George Karl Battling Cancer

by February 17, 2010

Tough break for George Karl, but the Nuggets coach vows to fight: “Someone asked me the question, have I come to terms with this one,’ the seventh-winningest coach in NBA history recounted, struggling not to lose it. ‘I don’t think I have. I still wake up, ‘Oh (bleep), I have cancer.’ I wake up in the mornings and go, ‘Oh my God.’ Battling to maintain composure, he stopped for a moment, then looked up again. ‘Cancer’s a bitch to have. I don’t care if it’s a curable one or an incurable one. There’s no guaranteed contracts in this gig. Doctors are very confident, but the mutations of cells come in different forms. We want to just give it the best shot that we have.’ A prostate-cancer survivor, Karl, 58, must now battle a squamous cell carcinoma — throat cancer — that began in his tonsil and spread to a lymph node. It is treatable, and doctors are optimistic, but the course of treatment is no fun. Neck surgery is so complicated and dangerous that the preferred course of treatment is to blast the cancer with radiation, adding doses of chemotherapy to enhance the effects of the radiation. It’s a 45-day course of treatment, and Karl’s doctors say the last couple of weeks can be very rough.”