was his mother, I would tell him to swim,” Snyderman added.

Shanteau’s parents, have in fact, been very supportive of his decision to continue on his Olympic journey. Eric’s father, who is currently fighting his own battle with lung cancer, told his son that he has cancer, cancer doesn’t have him.

“I don’t think you can put it in any better terms than that,” Shanteau said. “I’m not going to let this disease live my life for me.”

Indeed, Shanteau did not let his cancer hold him back in the prelims of the 200 meter breaststroke on Tuesday evening in Beijing. He finished seventh, and advances to the semifinals on Wednesday morning. From there, Shanteau is hoping to reach the finals on Thursday for a run at the podium.

“Winning the medal would be like icing on the cake for my swimming career,” he said, adding that it would not be the defining moment.

“I’m up there representing basically the cancer community. And hopefully showing people that there is a fight to do this. You don’t have to be afraid of it. You don’t have to let this disease control your life.”

Shanteau returns to the States on Aug. 20, and is scheduled for surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., the following week. He is hopeful that will be the end of his cancer battle, and that tests won’t show he needs chemotherapy or radiation.

“But if I do, then so be it,” Shanteau said. “I’m going to attack that like I’ve taken on swimming.”

The Texas Turtle Blog sends this message to Eric Shanteau: LIVE STRONG!


~ by Digory Kirke on August 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “US Olympic Swimmer Battles Deadly Form of Cancer!”

  1. Hey, My photos of my new emo hair style

  2. That is a great message!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: