DENVER (CBS4)– Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks is recovering at home after a 15-pound tumor was removed from his body. The cancer is so rare only 600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with it each year.
He said he felt sick after running the Bolder Boulder over Memorial Day weekend. He thought it was cramping muscles but after seeing a doctor, realized how serious the situation really was.
Doctors discovered a malignant tumor the size of a cantaloupe wrapped around his spine and abdomen.
The news was unexpected for Brooks and his family, including his three young children.
“As it started to get out about cancer I had to tell him, ‘You know cancer is indiscriminate, you can be healthy and still catch it,'” said Brooks.
Doctors removed the tumor last week and believe they got all of it before it spread. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock visited him in the hospital. Brooks walked out of the facility four days earlier than doctors anticipated.
“I feel like I’m slowing down… adding a little bit more balance to my life. And how can I educate others before they get in this position,” said Brooks.
Brooks, who represents District 9, announced his diagnosis of chondrosarcoma earlier this month and says the experience has been overwhelming.
“This chondrosarcoma comes in and says, ‘No, your life’ and all of a sudden your life is the most important thing and so… it rocked me,” said Brooks.
Brooks said he plans to use the experience to bring a perspective he believes is lacking in today’s political climate.
“We’ve lost a lot of our dignity in our debates and I want to bring that back,” said Brooks.
Brooks has become an advocate for early cancer screenings. His family has had multiple screenings since his diagnosis and surgery. Brooks plans to return to work in mid-August.