At first, Denny “Stretch” Williams chalked up his abdomen pain to a muscle strain. But the pain worsened over the next few months, and in January of 2022, Stretch was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Though difficult, Stretch and his wife were up front with their two teenagers and kept them in the loop each step of the way.
After five rounds of chemo and 28 radiation treatments, Stretch was declared NED, no evidence of disease, in the summer of 2022. Despite being free of cancer, however, his survivorship was just beginning. Scanxiety, survivor’s guilt, and even anger filled his thoughts. In March 2023, Stretch attended an Epic Experience winter camp and learned to take things less seriously, be free, and “just show up and live.” His advice, especially to male cancer survivors, is that it’s okay to reach out for help and to prioritize your mental health during the cancer journey.