(CBS4) – Vic Lombardi is never far from a camera, even when he’s heading into surgery.
“For research purposes, I’ve decided to do this surgery awake, without anesthesia, just a chaser of bourbon,” he said from a hospital bed on Wednesday, shared in a video by Kyle Keefe on Twitter.
It helps the sarcastic and hilarious Altitude TV and former CBS4 sports guy take his battle against prostate cancer head on.
“I didn’t know where the prostate was located,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “I thought it was part of the kneecap.”
At 49 years old, Vic has always been a healthy guy. He said there is no history of cancer in his family, he’s younger than the recommended age to have his prostate checked, so he never had. That changed, he explained, following an interview with a young hockey player who had colon cancer and encouraged Vic to get a physical.
“I scheduled one for that same week,” Vic said. “Thank God I did.”
In a matter of days, Vic was in and out of doctor offices and got a diagnosis he never expected.
“My prostate cancer is advanced prostate cancer. It’s a high Gleason score, a Gleason 9,” he explained. “That means it’s pretty aggressive.”
Vic said it took him a couple weeks to digest the fact he had cancer.
“I was like, ‘Nah, he’s going to call me back in a few days and say it’s just influenza or something,’” he said of the conversation with his doctor. “It took a while before it hit home, and then I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is real.'”
And, he said, it was real hard to break the news to his wife and three children.
“When you tell your kids, that’s the worst feeling in the world. I don’t think they understand the extent of it and at the same time, you don’t understand the extent of it,” Vic said. “My wife has been through cancer, she lost her mother to cancer about a year ago, so it’s been a rough year for her.”
To help keep his spirits high, Vic did one of the many things he does best — he took to social media.
“It helps me,” Vic said. “I’ve always been public and I don’t want to sit in my house on my computer, on the Internet, looking up death rates for people with prostate cancer. I want to talk to people.”
Thousands of people are responding to Vic, some even sharing their experience of battling cancer. He said interacting with them is eye opening and humbling.
“You wouldn’t believe how many different people are fighting this,” Vic said. “There’s another gentleman out there who had surgery three days ago, right before mine. He’s giving me sort of his road map and what he’s going through.”
Even more reason why Vic wants to be an open book with his battle and encourage other men to schedule an exam.
“Don’t wait until your 50,” he said. “You turn 40, demand that your primary care physician give you a prostate test, a blood test to get your PSA tested. Get it out in the open and do it every year. What do you have to lose?”
Vic will be the first to admit — and even show on camera — how painful the process of battling prostate cancer can be.
“It feels like I just got done with a four hour session of ‘Ab Ripper X,’” he said in a cellphone video he took hours after surgery.
Yet he doesn’t want that to stop any man from getting checked.
“It does suck, but living is better,” Vic said.
It will be another week or two before test results from his removed prostate reveal whether or not the cancer spread. Of course, all of us are hoping that is not the case.
You got this, Vic!