Testing The Waters

881 words, 4 pages

Intro Sample...


Wants to take the fear and mystery out of it for people.

"The rash is a good sign," says the technician. "It shows the radiation is working."

"Mine's not bad," Karl mumbles, hardly able to talk. "There's a guy in here who can't even lay his head on a pillow."

Karl absorbs the machine's worst for 15 minutes every weekday, except on Wednesdays, when he does it for 30.

Then he goes to work.

8:15 a.m. -- The coach with the seventh-most wins in NBA history is having a glass of water and looking at film of the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the game the next night.

But we're not in his office. And the water just went into his stomach through a tube in his gut. And the hose from the liter bag of Erbitux, a cancer drug, dripping into his left arm hangs over the laptop he's trying to watch film on. And we're not in his office, we're at the Swedish chemo lab. This is the one day of the week he adds dripping to the zapping. You fight the dragon any way they tell you.

If there was a DL for coaches, Karl would be the first five names on it. He's not going to get on the team plane this afternoon for Minnesota. He won't coach them there. For a controllisimo like Karl, that's torture.

"I woke up today thinking of all the things that could go wrong," he tries to say through a mouth that sounds like it's full of rock salt. "Actually, I didn't really wake up. I didn't hardly go to sleep. Couldn't."

I don't know how your Monday was, but this was Karl's: He'd coached the Nuggets to a 12-point win over Portland the night before. Didn't hit the sack until 1. Got up at 5. Was at the hospital by 6. Had surgery at 6:30 to put in the stomach tube that, coming soon, will be the only way he'll eat. Out of surgery at 7. Radiation at 8. Home by 10. Nap. Then started working on preparing for the Minnesota game.

His doctors have called his cancer "treatable," but as a prostate cancer survivor from 2005, he kno View More »

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