Fox

Living Strong


-David Strobach-

In honor of the anniversary of my brother Zach kicking cancer’s butt, I wanted to post our story.

 

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I was sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon, in early October, 2005 drawing a picture.  My sister Delilah was at her friend’s house, my brother Zach went to a car show with friends, and my twin, Sophie, was home with me. The sun was shining, trying to add warmth to the crisp cool fall day.  And, there I sat, carefree, enjoying the pretty fall colors, drawing leaves with assorted crayons of red, yellow, and orange.  Then, my mother received a troubling phone call from one of Zach’s friends.  His friend, Nate, with a sickening worry in his voice told my mother that Zach was having intense pain in his groin and lower back.  He couldn’t even walk.  I saw my mom put down the phone, knowing something was wrong from the look on her face.  Even though I was only five years old, I could sense something wasn’t right.  That was when the darkness came.

As soon as Zach got home, my mother rushed outside.  I never actually saw Zach and that’s when I knew that it could be more serious.  She told me she had to take Zach to the hospital.  That’s when I flipped my picture over to draw something else.  I started to draw a picture for Zach of him in an ambulance.  I was hoping everything would be okay.

Looking back, I remember my mother telling me that she thought Zach may have just torn or popped something in his groin or lower back because he was a skater and may have fallen.  She thought some movement may have made it “out of whack.”  Zach had a slight pain for a little while before the car show day.  He even went to a chiropractor for some physical therapy.  This was a very reasonable and a logical thought.  She was very wrong and the darkness stayed.

Mom transported Zach from his friend’s car to our car and rushed him to the hospital.  There, they found a mass on one of Zach’s testicles.  My mom heard a vague comment about Lance Armstrong, but was confused. They wouldn’t tell her anything other than to come back the next morning to see a specialist.  They decided to do immediate surgery even without a biopsy.  A biopsy was too risky because there was a risk that trying to extract this suspicious mass would cause some cells to fall into the bloodstream.  If some cells fell into the bloodstream, it could spread throughout his body.

After surgery, the doctors reported to my parents that Zach had cancer for sure.  It was called testicular cancer.  They told her it was the most aggressive type of cancer cell.  The doctors did say that they believed that they extracted all of the cancer.  Zach was sent home and everything was thought to be okay.  They also found nothing in his blood cells to detect cancer.  They didn’t know Zach was “marker negative,” which means the cancer cells would not come up in blood tests.  My mother thought it was strange that he was just fine.  Maybe it was just the darkness, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
Just to be sure, my mother wanted a second opinion.  She took Zach down to Rush hospital in Chicago.  The doctor they saw was a trained specialist in this field.  He worked under the doctor that treated the famous biker, Lance Armstrong, who also had testicular cancer.  After Zach was checked out, the doctors brought back terrible news.  The cancer had already spread to parts of his abdomen and lymph nodes. It would be awhile before the light and laughter would return to our home.

It’s so weird how life can literally change in an instant.  Before this, Zach was on top of the world.  He had just turned sixteen, had a girlfriend, got a driver’s license, and he got a sharp little sports car.   He had just started his junior year at Walden H.S.  Then it came all crashing down on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  The clouds and the darkness came in the form of cancer, an uninvited stranger in our home.  If left unchecked, the cancer would have progressed to the lungs and to the brain.  Zach again needed a very complicated and immediate surgery.  If my mother didn’t trust her gut and didn’t bring him in for a second opinion, the doctors said Zach would have died within six months to 2 years.

My mom and dad, understandably, had trouble dealing with the news.  They felt overwhelmed, depressed and shocked.  They couldn’t process and learn all the necessary information fast enough.  My sister, Delilah, was in fifth grade and adored Zach.  She was scared, but young enough to be a little clueless.  Sophie and I could sense something was wrong, but we were confused.  Cancer was like having an unwelcome stranger move in, where everyone is acting differently, and I tried to be on my best behavior. Sadness clouded our family.  We were scared that we didn’t know what was wrong.  There many hushed phone calls and sleepless nights for us all.  Zach was down mentally and physically, scared, exhausted, yet hopeful, and strong.  It was frustrating for him to have to rely on everyone else to do things for him.  Zach was used to being thought of as a good-looking guy and vanity wise, it began to hurt his ego.  He just wanted life to get back to normal.

In the surgery they removed all of the cancerous areas that were shown on the MRI’s.  Then, they ordered several treatments of chemotherapy to flush out all remaining cells.  He was out on a six month plan which was considered short, but still treacherous.  Chemotherapy is a variety of medicine that they put through an IV in your body to attack your cancer cells.  But in fact, it really is poison that kills the fastest growing cells in your body which include the lining of your mouth, your intestines, white blood cells, hair, nails, skin, and finally cancer cells.  So while you’re attacking cancer cells, you are attacking all of those other things.  A lot of people think chemotherapy is one thing, but each phase is different.  It’s specifically designed for each patient.  There is also some trial and error because too much can harm you and too little wouldn’t help at all.

Just when you think having cancer is bad enough, going through the chemotherapy results in devastating side effects.  When mom brought Zach to the chemotherapy section of the hospital she said it sucked the air out of her lungs and she couldn’t breathe.  Everyone around her looked like they were dying.  She realized Zach would look like this soon.  Zach lost his hair everywhere on his body.  He once said that you don’t realize how much you need you nose hair because when you bend over everything drains out. He laughed, a little bit of light broke through.  His hair follicles even hurt.  A vivid memory my mother still sadly tells me is when Zach was lying in the hospital bed and complained that his head hurt.  When he shifted, a huge chunk of his beautiful, black, thick hair was now part of the pillow and no longer a part of Zach.  It took my mother’s breath away and she was speechless as she started to tear up.  When Zach lost his hair I remember being terrified of him. Until then, the scars and gory stuff was buried beneath bandages and clothes.  Now, I could see the metamorphosis left behind by cancer.  Sunken, lifeless eyes and pale grey, hairless skin moved into my brother’s body. Zach was so weak, so sad that his little siblings, including myself, were scared of him.  He was frightened, not recognizing his own reflection in the mirror.

The darkness grew and black spots began to appear on his fingertips and toes.  It was the chemo burning his body from the inside out.  Also as a result of the chemo, Zach had painful ulcers in his mouth and intestines.  He experienced nausea and brain fog.  My mother tells me that one day Zach woke up screaming and peeing blood because of kidney stones caused by the chemotherapy.  To try to counteract some of the side effects they gave Zach steroids.  These at least provided some relief and gave Zach an appetite, but also resulted in a bloated look, further distorting his normal good looks. But Zach, my brother, my inspiration, was not going to be beat.

Glimmers of light started to appear and brighten our home and Zach’s spirits.  We were all going to battle to fight this!  Zach’s support from Walden was monumental.  Students and staff sent him well wishes and bought him a PSP video game to occupy his time at home. Many of his friends were always there for him.   At my grade school and church, St. Rita’s, we would pray for him every day.  We were fortunate to have many friends and family that helped make and deliver meals to our house.  The support and prayers from others helped us greatly as well. The doctors and nurses were amazing.  They all began to provide hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel that drove out the darkness.


About a year later, Zach was finally done with treatment.  It’s a bitter sweet, and somewhat fearful feeling that treatment is over.  It didn’t feel like an endgame, it felt like a waiting game to see if “it” comes back.   Zach wasn’t going to sit around and wait for anything, there was too much living to do. Zach went on to enjoy prom, graduate from high school and get a degree from Marquette University. He is happy, healthy, handsome again, and the bravest man I know.  And here I sit, nine years later, at the kitchen table, not drawing but typing. The sun is shining brightly, adding warmth to a glorious cool day.

“You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

-Stuart Scott

 

Bleacher Boy’s Best Writings


-David Strobach-
I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! This year has by far been Bleacher Boy’s best year! Thanks to my growing and loyal audience,  I have shattered every personal statistical record.  I was even recently ranked a #2 MLBlog  as well!  My biggest accomplishments were being featured on Fox News and getting a children’s book ready so that I can proceed with publishing it!  In honor of the New Year and my 200th post, I’d like to share my best writings of the past and hope that the future is bright for all of us!  I’d also like to give a huge THANK YOU to my family, all of my viewers making up Bleacher Boy Nation, and those that have helped mentor me –  none of this would be possible without you all.  I am grateful and blessed to be able to share my baseball thoughts with all of you.  Have a JOYFUL, HEALTHY and PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!!! Spring training is right around the corner…….

Bleacher Boy’s T.V. Video


-David Strobach-

You asked for it – I finally got it!!! Here is the feature story done by Fox News with Tom Pipines highlighting this blog and my children’s book that I’m trying to publish.  I was able to get a recording from my lovely grandparents!  If you weren’t able to watch when I was on before, or just can’t get enough of Bleacher Boy, 🙂 here it is. ENJOY!

Link to my story on the Fox website HERE

Living Strong


-David Strobach.-

In honor of the ten year anniversary of my brother Zach kicking cancer’s butt, I wanted to post our story!

 


I was sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon, in early October, 2005 drawing a picture.  My sister Delilah was at her friend’s house, my brother Zach went to a car show with friends, and my twin, Sophie, was home with me. The sun was shining, trying to add warmth to the crisp cool fall day.  And, there I sat, carefree, enjoying the pretty fall colors, drawing leaves with assorted crayons of red, yellow, and orange.  Then, my mother received a troubling phone call from one of Zach’s friends.  His friend, Nate, with a sickening worry in his voice told my mother that Zach was having intense pain in his groin and lower back.  He couldn’t even walk.  I saw my mom put down the phone, knowing something was wrong from the look on her face.  Even though I was only five years old, I could sense something wasn’t right.  That was when the darkness came.

As soon as Zach got home, my mother rushed outside.  I never actually saw Zach and that’s when I knew that it could be more serious.  She told me she had to take Zach to the hospital.  That’s when I flipped my picture over to draw something else.  I started to draw a picture for Zach of him in an ambulance.  I was hoping everything would be okay.

Looking back, I remember my mother telling me that she thought Zach may have just torn or popped something in his groin or lower back because he was a skater and may have fallen.  She thought some movement may have made it “out of whack.”  Zach had a slight pain for a little while before the car show day.  He even went to a chiropractor for some physical therapy.  This was a very reasonable and a logical thought.  She was very wrong and the darkness stayed.

Mom transported Zach from his friend’s car to our car and rushed him to the hospital.  There, they found a mass on one of Zach’s testicles.  My mom heard a vague comment about Lance Armstrong, but was confused. They wouldn’t tell her anything other than to come back the next morning to see a specialist.  They decided to do immediate surgery even without a biopsy.  A biopsy was too risky because there was a risk that trying to extract this suspicious mass would cause some cells to fall into the bloodstream.  If some cells fell into the bloodstream, it could spread throughout his body.

After surgery, the doctors reported to my parents that Zach had cancer for sure.  It was called testicular cancer.  They told her it was the most aggressive type of cancer cell.  The doctors did say that they believed that they extracted all of the cancer.  Zach was sent home and everything was thought to be okay.  They also found nothing in his blood cells to detect cancer.  They didn’t know Zach was “marker negative,” which means the cancer cells would not come up in blood tests.  My mother thought it was strange that he was just fine.  Maybe it was just the darkness, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
Just to be sure, my mother wanted a second opinion.  She took Zach down to Rush hospital in Chicago.  The doctor they saw was a trained specialist in this field.  He worked under the doctor that treated the famous biker, Lance Armstrong, who also had testicular cancer.  After Zach was checked out, the doctors brought back terrible news.  The cancer had already spread to parts of his abdomen and lymph nodes. It would be awhile before the light and laughter would return to our home.

It’s so weird how life can literally change in an instant.  Before this, Zach was on top of the world.  He had just turned sixteen, had a girlfriend, got a driver’s license, and he got a sharp little sports car.   He had just started his junior year at Walden H.S.  Then it came all crashing down on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  The clouds and the darkness came in the form of cancer, an uninvited stranger in our home.  If left unchecked, the cancer would have progressed to the lungs and to the brain.  Zach again needed a very complicated and immediate surgery.  If my mother didn’t trust her gut and didn’t bring him in for a second opinion, the doctors said Zach would have died within six months to 2 years.

My mom and dad, understandably, had trouble dealing with the news.  They felt overwhelmed, depressed and shocked.  They couldn’t process and learn all the necessary information fast enough.  My sister, Delilah, was in fifth grade and adored Zach.  She was scared, but young enough to be a little clueless.  Sophie and I could sense something was wrong, but we were confused.  Cancer was like having an unwelcome stranger move in, where everyone is acting differently, and I tried to be on my best behavior. Sadness clouded our family.  We were scared that we didn’t know what was wrong.  There many hushed phone calls and sleepless nights for us all.  Zach was down mentally and physically, scared, exhausted, yet hopeful, and strong.  It was frustrating for him to have to rely on everyone else to do things for him.  Zach was used to being thought of as a good-looking guy and vanity wise, it began to hurt his ego.  He just wanted life to get back to normal.

In the surgery they removed all of the cancerous areas that were shown on the MRI’s.  Then, they ordered several treatments of chemotherapy to flush out all remaining cells.  He was out on a six month plan which was considered short, but still treacherous.  Chemotherapy is a variety of medicine that they put through an IV in your body to attack your cancer cells.  But in fact, it really is poison that kills the fastest growing cells in your body which include the lining of your mouth, your intestines, white blood cells, hair, nails, skin, and finally cancer cells.  So while you’re attacking cancer cells, you are attacking all of those other things.  A lot of people think chemotherapy is one thing, but each phase is different.  It’s specifically designed for each patient.  There is also some trial and error because too much can harm you and too little wouldn’t help at all.

Just when you think having cancer is bad enough, going through the chemotherapy results in devastating side effects.  When mom brought Zach to the chemotherapy section of the hospital she said it sucked the air out of her lungs and she couldn’t breathe.  Everyone around her looked like they were dying.  She realized Zach would look like this soon.  Zach lost his hair everywhere on his body.  He once said that you don’t realize how much you need you nose hair because when you bend over everything drains out. He laughed, a little bit of light broke through.  His hair follicles even hurt.  A vivid memory my mother still sadly tells me is when Zach was lying in the hospital bed and complained that his head hurt.  When he shifted, a huge chunk of his beautiful, black, thick hair was now part of the pillow and no longer a part of Zach.  It took my mother’s breath away and she was speechless as she started to tear up.  When Zach lost his hair I remember being terrified of him. Until then, the scars and gory stuff was buried beneath bandages and clothes.  Now, I could see the metamorphosis left behind by cancer.  Sunken, lifeless eyes and pale grey, hairless skin moved into my brother’s body. Zach was so weak, so sad that his little siblings, including myself, were scared of him.  He was frightened, not recognizing his own reflection in the mirror.

The darkness grew and black spots began to appear on his fingertips and toes.  It was the chemo burning his body from the inside out.  Also as a result of the chemo, Zach had painful ulcers in his mouth and intestines.  He experienced nausea and brain fog.  My mother tells me that one day Zach woke up screaming and peeing blood because of kidney stones caused by the chemotherapy.  To try to counteract some of the side effects they gave Zach steroids.  These at least provided some relief and gave Zach an appetite, but also resulted in a bloated look, further distorting his normal good looks. But Zach, my brother, my inspiration, was not going to be beat.

Glimmers of light started to appear and brighten our home and Zach’s spirits.  We were all going to battle to fight this!  Zach’s support from Walden was monumental.  Students and staff sent him well wishes and bought him a PSP video game to occupy his time at home. Many of his friends were always there for him.   At my grade school and church, St. Rita’s, we would pray for him every day.  We were fortunate to have many friends and family that helped make and deliver meals to our house.  The support and prayers from others helped us greatly as well. The doctors and nurses were amazing.  They all began to provide hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel that drove out the darkness.


About a year later, Zach was finally done with treatment.  It’s a bitter sweet, and somewhat fearful feeling that treatment is over.  It didn’t feel like an endgame, it felt like a waiting game to see if “it” comes back.   Zach wasn’t going to sit around and wait for anything, there was too much living to do. Zach went on to enjoy prom, graduate from high school and get a degree from Marquette University. He is happy, healthy, handsome again, and the bravest man I know.  And here I sit, nine years later, at the kitchen table, not drawing but typing. The sun is shining brightly, adding warmth to a glorious cool day.

“You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

-Stuart Scott

 

Bleacher Boy Makes T.V. Debut


-David Strobach-
Wednesday, September 30th, there’s a feature segment about Bleacher Boy on my local Fox Channel, hosted by my new friend, Tom Pipines!  It’ll be on channel 6 and my interview will air at 9:30 P.M. in southeastern Wisconsin. I hope you’ll be able to tune in and get to know me. To fans, followers and future friends, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite posts that are a good representation of what I’m all about.  Hopefully you can tune in and enjoy!
 

The Making Of A Successful Sportscaster


-David Strobach-

Recently  I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Fox News and their sportscaster, Tom Pipines.  I am not sure when this interview will be aired, but I will surely let you all know!  I spent the afternoon with Tom Pipines, who likes to be called “Pip,” but not be called “late for dinner,” and I learned what makes a sportscaster successful.

As he was trying to learn about me and this blog, Bleacher Boy, I learned a lot from him as well.  I learned that “Pip” is:

  • A confident man with a firm handshake.
  • kind and friendly man with warm hugs for my mom and sister and an even friendlier smile.
  • A polite man that was courteous and apologetic that he was running late–showing that others’ time is valuable too.
  • A giving man that took the time to give me a tour and introduce me to literally EVERYONE at the studio including Katrina Cravy, making me feel like I was part of the family.
  • A sincere man that was interested in what I do as a writer and as a teen, as well as the interests a my family.
  • A knowledgeable man that knows his industry and keeps learning as the world changes.
  • A humble man that thanks his coworkers for a job well done and gives credit to all those who work behind the scenes.
  • A gracious man that wished a coworker the “Best of Luck” in their new job, expressing how much they’d be missed.
  • A stylish man that can pull off wearing a purple shirt! 😉
  • A wise man that is willing to share advice and his personal experiences with a kid who has a dream……

Thank you Pip!!!!!

Your friend,

Bleacher Boy

#BrewersOnDeck And My Good Hair Day


-David S.-

One of my favorite days of the year came last Sunday, the Brewers fan festival, Brewers On Deck!    It’s the same feeling of waking up on Christmas morning as a five year old. That’s how excited I get for this.  It’s become a yearly tradition that I share with my dad.  This year was my favorite of all!

To help publicize, I made my own business cards!  I handed them out to every person I met.  I just became official….ohhhh yeaaa. Here’s one:

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Like the business cards? Craig Coshun, in the picture below did.  He was super friendly and so was former player, now announcer, Jerry Augustine.  I did not get a photo with Jerry, but he’s a regular guy, just like what he seems on T.V.  The voice of the Badgers, Matt Lepay was a fine gentlemen to meet as well.  I also want to give a shout out to Caitlin Moyer and the Social Media stage. Caitlin is the author of Cait Covers The Bases.  As busy as she was working the stage, she was extremely nice to me when I introduced myself and what I do.  Also, mega shout out to the author of, The Brewer Nation!  I met up with him and he gave me some well appreciated blogging advice!

 

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Matt Lepay!

 

Meeting Brewers announcer, Brian Anderson (below) was a bonus!  He was very sincere and genuine.  He showed a lot of interest in what I had to say.  We talked awhile about my blog, advice, and about my dream to either play, broadcast or write.  As soon as I talked about wanting to be a broadcaster, he told me, “You’re off to a great start kid.  You have your blog, plus you’ve got the hair already!” It’s all about the hair. 😉
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How do I look? Pretty legit, right? – Yeah, that’s me broadcasting!

I also played some ping pong with Brewers.  I took a beating that was humbling:) I blame my partner……lol2015/01/img_4485.jpg

Scooter Gennett is certainly the epitome of the eager, hungry to succeed, grateful to play, genuine baseball player kind of guy!!  Holy tobacco in his mouth though!  For your own health Scooter, please don’t chew!  He was a very humble, fun guy.  No wonder why all of Milwaukee loves Scooter.  Thanks for the SELFIE! BTW-If you get rid of the chew, I may be able to set you up with my older sister (5 ft. tall and “hot” according to my friends – you didn’t hear that from me).

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Scooter selfie!

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There’s nothing better than seeing professionals truly listen when I told them about this blog.  That’s exactly what Michael Blazek and Shane Peterson did!

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Shane Peterson and I!

 

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Michael Blazek!

Luis Sardinas and Hector Gomez looked like they were having the best of times.  They were super funny and goofy.  As soon I as i walked up to meet them, Luis said, “Ayyeeeee let me see your hair. Ayyyeeee let me see the line shaved. Nice, fresh bro.” Like I said, it’s all in the hair.

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Luis Sardinas, Hector Gomez, and I! “Ayyyyyeee Let me see your hair. Ayyyeeee let me see line. Nice fresh bro” -Sardinas

Like last year, I said Mike Fiers was the nicest Brewer to meet.  This was absolutely true again this year.  Even better, he remembered who I was and what I do.  He said something like “Oh yea! I know you. You’re the Bleacher Boy.”  You totally made my day Mr. Fiers! Stay the way you are!

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Mike Fiers remembered me! Is that hair envy I see in his eyes?

 

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Gerardo Parra!!! I’m only 14 with a lot of growing to do- This shows you don’t have to be huge to play ball!!

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Parra checkin out my sweet card.

Clint Coulter and Matt Clark were stand up men!  I love watching the two play and meeting them was fantastic!

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Clint Coulter and his slick hair do.

 

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Matt Clark was a stand up man!

O.K. So, this next pic is EPIC!!! The Brewers coaching staff getting a pic with Bleacher Boy  was hilarious! They were rattling off one liners left and right.  Mr. Narron (man wearing the Pharrel hat) kept asking me if I was going to write an article ripping about him and his hat.  Watch our Mr. Narron! 😉 Ed Sedar (bottom left) kept counting down the picture times and had something awesome to say to every camera taking a pic.  You couldn’t understand half the stuff he was saying, but man he was funny.

 

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The coaching staff!

 

I finally got to meet pitcher, Kyle Lohse!  He’s a super cool and chill guy to talk to!  I got an autograph for my good friend, Kyle, since Lohse is like his favorite Brewer player! Kyle was psyched!2015/01/img_4552.jpg

 

 

 
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The most amazing part of the day was meeting the legend himself, Bob Uecker!! To add to it, Mark Attanasio, the owner of the Brewers was there to meet with Bob.  The OWNER!!!! I was just as excited and pumped as when my sister got One Direction tickets. I was thinking to myself, “OMG he said my name and Bleacher Boy!!! I can’t believe I’m talking to Uecker himself, the man’s voice I hear every night in the summer is talking to me.”  He might actually beat me on the hair thing……
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I had a voucher to meet Khris Davis but I saw a tiny kid and his dad go up to get a voucher for him, and they were turned away. The little kid looked like a huge fan of Davis. I saw his lip quiver and the sadness in his eyes.  I had to give him mine because I knew exactly what it felt like at the age to meet your favorite player or worse yet, not to meet him.  There has been no better moment at any Brewers On Deck then to see this little kid’s eyes light up when he got the chance to meet Davis.  I can’t imagine what it is like to see little kids look at you with such adornment. Maybe, I’ll see you next year Khris.

Brewers On Deck was once again a huge hit! I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  Thank you to the Brewers for showing your fans a great time on and off the field!!  Start the countdown to next year’s Brewers On Deck! In the mean time, spring training is right around the corner……..

 

 

 

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