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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A fighter by nature, Tracy McCool’s husband, John, took on the battle of a lifetime more than two years ago when he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.

Since day one, we’ve followed his journey through chemo and most recently, gamma knife surgery to treat the spots on his brain. Couple that with the global pandemic, the fight got even tougher.

“He went through two gamma knife surgeries during this pandemic when we were somewhat quarantined,” explained Tracy.

“Isn’t that a great name for a treatment? You have all these brilliant doctors around talking, ‘we have this new treatment that gets rid of nodules and cancer in people’s brains, so let’s call it the gamma knife surgery!’,” John joked. “I said am I at least going to turn into the incredible hulk or something?”

John had two spots on his brain. Thanks to the surgery, one is gone and the other is stable. But is has been a rocky road with some dark days.

“This time last year? He would go days sitting on the couch staring at the wall with the TV off. I am just struggling to find the words to get him out of a lot of dark, dark times. The depression is real, chemo brain is real, and I remember the day I sat down on the couch next to him and I said you can spend the rest of your life thinking about dying or you can get out there and live your life and guess what he chose?” said Tracy.

Attitude really is everything and that’s something John had to learn the hard way. He now tries to be optimistic and hopeful at every single appointment.

“Always leave ’em laughing, and that’s what I try to do. When I go in for treatment, I am not thinking about having to sit there for five hours and having them put all this medicine in me. I am thinking about how can I make my nurse crack a smile,” said John.

They also credit the staff at the Cleveland Clinic who have helped them through this journey.

For Tracy and John, the battle is ongoing. They know that, but they also know their story can help others and strongly encourage everyone to get screened.

“I don’t care if it costs you what you got in your savings account, take it out of your savings account. Your insurance, whatever. Go to the Cleveland Clinic, get the bloodwork done. Go find out what you’ve got, if anything and pray you don’t have this,” said John.

“We really want to remove those early cancers and remove those early pre cancerous lesions, that is really the best way to prevent that from really becoming life threatening,” his doctor added.

And the fighter mentality? That helps too.

“I am gonna beat this guy by any means necessary. No matter what they tell me. I am strong enough to get through this,” said John.