Eastern York boys' basketball coach Jon Reichard returned to teaching social studies at the high school earlier this week.
After undergoing surgery on Oct. 12 for prostate cancer, it was a good sign in Reichard's recovery that he could get back to work.
Back in April, Reichard underwent a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test that detected that his blood levels were high. At the time, doctors put Reichard on antibiotics for the next two months, and when he returned for a checkup in June, the blood levels remained the same. He was then sent to see a urologist, where the cancer was detected.
"The other exam that males go through did not show any signs of anything," Reichard said. "It was actually the blood test that saved my life."
It's been a month since Reichard underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins to take care of the cancer and, since then, all signs point to him being cancer free.
"I got the pathology report back and at this point, my margins were clear, both my lymph nodes were clear, so they figure that I'm cancer-free at this point," Reichard said. "So, I will not have to go through chemo or radiation or anything like that."
Lots of support: Reichard received great support from former West York boys' basketball coach Bill Ackerman during his treatment because Ackerman underwent the same procedure.
He still has to go back for checkups three months, six months and a year after his surgery, and if his PSA tests show zero, he should be cleared.
With the Eastern York athletic community recently experiencing the death of Brandon Hohenadel after his long battle with cancer, and then Reichard going through his own fight, Reichard really experienced the tight-knit community of the Golden Knights.
"It's a special place when it comes to that," Reichard said. "I had so many emails and so many messages on Facebook and the students were awesome when they found out about it. I had to let my classes know because I didn't want to leave them in the cold. I pretty much told them and the kids were awesome. The community has been unbelievable — the cards, the visitors, the phone calls. Even Brandon Hohenadel's mom, Lisa Culp, called my wife the day after I got out of surgery to find out how I was right after he passed away. That takes a special person to do something like that."
Expecting to coach: With the good news on his prognosis, Reichard now expects to be on the sideline for the upcoming basketball season with Eastern.
Reichard was with the team during open gym on Wednesday night, and while he was still feeling some post-procedure symptoms, he expects them to subside over time and they shouldn't have too much impact on him as the 2016-17 season nears.
"I get very tired quick and am still dealing with some other issues as far as post-surgery stuff that I'm going through," he said. "But, they'll get better with time."
The Golden Knights are coming off a strong 2015-16 season in which they went 22-7, finished second in York-Adams League Division II, took second in the District 3 Class 3-A playoffs and made it to the state tournament.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org