Well let me start by saying, I've been a huge hughes fan for a few years now, and i've sometimes lurked in the shadows on these forums while sitting at work, but not until now have i ever felt i had something to contribute.
I'm a US Marine, and i've been serving since before i graduated high school in 2005. My first Duty station was camp Pendleton CA, where I stayed from 2005-2007. From there I had a place in Temecula, where i occasionally trained with Cory Cass.
In October of 2007 I got sent to Okinawa Japan, and little did i know, that place would turn my life upside down...
I kept myself in pretty good shape, but kind of fell out of the loop on MMA and the like, because i didnt have a TV, and because i didnt have anyone to roll with. About a year passed, and then i met some friends who liked to Grappel and liked to wrestle. We started up an all Marine after work grappeling tournement every thursday after working hours, and it grew. Eventually cardboard title belts were handed out, and me and my friend Jake were the only two that passed it off from week to week. Eventually i wound up with cracked ribs and fell out of that.
Jake, later found a place out in town where the local Japanese comepeted and would let the Americans come out and try their skill. I never really got to deep into a 'formal' training, other then looking on technique websites, and growing up getting beat up by my brother and sister. Long story short, my first fight i wound up getting clocked in the mouth by a stray shot and was out. I was awake before i hit the ground, so it was more of a knock down then a knock out, and the reff still called it... whatever.
But that set a fire under me, and all i did was train train train... until i started having severe pain in my groin area and lower back. I went to the docs on November 27 and went into surgery where they... well, ill be blunt... they took my right nut. From there i was put on bed rest and told to come back on Dec 31st for the pathology report.
New years eve day rolls around and i went to see my doctor.. i had high spirits and was already talking to the stadium about my rematch...
I sat down, not as sore as i had been, and my doctor comes in stone faced and without expression... "You have embroynal carinoma stage two, with growths in your abdomen. We need to cut you open and take all your lymphnodes asap"
Wow. I had never been hit that hard in my life.
The surgery had some gnarly side effects, and the like which i had wanted nothing to do with, and i hesitantly asked for a second opinon. Less then two weeks, on January 12th (my 22nd Birthday) i was on a plane, from Japan to San Diego to have a meeting with the Oncology department and discuss chemo on Jan 13 (my Fathers birthday)
Jan 14 i started chemo 5 days a week, and i was originally slotted for 4 cycles of 3 weeks each, but on March 5th 2009 I had been told i was done with chemo after 2 cycles. I beat it early. I still have follow ups every month to ensure that it doesnt come back. [im trying not to make this TOO long and waste peoples time, so if your interested the full cancer blog is at www.caringbridge.com/visit/kevineri
Well that brings us to now... The whole chemo thing hurt the most because after almost 6 months of training non stop and beating myself silly, and being in the best shape of my life, just for it all to be thrown out the window by medical problems completely beyond my control.. My mom had sent me an Autographed copy of Made in America and used to pray with me daily on the phone, and i still think of those, and Matt's always positive attitude as an inspiration...
Joe Duarte visited my base here in san diego a couple days ago, and well, my first time on a matt since cancer, and i was grappeling Joe Duarte. I jumped him into my closed guard and had his right arm... but in the end he got me with a rear naked choke. The local news had heard a Cancer Patient was in the ring with a Pro and came running... I may have lost, but the pictures, videos, and news story, have made the fire bigger, and i'm set on finding a gym and partners, and ill be back full swing and better then before in no time!
Plus since they took a part of me, i have gotten a sick new ring name... The Wrekking Ball!
But i guess all i wanted to accomplish by this massive rambel was to say thank you. To not just Matt, but to the Hughes family as a whole. Because reading his story and seeing his success, proved and showed me theres a light at the end of the tunnel....
...And for the record too, i couldnt have done it without my wife! Even though she was in Japan during chemo, and my family was in florida, I dont feel i did it alone, but thats another story yet again...
Thank you again, Matt, if you ever see these!
And my last thought... if Lance Armstrong is HUGE for beating cancer and riding a bike.... just you wait till im back competing... watch out world!