Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Athletes go through highs and lows throughout their athletic careers. But in the case of Kansas State junior decathlete Devin Dick, he has dealt with Stage 3 testicular cancer since the spring of 2009 as a freshman at Wichita State.
"I was diagnosed with Testicular cancer on May 27, 2009," says Dick. "I had surgery on May 14, 2009, and that's when the doctors found the growth. The doctors said it had been growing for about three or four months but due to the decathlon training I was doing, I showed signs such as vomiting, headaches and dehydration... normal symptoms athletes would have."
Dick decided to then visit the athletic trainer for the Wichita State track team. Once he did, he found out why his decathlon training was taking such a toll on his body.
"They thought it was an injury due to swelling, so we did regiments to get the swelling down, but that did not work," Dick explained. "Then we did further testing by getting an ultrasound, which allowed me to see how serious this was. What was weird about my situation is that when they dissected it, they found three different types of cancer in one situation, so it was a unique case."
Although Dick could have let his unique case of Stage 3 testicular cancer prevent him from ever running track again, he fought it with a chemotherapy regimen unlike any other.
"I did four chemotherapy regiments for six days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including a pattern of doing chemotherapy for a week on and two weeks off in a continuous cycle," said Dick. "This was specific to me because if anyone else would have had this regiment, they would have died."
Throughout the entire chemotherapy process, Dick persevered through serious lows. However, one of the things that allowed Dick to keep fighting against his cancer was staying positive.
"I lost all my hair during the second and third regimen. That was also when I got very sick from the chemotherapy as well," Dick said. "During that summer, I lost over 40 pounds and only had enough energy to do an hour of physical activity a day. I had to stay mentally positive and mentally strong. I had to act like I did not even have it."
In order to get healthy from the cancer, Dick took the 2010-11 season off to give himself time to heal. Then, Dick transferred to K-State in 2011 where longtime head track and field coach Cliff Rovelto has continually pushed him to become the best decathlon athlete possible.
"I purposely try to not treat him any differently than anyone else," said Rovelto. "When he came and asked about training and competing with us, he never asked for any special treatment other than saying he wanted to train and wanted to be good."
Throughout all the training over this past season, Rovelto noticed a major difference in how Dick is doing and how his body has reacted.
"He has shown significant improvement from the beginning of the season until now," said Rovelto. "For all of that to happen despite what he has gone through, I have tremendous respect and admiration for what he has been able to do. To me, it is miraculous for someone to come as far as he has come in that amount of time. It is pretty remarkable."
Dick has been able to participate in five outdoor meets this Spring, competing in seven events (100 meters, shot put, long jump, 110-meter hurdles, high jump, pole vault, javelin) as well as two 4x400 relays. He has earned four Top 10 finishes, including a second-place finish in long jump at Emporia State Open on March 31 with a mark of 24-05.50.
Dick's cancer is currently in remission. He was so motivated to continue his career as a decathlon athlete that not even cancer would get in his way. He worked hard, maintained a positive attitude and stayed mentally strong.