David Mrizek’s lymphoma officially in remission as of Oct. 12.
By Kyle R. Cotton
After beating a 2007 diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma, David Mrizek worried about a potential relapse.
In May a relapse happened, and he was once again diagnosed with the cancer and underwent treatment. On Oct. 12, his doctor told Mrizek he was in remission.
Mrizek has been working on a part-time basis since his diagnosis, scrambling to do whatever he can while in the office.
“The thing that has helped me is my team, and the people I work with have been able to pick up the stuff I haven’t been able to do,” Mrizek said. “Fundamentally, I’ve tried to stay on top of things as much as possible, but as with any illness of that type, it takes its toll. You end up getting chemo, anti-bacterial drugs of various types, and end up in the hospital twice.”
“It kind of saps your strength,” he said. “I’ve gone 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali, so I’m not going to be popping back up as if nothing happened.”
Mrizek said his most recent hospital stay earlier this month was for other issues. When he was discharged, he went home for a week.
“I’ve been at home simply because being in the hospital is not restful,” Mrizek said. “So you have to take time to recover from that.”
Mrizek said it’s a step-by-step process for him getting back as he slowly increases his workload.
“My process right now is to slowly work my way back into working full-time,” he said.
Mrizek noted how much help President Robert Vela was during this difficult time.
“One of the things I’m trying to do is make sure David gets the rest that he needs,” he said. “We’re all kind of hardwired in a way that we can’t really disengage. Whether it’s at the hospital or at home, he is kind of wanting to be in the middle of it.
“So one of the things that I have said is ‘David let me carry some of that, let me carry the construction projects and let me do those things, so that you can rest and take your time getting back, so you don’t push so much that you can’t get well because you’re not resting,’” Vela said.
Vela took over some construction projects and is ready to hire part-time construction managers if needed. “One of the things I said to David was, ‘You need to be my offensive coordinator in the press box. You don’t need to be physically here, but I need you connected so that you are aware of what’s happening,’” Vela said.
“All this takes time. He can’t rush back because you don’t give your body time in order to cure itself,” Vela said. “So he knows that if all he can give is two hours, and that’s up to him, he can put in two hours and go home and we pick up whatever he needs to do.” Vela said administration’s involvement in decision-making helped Mrizek pick up some slack.
“We’re all stepping up for him, just to be there for him because he’s going through a difficult time, and we would do that for anybody to pull together to make it work,” Vela said.