Luis says he lived with pain for about a year before he told a single person or saw a doctor. He told himself it was just a stomach ache, but it eventually got in the way of his ability to get in and out of his car and even walk. It finally progressed to the point that he was throwing up blood.
“It happened twice, pretty close to each other. I remember I was watching a Packers-Vikings game in 2014. After that I knew something was really wrong,” Luis explains.
Luis was eventually diagnosed with cancer and doctors removed an 8-10 pound tumor from his stomach and colon. It had also spread to his lymph nodes, so for the following eight months, he went through extensive chemotherapy that left him feeling absolutely exhausted. But as physically difficult as that was to endure; for Luis, cancer’s emotional toll was the worst.
“During my treatment I had to use a chemotherapy bag that felt like this “scarlet letter of cancer” on my side that went with me everywhere. I couldn’t escape it. So on my last treatment, I thought I was going to go party and celebrate life. But I ended up getting really depressed because chemotherapy at least gave me an identified opponent. Now my enemy was invisible,” Luis explains.
Just before Luis’s final chemotherapy treatment in 2015 he heard about the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee. He says it was a way for his family to rally against cancer together, “Lombardi is the greatest coach in the world, plus he had colon cancer, the same as me. I just felt drawn to supporting Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation and helping other people in my community who are tackling this thing, too.”
“Maybe I need to spread the word to help others get treatment sooner than I did. It’s crazy how many people are affected: young, old, different cultures, different races, and we are all united with this awful disease. Once you strip away all the things that make you different, you just become cancer warriors,” Luis says.