George Karl Beating Cancer
One Year In For Former Bucks Coach
Throat cancer is nasty. The radiation and chemo treatments leave burn marks on your neck. Your taste buds are never 100%. And nothing tastes great.
On February 16th, George Karl came back to his old stomping grounds of the Bradley Center...on the one year anniversary of his cancer diagnosis. Losing 50 pounds, he says it's the healthiest he's been in a decade....basically, since he took the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals.
But when I asked Karl the first thing he ate or tasted that he was like, man that's good...the quick witted Karl, didn't hesitate even a second.
"Portobello mushrooms in Houston, Texas. I have no idea why. But I had some roasted portobello mushrooms with sauce, some sort of sauce made it taste good. It was this year. It was the first time I went back for seconds."
Karl is more reflective these days, saying in a way he'd like to move on from all the cancer talk. But when you lived with a feeding tube, you use the platform you've been given.
Karl says he wants the country to wake up...and even though the treatment of cancer is getting better, the coach wants the cures for cancer and the funding of research to get a lot better.
He also changed, realizing he couldn't do it alone. He credits his partner Kim as his "cancer angel," helping him take his nearly 50 pills a day. And he also credits another cancer survivor...Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan, for giving him the boost he needed during the low points.
"You can be as tough as you want to be, but you need someone to give you hope and pick you up at times. Jimmy Boylan, when he wrote letters, i needed that letter. He wrote one, saying "don't worry, you'll get better. You're thinking right now you won't get better, but it will get better.'"
"It came at a moment where I'm saying to myself, how many damn days do I have to put up with this? How many days do I have to wake up in the middle of the night thinking I'm choking to death?"
Powerful stuff. Sure, Karl and his lifestyle have changed. But that hasn't stopped his sharp wit, or humor.
"I'm eating so many herbs and plants, I'm grazing more than eating."
George, just keep on giving us good thoughts, to chew on!
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