Brock has an exceptionally amazing story.
There are so many unexpected and unplanned changes that happened
in his life before October of 2012.
And all of those unexpected changes led up to catching the cancer before it was too late.
Brock’s senior year of high school was the same as any other
He was captain of the football team in the fall, played center on the hockey team in the winter and became the most improved player on the tennis team in the spring. And in June of 2012 Brock walked across the stage of the Jefferson High School gymnasium and received his diploma.
His senior year was different than the norm, however, in that he missed at least 50 days of school throughout the year because he was home sick. He would wake up with a sore throat almost every day and felt fatigued much of the time. His mom even brought him in to the clinic to see if he had mono, but tested negative.
That summer Brock found a job with Geneva Capital in Alexandria and became a cold caller. He also decided that he wanted to attend Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN to play football and eventually become a pastor. It was also at this time that Brock and his dad came up with the amazing idea of kayaking the entire Mississippi River—but, like some dreams do, it faded away and Brock put it in the back of his mind.
Brock left for Martin Luther College the second week in August with high hopes of a bright future in seminary school and couldn’t wait to get back on the football field. After three weeks of practice and two weeks of school, however, Brock made the impossible decision to quit school and move back home. Something was telling him that MLC just wasn’t for him at that time in his life.
Brock immediately started researching other colleges and started feeling more strongly about becoming a pilot. He and his mom tried everything they could to get him into first semester at the University of North Dakota, but were unable to as it was past the deadline to sign up for classes. So Brock started working Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria to make some money until he would be able to move to Grand Forks and start school in January.
But little did Brock know, all of his plans were about to go up in smoke.
On October 17, Brock left for an elk hunting trip with his dad, his uncle Hunter, and his cousin Bryant. This trip had been planned for months, but of course Brock was not planning on going because he was to be attending classes and practices at MLC. But since he was now living at home, he was able to make the trip with them.
The guys hunted in Northwest Colorado Saturday, Sunday and Monday. They unfortunately did not see any elk those days but everyone was feeling fine and everything was going as planned.
But Tuesday was another story.
Tuesday was a day that Brock, his dad, Hunter and Bryant would never forget.
After trekking up to around 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, Bryant was finally able to shoot his first elk. It was at that time that Brock got a text from Hunter asking him to hike back to the truck and get the packs so that they could all haul the elk out of the mountains.
So Brock made the long and grueling three mile haul back to the truck painlessly. It was at the bottom of the mountain that Brock felt his first sharp pain in his chest. Brock remembers talking to McKane, his older brother, at this time and telling him that he had a really bad pain in his chest, but neither of them thought anything of it. So Brock proceeded to quickly grab the packs out of the truck and head back up the mountain where his dad, Hunter and Bryant were waiting.
After about three miles of extremely tough hiking uphill, Brock was suddenly brought to his hands and knees with an excruciating pain in his chest. His gun fell off of his shoulder as the entire left side of his body went completely numb, including his face. Brock immediately felt like he was having a heart attack. Brock sat for a short time while the pains continued to throb in his chest. The pains were so strong that he could hardly stand it. But he was in a place where he had little cell phone service and could only think about getting to someone for help.
Somehow Brock was able to continue up the mountain another half of a mile where the other guys were. He immediately dropped to the ground and lay on his back. At this point, the guys just thought he was tired from his long trek and continued to work on getting the elk packed up.
After five minutes, Brock’s pain started coming in waves with only 30 seconds in between attacks. The pains were the worst thing that Brock had ever felt in his life. The pain was focused right beneath his heart, and then would spread throughout his entire chest.
It was at this time that Brock’s dad and uncle realized that this was serious and that Brock was in trouble. They were convinced that Brock was having a heart attack.
After doing everything they could to try and make Brock more comfortable, they made an effort to call in a helicopter to get Brock out of the mountains. Brock, however, did not want them to do this so they waited while Brock continued to suffer extreme pain.
It was during this time that Brock’s dad called a family doctor friend to see what he thought was going on and if there was anything they could do. After several questions, they were reassured that it was in fact not a heart attack but they were still not sure what was going on.
Thankfully, Brock’s pains had finally started to subside enough for him to gain a little bit of strength and head back down the mountain.
So Brock and his dad began the two hour trek back to the truck, taking breaks every 100-200 yards when the pains would come again.
They were thankfully able to make it back safely, where some family friends from Steamboat Springs were there to take them to the Emergency Room.
It was there that Brock was given the option to take a CT Scan in order for the doctors to find exactly what was going on in his body to have caused these extremely painful attacks. He and his dad decided that it would be best to do the scan so they could get to the bottom of it.
The doctors at that time did not tell Brock exactly what was going on, but they did say something to the effect of, “it’s unfortunate that you had to go through what you did, but you have bigger problems on your hands now.” They did not tell Brock what they had found in the CT scan, but gave him the results and told him to take them back to his regular doctor in Alexandria.
So Brock and his dad left Colorado that afternoon, not quite sure what had just happened but definitely in shock at what could have happened.
It was not until a week later that Brock and his parents were told the unthinkable.
Brock had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, otherwise known as cancer.
It was a surreal moment for Brock and his mother, as neither of them was quite sure what that really meant or what was going to happen. They were immediately reassured that it is very treatable and that they would need to begin treatments as soon as possible.
After meeting with the doctor in Alexandria several times, Brock and his parents decided that they would seek the best treatment they knew—they would drive to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and see the best doctors in the world.
And thus, on November 15th, 2012, Brock’s life-changing cancer journey began at the Mayo Clinic.
"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
(To read about Brock's elk hunting trip from his uncle's point of view, click here.)