He then went on to train harder and more aggressively for the Spartan Ultra Beast!! This race was 27 miles with 60 intense obstacles which took about 12 hours to finish. Zack crushed this race in April 2017 all the while not having any idea that in just a few short months his world would change forever.
(His Oncologist: Dr. Ana De-Jesus)
Zack became very sick over the summer, experiencing so much abdominal pain that left him unable to drive to the hospital. After 7 days in the hospital, Zack learned that he had Stage 4 Colon Cancer at 38 years old. As you can imagine, he was shocked by this news...mostly because just a year before, he received a colonoscopy due to some symptoms he was concerned about. The doctor at the time, determined Zack was ok and since Zack's symptons went away- he thought so too. Turns out Colon Cancer is one of the fastest metastasizing cancer, so it's most likely that Zack had this last summer and didn't know it. Dr. Ana De-Jesus determined that it was in Zack's best interest to start chemo immediately instead of doing surgery on his tumor that is currently obstructing his transverse colon. So Zack has been on an aggressive chemo plan and has been unable to work because of how sick the chemo makes him. So he is on medical leave until early next year. Not being able to continue his work for the Federal Government and serve his nation as he has done for the last 15 years, has weighed heavily on him.
But now Zack can focus solely on his cancer and doing everything in his power to FIGHT it. So instead of training for the next Spartan Race right now, he is training himself both mentally and physically to tackle each obstacle he faces as he continues his battle against this disease.
Zack and I on a hike this past October
Ready to kick chemo in the ass today!
So for the last few months now, Zack has been at Johns Hopkins, sitting in this chair every other Monday for 7 long hours. He arrives before all the other patients and leaves after them. Zack says they are "throwing the kitchen sink" at him because he has an aggressive and rare form of Colon Cancer--but due to his age and overall health---they say he can handle it and he has!
Zack is surrounded by a great staff of nurses and doctors who help make his sessions more comfortable and manageable. But each week becomes progressively harder and harder. Zack spends a lot of time with his family in Pottsville, PA resting and relaxing. As soon as he starts to feel somewhat himself again, it's time to go back into another long session of chemo.
Zack's parents, brother Kyle and sister Michelle
Sister Stacey with Zack at Chemo
Shortly before Thanksgiving, Zack finished his 12 week regiment of chemotherapy. At this point his doctor ran some tests and scans to see how the cancer had responded. The good news is that the chemo has been working and the tumors are shrinking. The bad news is that it has spread to his lymph nodes. Unfortunately, surgery to remove the cancer in this area can't be done. So Zack's doctor has advised that he continue with another 3 months of his current chemo treatment. The reality is, Zack will most likely need to continue chemotherapy for the unforseeable future.
Although we don't know what the future holds for Zack, we DO know he's a fighter and he will take whatever measures he needs to get healthy so he can live his life to the FULLEST. So, any donation you can make to Zack's fund will help him continue to receive the special medical treatment he needs and will continue to need to fight this cancer! Please support TEAM ZACK. Thank you so much for your help!!! -Danielle