On October 28, Henderson Silver Knights head coach Manny Viveiros shared on HSK Today with Brian McCormack that he had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Read the full transcript of their conversation here.
Brian McCormack: Manny thank you for joining us today. Can you speak about your diagnosis and why you’ve had to take a medical leave of absence to start the season?
Manny Viveiros: Unfortunately, I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had to take a leave of absence at the first part of the season here. We’ve been trying at the very early stages of this to figure out a game plan of what we want to do going forward. Now that we have one in place through the doctors, we have an opportunity now to go after this and treat it. I’ve been able to get back to work, which is for me a really important part of my life. I’m going to be able to do that until about mid-December, and then I’m going to have to take another leave of absence for a short time to have the surgery done.
BM: How did you learn of this challenge, and what was the first course of action for you?
MV: It started with a simple blood test. The staff and players of the Vegas Golden Knights organization at the main training camp went through physicals and everybody got a blood test. My PSA levels came back really high and we did a follow up of another blood test and they came back very high again. Right away the VGK medical staff set me up with a urologist here in Las Vegas. I went in and saw him and obviously he was very concerned right away. He checked me out and we ended up doing a biopsy and unfortunately it came back that I do have prostate cancer. Since then, I’ve been away for almost a month now and we’ve been trying to formulate a game plan as far as how we’re going to go forward. There is staging in this as far as once you find out you have prostate cancer, you have to find out in certain aspects if it’s spread or not and if it has gone into your bones. So far there has been really good news in that regard that it hasn’t. That has a real positive impact toward my recovery.
BM: What has the relationship been like with your care providers?
MV: They’ve been outstanding. You never really take the time to think about what these people do until you need them. Quite honestly I’ve been healthy all my life. Without having this test done I wouldn’t have even known I was sick. Just the care and the knowledge and the compassion they show in everything they do to help me educate myself and also my family in what to expect going forward and giving us the best opportunity to beat this. The care I’ve had here in Las Vegas, also I’ve reached out to an out-of-state provider for another opinion, too, they’ve been outstanding.
BM: You’ve gotten some good news since your diagnosis, but what were some of the initial challenges for you when you initially learned of this?
MV: First and foremost in situations like this, for myself, you become very selfish. You ask yourself, “Why me?” The first thing you think of is your family — my wife and my boys. I still get emotional talking about this sometimes, but you think about your family. You want to be there. You want to be there for a long period of time. That comes into your thoughts right away. Having said that, for the first part we did have a game plan because you have to go back and see how far the cancer has gone along and how you’re going to treat it and how you’re going to beat it. We’ve got some very positive news where the doctors are quite confident that we have a good chance of curing this and in fact beating this. For the first time in about three weeks here we have a plan. For me and our staff here, our livelihoods are built off of plans. A lot of it was not knowing what was going to happen in the future, but now we have a game plan to go after this and do whatever we can to beat this thing.
BM: And this diagnosis was a surprise to you when it came, making that physical at the start of the season quite important.
MV: Quite frankly, it probably saved my life. Just having a simple blood test. I’m at the age where I’m over 50 and in perfect health. You just never know. I figured if I feel good, there’s probably nothing wrong. Just getting a simple blood test can make the difference in catching something very early or saving a person’s life. I can’t help but encourage people, especially if there’s a history in their family, to just go get a simple blood test. That can make a world of difference in the future.
BM: How you and the coaching staff have handled the circumstances to start the season?
MV: They’ve been wonderful. First and foremost, they’re all dear friends of mine and they’re quality people and great coaches. I knew at the time I was going to be away, I didn’t have to worry one bit. I knew that they were going to pick up extra duties that normally I wouldn’t do. They all chipped in and helped out in a way to make sure that everything was running as smooth as possible. They did an outstanding job, as well as General Manager Tim Speltz and all of our staff that’s involved with HSK. Everybody kind of picked up in some areas that they normally wouldn’t be asked to, as far as their roles were concerned. HSK, my staff and my players — they’re an extension of my family. It’s good to be back. It’ll be good to be back with those guys tomorrow again. Today was my first day back with the guys [at practice] again. It’s good to surround yourself with people you really want to be with. Like I said, they are an extension of my family. It’s really important to be around these guys and I can’t wait to get back behind the bench.
BM: You will be back on the bench tomorrow morning. How excited are you to be back in your spot with the team?
MV: From a selfish point of view, tomorrow’s game can’t come early enough. Even if it was at 7 o’clock in the morning, I’d be there early enough and ready to go. It’s certainly something I’m really looking forward to. Getting back and just getting the opportunity to compete alongside my staff and our players. That’s something we’re really looking forward to.