Scott Hamilton's Battle with Cancer
When Scott Hamilton was diagnosed with testicular cancer, his faith never weakened—especially when he thought of his mother and her battle.
I did the show that night and made sure it was great. I was afraid it would be my last show ever. The next morning I checked into the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. This is going to be the biggest battle you’ve ever faced, I told myself. I would need to hold on to the faith and determination I found after Mom’s death. Fighting cancer, she had taught me how to live.
When the doctors returned with my diagnosis—testicular cancer—I was ready. “Let’s get started,” I said. “I have a skating tour in the fall.”
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“You may want to reconsider,” one doctor said. “Chemotherapy and surgery take a lot out of you. It will be a while before you can get back to your life.”
“You don’t understand,” I told them. “I determine what I do, not this cancer.” It’s exactly what Mom would have said.
The chemo and surgery were rough, I’m not going to kid you. But I had this attitude: Cancer likes darkness; it doesn’t like light. And I was going to attack it with all the light I possibly could. I prayed. I surrounded myself with good friends, I watched videos and read books that made me laugh. When I woke up in the recovery room after surgery, totally free of cancer, I felt like my life had just begun.
That’s what had led me to that comeback night at The Forum in L.A., and here I was, splayed on the ice. But not for long.
The audience began to applaud. The sound grew louder and louder—the kind of cheering I heard at Sarajevo. There was only one thing to do. Get up. I popped to my feet and went back to my routine. A smile lit my face that just wouldn’t go away. I could fall again, I might get sick again. That didn’t matter. What mattered was making the most of what I’d been given.
Go for it, I thought. I flew across the ice, leaped as high as I could and landed a perfect double axel. Then another. I felt like the night needed to end with an exclamation mark, so I did several back flips. Mom would have been so proud. She was always my biggest fan.