Optimal Fitness - 8243 N Owasso Expressway - Owasso, OK 74055 - 918-272-8884
On Nov 24th 2012, as I was driving to my grandmother’s house for Thanks Giving, I received a phone call from my Surgeon informing me that the strange lump I
had removed under my left armpit was metastatic melanoma. I was crushed.
It was just 2 years prior to this, that a large mole had been removed from my back that turned out to be cancerous. After several surgeries and tests, the
Doctors decided that it had not spread and at that time there was no need to worry.
Nonetheless, with this shattering news of the relapse, my wife and I tried to make the best out of the holiday trip. Our two children had not seen their Great
Grandmother in quite some time and where excited about the trip. We put on our happy faces for the kids and relatives knowing that our lives had just changed
We ended up being referred to the Physicians at MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Houston Texas. The experienced staff recommended that I have a
complete lateral lymph node dissection, which basically means that they remove all the lymph nodes from my left armpit, and receive 3 months of Bio
Chemotherapy. We of course agreed with their decision knowing that this would only increase my chances of survival by approximately 12%.
The surgery was performed on New Year’s Eve 2012 at MD Anderson and was to be off work for 6 months with a drain tube inserted for two weeks. After that, I
began the bio chemotherapy on Feb 16, 2013. I would be subjected to 4 round of chemotherapy each lasting 3 weeks. Each round, I would stay at MD
Anderson for one week and recover at home for two weeks. This brutal cycle would be our life for three months.
During this time, my wife would continue to work and take care of the children while I lay in bed most of the time. My fellow Firefighters would stop by regularly to
check on me and lift my spirits. I desperately needed to be reminded that my world still existed and that I had support. It’s hard to hear your kids ask their mother
why daddy didn’t want to play with them anymore. I would dream of taking them out camping and riding bikes. I would long for days when I could simply walk
through the grocery store with my wife while holding her hand. I was reduced to a bald, 150 pound weakling who had to wear a mask everywhere I went. I felt
that I was a bourdon on everyone.
My last day of chemotherapy was on April 22, 2013. The following PET scan and MRI revealed that there was no evidence of disease in my body. I was given a
second chance for the time being. I slowly healed and was able to return to the fire department where I was greeted with open arms. I would continue to suffer
some side effects but was getting stronger every day.
My wife encouraged me to go to the gym and get back in shape. I found guidance from my captain who was an experience body builder. He showed me the
basics of lifting and nutrition. I soon found a passion for lifting that I had not expected. I continued to fumble my way through training and continued to make
unexpected gains. One day at Optimal Fitness, I met a personal trainer named Josh Jackson. I would timidly ask him for tips on form, technique, and nutrition.
He wrote a workout and nutrition plan for me that I found to be amazing. I began gaining muscle and strength hand over fist. I began to see a change in my
attitude as well. I began to realize that I had control of my life again. I found that with faith and hard work I could accomplish great things, not only in the gym but
outside as well. I found myself wanting to teach others of the benefits of diligence and hard work. I’ve had so many influential people be brought to me in my time
of need. I pray that now I can be an instrument of hope and healing for others who are in need just as I was.
I am now holding my wife’s hand while walking through the grocery store, playing with my children, and enjoying the time that God has given to me.
I would like to say thank you to my wife for carrying me through this difficult journey. Without her encouragement and support, I would be lost. I love her and will
never be able to repay her love and hard work. Thank you to all those who took me under their wing and guided me through my recovery. Most of all, I thank
God for his unwavering faithfulness. It is easy to blame him and question his plans, but I now realize that he always has a greater adventure waiting for us if we
stay diligent and are open to his word.
Barry Ingran ~ Owassso Fire Dept.