Randy Sturgeon tackles the decathlon of disease: He fights cancer

Randy at 2010 Sacramento nationals.

Randy Sturgeon, the Sacramento-area publisher of National Masters News, shared the ups and downs of his decathlon training over several years. He never realized his “Miracle in Sacramento” dream at 2011 worlds, but his readers were enriched by the journey. Many people advised him on skill events, and he printed their ongoing advice. Now Randy is engaged in a much more serious process — fighting cancer. Via his NMN News Alerts and Facebook page, Randy has been updating friends and subscribers on his squamous cell cancer on his neck, “below my right tonsil and at the base of the my tongue.” He first informed people of the tumor in his NMN News Alert of Nov. 27, 2012: “

I am writing you this note to let you know of a challenge I am facing and to let you know that it will not affect National Masters News.”

Randy continued in his NMN News Alert note:

Last Tuesday I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist concerning an ear ache and sore throat I have been having for sometime. She suspected a squamous cancer, and a biopsy was done right away, with a CT Scan this morning. I have a large malignant tumor in my neck near my right tonsil and the base of tongue. It is serious, but treatable and curable. I will be doing chemo and radiation therapy, beginning probably next week. 

So I am afraid I won’t be doing a decathlon this year after all.

However, I do have hope that I can compete at the outdoor nationals in Kansas next summer and maybe do the pentathlon. In the meantime my doctor wants me to do things that give me joy and that means continuing to do my job as publisher of National Masters News. I have already heard from many of you and I thank you for all the kind thoughts and prayers.

On Tuesday, after several email exchanges, I got an update:

It is a larger tumor, a T-3. It is in a left and right lymph node in my neck. However, it has not spread anywhere else. The prognosis is good. It is treatable and curable. These have an 85% cure rate and the good news is surgery is not necessary.

I will be having seven weeks of radiation with three sessions of chemotherapy during that time, which they hope will kill all the cancer cells. This starts on 12/26. The late start is because they had to put a feeding tube in my stomach and allow time for some healing. I am on pain medication as the tumor can throat and ear pain. The radiation will make it hard to eat and that is the reason for the feeding tube.

They expect the last few weeks to be really tough. Once I am done, I will work on getting back to normal activity and then about 3 months down the line they will do another PET Scan and confirm if the cancer is
gone.

Right now I am doing OK. I jog a couple of miles five days a week with the high school kids and the adults I coach. The doctors say staying as active as I can is important. My energy level is dropping, but I can still swing a golf club. They also said doing things that give me joy and staying optimistic is the key to getting well. So I am keeping up with my magazine work. People from the masters community have stepped up to help me with getting the next couple of issues done.

You asked about people e-mailing, calling or posting things for me. That has meant the world to me and it is why I know I will beat this.Every day, people contact me and it means the world to me.

Some send things, other just a few short words. It is all great medicine. I have the best support system in the world, the masters community and it is why I am doing so well with this.

Whenever this thing starts to overwhelm me a message comes in and I start feeling full of energy again. I cannot thank everybody enough.

Over the years, I’ve heard many stories of masters tracksters overcoming cancer by virtue of their training ethic and general fitness, so my hope is that Randy will fall into this pattern. He certainly has a vast support system as well, but every little bit helps.

So please join me in wishing Randy Godspeed in his recovery and a swift return to competition and normal life.

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December 19, 2012

23 Responses

  1. Roger Pierce - December 19, 2012

    Randy…many of us are praying for and rooting for you.

  2. Mary Harada - December 19, 2012

    Randy I will be thinking of you daily and wishing for the best possible recovery.

  3. Tommy Aunan - December 19, 2012

    Randy wish you the best: I wear two sterling silver rings on my fingers that are engraved with inspirational words: one says “persevere” and the other says “believe”! Those two words go a long way!

  4. Lisa Ryan - December 19, 2012

    Randy, Your attitude and outlook have already beaten this! Now hustle those doctors to catch up! Godspeed, my friend!

  5. Jeff Mann - December 19, 2012

    Randy, Wishing you all the best and praying for a speedy recovery. See you at the track next year.

  6. peter taylor - December 20, 2012

    Randy, looking at your situation the term “reluctant hero” comes to mind. You didn’t choose to be a hero, would much rather not go down this road, but now you have to be a hero. You must fight the battle and win.

    Given your strength, your determination, and the support of your many friends, I am sure you will prevail in this battle. You will be heroic even though you didn’t choose this job. In fact, every morning, afternoon, and evening you will be heroic, fighting against all that discomfort and pain, and I have no doubt you will prevail.

    All best to you.

  7. Ray Bzibziak - December 20, 2012

    Randy,
    Stay strong and positive. There is an enormous “family” of Masters Athletes praying and wishing you a speedy recovery.

  8. Terry Ballou - December 20, 2012

    Stay tough and positive, and you will beat this! I have no doubt we will see you out there in your spikes soon, kicking butt. Sending you lots of healing energy!

  9. ed rose - December 20, 2012

    Good luck with your treatment and recovery. Hope to see you at the nationals in Kansas, stay positive

  10. Bill Zink - December 20, 2012

    Randy, All the best getting through this battle. Hope to see you competing next summer.

  11. Julie Hayden - December 20, 2012

    Randy,

    I know that you are as strong and courageous as they come. You proved that by tackling the decathlon! I also know that you are dedicated to supporting track & field athletes young and old. Now is our time to give back to you. Sending positive thoughts and prayers from the east to the west.

  12. Horace Grant - December 20, 2012

    Randy:
    We started a conversation in Sacramento and I know we did not have enough time to finish it. I look forward to seeing you in Kansas next summer. Your dedicated contributions to our sport have been an inspiration to us all. Stay strong and have a speedy recover.

  13. kevin morning - December 20, 2012

    Randy,
    I am praying for your recovery.

  14. Bert & Kathy Bergen - December 20, 2012

    Randy,

    We are so sorry to learn of your illness. Stay strong and keep doing what you love. We will pray for your recovery.

  15. Christa Bortignon - December 21, 2012

    Randy, Sorry to hear about your illness. Get well soon.

  16. Tim Muller - December 21, 2012

    Randy,

    We still have a date for discus training so I will hold you to that – despite this setback! Get well soon – you will be in our prayers!

  17. Burr Daly - December 22, 2012

    Randy, I have had the pleasure of talking with you at several national meets. You have always been helpful and upbeat. I’ve had a few major diseases including cancer. All my doctors have said that a positive attitude really helps. You have that positive attitude that will carry you through. Also, a few prayers help and I’ll offer some for you.
    Burr Daly

  18. John Altendorf - December 22, 2012

    Randy,

    I join with all masters athletes in wishing you a smooth and speedy recovery from your medical conditions and treatments.

  19. Jai Black - December 23, 2012

    Randy,
    My prayers are with you and for you. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery, I know you have the fortitude to get through this.

  20. Mary Woo - December 24, 2012

    Hi Randy-
    Sending healing thoughts and a few hugs your way!

  21. Ocean Eversley - December 25, 2012

    Hi Randy,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this. Sending you prayers of peace and a full recovery.

  22. Frank Condon - December 30, 2012

    Hi Randy ,
    I am whishing you the speediest of recoveries and thak you for all you have done for the Master’s track and field community—We will see you at Nationals–
    Frank

  23. John Daniel - January 8, 2013

    Hi Randy,

    Stay strong and wishing you a complete recovery. Looking forward to competing with you in the pentathlon in Kansas. See you at the starting line.

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