By Brian Compton
The Trenton Titans will try to rebound from back-to-back losses at Peoria when they play at Dayton on Wednesday.
But that’s nothing compared to what Lynn Beedle has rebounded from.
The 26-year-old from nearby Bethlehem, Pa., is loving life these days as a member of the Titans, but it was only a couple of years ago that Beedle was in danger of having no life at all. Like so many other men, Beedle underwent a bout with testicular cancer.
Only Beedle refused to lose.
It was in 2001 when the Titans’ forward wasn’t feeling well. For some reason, he felt a sudden pain in his groin. When the pain wouldn’t go away, Beedle went to the doctor to find out what was going on.
“It was kind of a progressive pain,” Beedle said. “It wasn’t extreme, but it was noticeable. It was a good three weeks that I felt pain down there and I finally got it checked out. They sent me to the hospital to get a scan. It was a tumor.”
Beedle underwent surgery to have the testicle removed. For a while, things were fine. But then the cancer came back, and stronger than ever. His young life was in danger of being taken away from him. He was forced to undergo stem-cell transplants in an effort to save his life.
“Doctors said I had a 40 percent chance of survival,” Beedle said. “Testicle cancer is like 99 percent curable. I had all three variants that you could have. It got a little frustrating. My wife and my parents were super supportive.”
Beedle admitted there were times when he at least wondered if he was going to die. But even that didn’t stop his willingness to survive. He wanted to win. He was going to win.
“Things aren’t permanent,” Beedle said. “I was in the hospital and the person next to me passed away. You start to realize, ‘Hey, I’m no different than anybody else.’ You could be gone. I definitely had an appreciation for the fact that you’re not here permanently. I was never in a position where I lost my spirits. I kept pushing.”
And despite the constant pain his body was undergoing, it was just as painful for his wife and parents to watch. Beedle always kept his wits to make the experience a bit easier for the people who love him most.
“I think it’s harder for the people supporting you than for the person actually dealing with it,” Beedle said. “If I can take it on the chin and make it easier for the people supporting me, that’s better off. My dad’s real quiet, but you could tell he was real bugged by it. My mom would break down and hug me. They were real supportive.”
So was his wife, who luckily is in the military, which took care of the bill. Beedle said the medical costs were in excess of $700,000. The cancer came back shortly after Beedle was first married.
“If I hadn’t been married to her, I’d be dead,” Beedle said. “She’s in the military and I was covered under her. She wasn’t deployed overseas because of the life-threatening situation. Everything kind of works out in the right ways.”
The transplants were a success. Beedle was able to go back to Norwich and play hockey again. In his first game back, he had a four-point night.
“That was cool. Everyone knew my situation and everyone was supportive. It was very cool.”
And it’s gotten even cooler. A friendship with Jerramie Domish has landed him a spot on the Trenton Titans. Beedle has gone from a near-death experience to playing in the ECHL.
“Every time I walk out of the gate and see the arena, it puts everything into perspective,” Beedle said. “It’s just great. You put the jersey on, you put the helmet on. You’re playing with great players. The coaches have been great. It’s a treat all around. This is totally awesome. I’m just doing whatever I can to help out the team. This is cool.”
As for the many men who are currently battling testicular cancer, Beedle has some advice.
“Stay on that middle road and realize there’s ups and downs,” Beedle said. “Stay collective with yourself. Don’t ever lose help. Surround yourself with people who support you. Afterwards, continue to get checked out. You don’t want to go and find out, but you have to go. If you don’t, it could be too late.”
Beedle just recently visited his doctor. The news was good.
“I just had a checkup, and I’m 2½ years cancer-free,” Beedle said.
And living life to the fullest. While Beedle succeeded in his goal to beat cancer, there’s something else he’d now like to do.
“I would like to score a goal,” Beedle said. “I haven’t scored a competitive goal in three years now. If I scored a goal, it would definitely get the juices flowing in me again. When Domer first called me, I had these hockey dreams. I had all these good feelings that I had back in college or when I was a kid. To play with these professionals, it’s such a treat for my family. My dad loves it. My wife’s so excited. She’s telling everybody about it. It’s definitely brought back some emotion that I’d like to hold on to as long as I can.”