I was at dinner Monday night and purposely left my phone at home. These Monday night gatherings are becoming somewhat of a tradition for my wife and I- and I’m trying to be more present at these sorts of things; and that starts with me not having my phone.
Of course when I got home, I picked up my phone and had a text message from my 15 year old nephew:
Did you see that Roman has cancer
I was somewhat dismissive- as he reads a lot of the same dirt sheets I do and we’ve both been inclined to get worked on occasion (any wrestling fan that hasn’t gotten worked isn’t really a fan or they are lying- it happens). There’s no way this was some dirt sheet scuttlebutt; there’s only a couple out there that would stoop to saying something that low- and no one really pays attention to those anymore anyway.
I quickly remembered reading at a couple of places earlier in the day, that Roman was pulled from a couple of house shows this weekend. I coupled that with the reminder from a week or two ago where I remarked that it looked like Roman had cut quite a bit of weight.
“My name is Joe, and I’ve battled leukemia for 11 years…and unfortunately, it is back”.
I rewound the video twice to make sure what I was hearing.
Roman Reigns, one of the most divisive characters in WWE history just announced to the world that he not only had cancer, but that he had beat it once before.
Stunned or shocked aren’t words that properly convey my feelings. Heartbreak, immense sadness, and a deepening sense of dread that Roman Reigns, or Joe Anoa’i would never step foot in a WWE ring again.
An even worse sense that his life will now be completely altered by this horrible, terrible disease.
Roman is a young guy (he’s 33), he’s also tremendously athletic (former football player)- he’ll also have the best possible medical care- something 22 year old Joseph Anoa’i didn’t have. He also has an incredibly passionate and loyal group of fans and fellow wrestlers that have his back- and will pray and support him throughout this battle.
The reality of cancer is this: When cancer strikes it is bad. When cancer returns, it is often worse.
There’s no clarity (and its really none of our business frankly) on the type, stage and diagnosis of his cancer. So he could be in a group that has a five-year survival rate of 95%, or he could be in the group that is less than %15.
Regardless of what you think of Roman Reigns the character, Joseph Anoa’i and his entire family need our prayers and support. Having lost two members of my wife’s family (and likely my mother as well) to cancer, we know all too well the gut punch that was delivered to him by the medical community.
Here’s hoping “The Big Dog” has saved his best “Superman Punch” for his biggest battle.