Kappa Alumni of Sigma Phi Delta, Inc.

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Anthony Boyer's story is one of inspiration. He brought new meaning to the Code of Ethics phrasing that a Sigma Phi Delta man "should take a good grip on the joys of life. He should play the game like a man. He should fight against nothing so hard as his own weaknesses, and should endeavor to gain in strength." On May 28th, 2015, Anthony was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Prior to the diagnosis, he thought that his discomfort was due to a hockey injury, but as it got worse he realized that something was really wrong. After the diagnosis, he had surgery to remove the tumor on his right testicle. A later CT scan revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs and lymph nodes in his neck and abdomen. He had no other choice but to start chemo therapy. The chemo consisted of nine weeks total (three 3-week cycles). The first week in each cycle was five days of seven hour sessions, and the second and third week in each cycle consisted of a single one hour session. After he was finished with chemo, there was still concern about two of the tumors in his abdomen, so he had yet another surgery to remove them leaving a 12 inch incision scar. All of the fighting paid off, though, and Anthony was reported as cancer free on September 22nd, 2015! These are the cold hard facts, but the goal of this article is go beyond the facts to get a look inside the man who faced a terrible situation and came out the other side.

One comment that was frequently made about Boyer during his ordeal was that he always seemed to be staying positive and hoping for the best. He had a lot of down time during his chemo treatments so he made sure to spend his time watching funny movies and TV shows to keep his spirits up. Of course his family was very supportive, but being so far away, they weren't able to be there for all the treatments. His girlfriend, Taylor, was always by his side, though, acting as a big source of inspiration and positivity. "I just tried to be myself throughout the whole process (and you know I'm not one to take things seriously). I knew that if I let the fact that I had cancer get to me, I would be miserable and most likely get sick. Having Taylor with me every day of it helped me as well, since my family is so far away, it was hard for them to be out here through the whole thing. Taylor wouldn't let me get down on myself. She helped me stay concentrated on getting healthy and being positive."

Anthony also received a lot of support from his friends, especially his fellow Phi Delt Brothers. Boyer and Taylor had frequent updates on Facebook, and a GoFundMe was set up to help raise money for the medical bills, and the responses were amazing. "All the positive comments from everyone (especially the Brothers) on my Facebook post helped keep my spirits up too. I made those daily posts because people were constantly texting me on how I felt, so I thought what better way than to just show them. I never once thought I would get so many likes/comments daily, but that certainly was a morale boost. The initial boost of positiveness came from the GoFundMe success. If someone would have told me it would raise $8000 in a month, I would have said they were full of sh*t. I'm not sure where we would be without all that support. It was an amazing feeling to know how much people cared about helping us. So I knew I had to give it my all fighting this because there are a lot of people out there that care for us."

The most difficult part about Boyer's whole experience was not knowing how things were going to turn out. He tried to stay positive as much as possible, but there was always a possibility that things would not end as well as hoped. The physical difficulties were also a burden. Chemo would leave him physically drained, and the final surgery on his abdomen left him incapable of doing much for himself at the time. "I can count on one hand the days I felt like sh*t and wasn't positive from May-September. It honestly all felt like it was all a dream, and I never felt like it was real until I had my last surgery in September. My last surgery was a scary one, and could have led to a lot of complications. Being unsure about a lot of things going into it was absolutely terrifying. The first 5-10 days after that surgery just flat out sucked. I had 33 staples down my stomach that prohibited me from doing anything I could normally do on my own. I couldn't eat or drink for 24 hours after the surgery. Then I had to have help sitting up for the first 7 days of recovery. I couldn't bend over to put my own shoes on for almost 3 weeks. It was absolutely demoralizing. Then add waiting on the test results of the tumors they removed, and it equaled out to be a sh*tty September." Luckily, all the difficult times had a happy ending. The waiting, the not knowing, and the physical struggles all paid off when Boyer finally received that news that he was cancer free and that he would be able to live a normal life once more. "When I went in for my 4 week check up with the surgeon, it all changed. He said I was done with treatment and cancer free. He even told me I was healing faster than anyone normally does and cleared me to play hockey on week 5 of recovery. Some people are still struggling to tie their own shoes during this time period in this surgery recovery. He told me my attitude was everything and wished he could bottle it up and give to other patients going through the same thing. That's when I realized everything was going to be okay. I dealt with some minor things from surgery, but other than those, it was a complete success. I think the daily support from Taylor, my family, friends, and brothers really helped me get through this."

Going through something like this can't help but change a person in some way or another. For Anthony, he's learned to have more of an appreciation for the little things in life and just life in general. "Now that it's all over, I certainly have different outlook and respect for life in general. You honestly never know when something like this will get you. I think it's important to do the things you enjoy and love, because someday you might not be able to. I have a lot more appreciation for every time I get a chance to play hockey, go kayaking, fishing, or hunting." One thing Boyer is adamant about is doing what he can to help others who are going through what he went through and helping others to prevent having to go through it. "I think the biggest advice I can tell people going through something like this is to stay positive. No matter how much it sucks or how miserable you feel, you have to find something positive and focus on it. I never realized how a positive attitude can directly affect your life." As far as preventative measures for testicular cancer, Boyer simply just said to check yourself. The key to prevention is catching it as early as possible because the sooner it's caught, the more likely it will be that you will be able to beat it. "Preventive measures? Easy, check your balls. Ha ha. But honestly, check them once a week. If you feel something slightly off, see your doctor right away. It's better to have them checked and be fine, than wait 6-8 months like I did and end up in a situation like mine or worse. It comes down to being careful with your health. I know there are a lot of us from the house who thought we were immune to getting sick. We're not immune, and it can happen to anyone of us. So if you start feeling a little off and not like yourself, you're better off seeing the doctor than waiting until it's too late."

I think we can all learn from Anthony's inspiring story. The power of staying positive and having a support system is priceless. For those of us who were around him while he was going through all of this, you wouldn't have even known anything was wrong with him. He was still the same old Boyer that we all know and love during it. He stayed strong, fought his heart out, and words cannot express the respect that his family and friends have for him. Thank you to Anthony for taking the time to answer these questions and share his story with all of us.