A former professional basketball player has told of his surprise at being diagnosed with stage four cancer which began with flu-like symptoms.
Will Wise, 30, originally from Philadelphia, USA, but now living in London, had played basketball professionally. for seven years before moving to Britain and felt “invincible” because he kept his fitness levels high.
But one morning, while walking from the gym to work, the recruiting consultant started “sweating profusely” in the tube. Then a headache started.
At first he dismissed his symptoms, believing he had simply overdone it during training, but the truth was much more sinister.
After arriving at work, he began vomiting blood and was rushed to the hospital, where tests revealed he had stage four thyroid cancer and a separate cancerous tumor on his adrenal gland.
Before that November morning, Wise claimed he had never had anything “serious” and didn’t have any symptoms of cancer.
Will Wise, 30, originally from Philadelphia, USA, but now living in London, had stayed in shape by playing basketball professionally for seven years and continued to maintain his fitness ever since, until he received a cancer diagnosis. “shocking” in 2022.
Doctors diagnosed Mr. Wise with pheochromocytoma, a tumor of the adrenal gland, which produces an abnormal amount of adrenaline.
Wise went to the gym on November 28, 2022 and then went for a run, before showering and heading to work.
‘I’m about 6’9″ and a former professional basketball player…[so] “I get up, I go for runs, I go to the gym, it’s very normal, it’s nothing out of the ordinary,” Wise said.
But this time he started sweating profusely after his workout.
Although he didn’t think anything of it at first and convinced himself it was “normal,” he quickly began to get short of breath and developed a throbbing headache.
Recalling the incident, he said: “I think it’s because of my exercise regime and sometimes pushing myself too hard.”
‘When you receive them [headaches]Normally I relax, take a moment, breathe and I can calm down, but this time I couldn’t.’
Making it to work, he sat on the stairs hoping his symptoms would improve before heading to the office.
By this time his shirt was completely soaked with sweat.
Colleagues came to help Mr Wise, who shortly afterwards began vomiting blood and was rushed to hospital.
There they gave him the news that his organs were failing.
He said: ‘It was a whirlwind because I literally never get sick and I’m always in the best shape, so it was mind-blowing. He went from zero to 100.”
Doctors diagnosed him with pheochromocytoma, a rare tumor of the adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys.
While nine out of 10 cases are not cancerous, test results a few months later revealed that Wise had a malignant version.
Symptoms are unpredictable, but usually occur in sudden attacks that can cause headaches, intense sweating, vomiting, and heart palpitations. In extreme cases, they can last up to an hour.
He was also diagnosed in January 2023. with stage four medullary thyroid cancer due to a rare condition he never knew he had. The tumor is located in the neck, which can make swallowing and breathing difficult.
Over the next few months, Wise underwent surgeries to remove tumors located in his adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as 65 lymph nodes.
Doctors will then address the lumps in your liver before planning future treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Recalling her initial diagnosis, Wise said: “It was a shock and a fear, especially at such a young age when you feel invincible.”
“At the very moment of diagnosis, I was paralyzed for a few moments, it was as if the world had stopped.”
Despite this enormous strain on her health, Wise maintained a positive outlook and documented her cancer journey on social media.
He said: ‘There’s a moment when you think, “What do I do now?”
To change the stigma around cancer in the UK, Wise started the ‘CancerBae’ movement, which aims to connect with and support other people living with cancer. He has also maintained a positive outlook and documented his cancer journey on social media.
‘Understanding that life actually goes on, even with scary words like “cancer” and “stage four,” you realize that you have to keep moving.
“Even though it’s difficult, I try to stay positive and optimistic.”
To challenge the stigma around cancer, she launched the ‘CancerBae’ movement, which aims to connect with and support other people living with cancer.
Mr. Wise has created a GoFundMe page with the aim of raising £15,000 to launch ‘CancerBae’ as a charity and establish a community for people living with cancer and rare genetic diseases. So far it has raised £2,000.
He said his diagnoses taught him to “make the most of life” because “nothing is promised” and “life is short.”
Wise said: “It’s a sad truth that we often take things for granted and don’t realize how precious life is until we experience something like this, but it’s a lesson we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.” . ‘
He added: ‘I have learned to say yes to new experiences, to take risks and to get out of our comfort zone.
‘I also learned to appreciate the little things in life and find joy in everyday moments.
‘This experience has taught me to live life to the fullest.
“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I can make the most of today.”