I was so honored to get to sit down and talk with this amazing man and get his story on how he is able to deadlift 600 pounds when the doctors told him several years earlier to get his affairs in order because there was nothing they could do for him.
For those of you who don’t know D Anthony Evans, he is a cancer warrior, insane body builder, fitness expert, inspirational speaker, medical miracle, and a whole lotta fun to interview.
D has neurofibromatosis (NF); a condition that attacks the nerve tissue. NF causes tumors to form anywhere in the body at any time. The tumors are particularly dangerous when they grow around the spine and often cause paralysis and death.
When D felt something in his back as he was working out, he practically had to beg his doctor for an MRI to see what was causing the pain. The MRI results showed a 2-pound tumor pressing up against his spine. It tested out to be MPNST, Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor. The average life expectancy is 6 months – 5 years. As a result of the MRI and the biopsy, the doctors told him he had no chance of survival and suggested he check into hospice. (Hospice is like a hospital, but you go there to be kept comfortable at the end of your life when there is no hope for recovery.)
But D is the son of a fighter. His mom, while battling HIV/AIDS, helped others prevent the disease by handing out literature and condoms at high schools. D knew that he could not give up this fight. He “used the pain” to “push himself to greatness”. He soon discovered that his grueling exercise routine was actually one of the main things that was fighting his cancer and keeping him alive.
And as you can see, D is alive….and then some! Check out the Savvy Sister in action at a recent sit-down in The Windy City:
It’s clear that there was a definite strategy to D’s survival, and it’s a strategy that I am finding more common among those who have seemed to stay a step ahead of their cancer diagnosis. (Most of these strategies have been discussed in my book 100 Perks of Having Cancer plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It co-authored with fellow blogger and cancer survivor Flo Strang.)
The captions you see in the video point out things that D did, and is doing, to live a happy and healthy life…and it doesn’t stop with cancer. These things can be applied to any adversity you have in your own life.
- “Their crazy is my normal”. He was true to himself.
- Be persistent. He pressed his doctor to test him because he knew something was wrong.
- Choose your doctor wisely. His doctor knew him and knew D would not give up on life.
- Know your options and risks. He refused chemo because he did his research.
- Take a negative message and turn it into a positive one. Told he would have cancer as a child, he started preparing for the fight instead of accepting his fate.
- Have faith in what “is”. Used what has happened in the past to lift and empower him to face current challenges.
- Don’t let cancer dictate, define, or control your quality of life. He is more than his disease…his situation…his circumstances.
- Don’t let your circumstances dictate your happiness. Only he can choose to find happiness in life…no matter what life brings.
- Be mindful. He’s learned to live in the moment which leads to better health and happiness.
- Change your perception of food. Food is either makes you strong, or makes you sick.
- Never stop learning. He was open to alter his life choices for health and happiness based on any new information he found and he never stops searching!
D has had 9 surgeries to remove over 250 tumors. He had a breast implant tissue expander inserted in between his scalp and skull to stretch the skin on his scalp so he could have reconstruction to repair the damage done when the tumors were removed on his head. (You can see a picture of D with his “hat” here) For those of you who have had tissue expanders in your chest, just imagine the same thing…in your scalp! He had 3rd degree burns on his back from radiation. But through all the surgeries, doctor’s visits, medications, and pain, his attitude has not wavered and he has managed to keep exercising and weight lifting through it all. He often says his work outs are what saved him and what keeps him going.
He is a plant-based eating, body building, cancer kicking, mindful practicing, positive thinking, fun-to-be-around, cool dude. I honestly did not want the interview to end…
Follow D Anthony Evans here on Facebook and check out his website where you can see his story, soak up some inspiration, and take a look at his pictures. He posts some pretty radical videos of workouts and weight lifting that he does on Facebook so I would definitely follow him there. If you need motivation (or just need to be shamed into starting an exercise program), just watch D in action.
Please share if know someone who can use a kick in the ass.