[This is a guest post by Eric Jensen]:
I was 51 years old and training very hard to qualify for the National Senior Olympic Games. In May 2008 I went to the Virginia Senior Olympic Games. I won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles table tennis. I work as a test operator at Stihl chainsaw company. I trained very hard until Feb 27, 2009 and then found out that I had brain tumor! I had face seizures for 2 days. I went to the doctor and the nurse’s assistant said I should go back and wait in the lobby. About 5 minutes later I was called back.
They carried out some tests right way, cat scan, X-ray, then they told me the bad news: I had a brain tumor. I got my major seizure when I was going to hospital before the ambulance took me away. On March 3, 2009 they took out 99% of the tumor. The first question I asked when I got up: “Was I going to be able to play in National Senior Olympic Games Games in San Francisco, California in August 2009?” They said I had 2 years to live.
I moved to Surprise, AZ. to live. I got treatment at St. Joseph’s Hospital at Barrow Neuro-Oncology Clinic which is where the heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali had been treated. Then they changed their mind. I had 5 years to live. I got Chemo, Radiation and a drug called Temedor at a cost of $12,000 per pill. Then I did physical therapy and still my balance was not good. I still went to the Nationals. I was very weak on my right side and a side effect was that I could not spell, write or speak very well. I started training in my garage that the church gave me, I used a ping pong robot, played with my son and some players from a club near us.
So in August I went to National Senior Olympic Games and played in the singles tournament. I was 52 years old, I lost ever match but they were very close games! I had four matches in the group and at 52 and having just had a brain tumor 6 months before, I played very well.
My scores were:
1st match: 11-9, 14-12, 11-9
2nd match: 11-8, 16-14, 12-10
3rd match: 11-7, 11-9, 11-9
4th match: 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 14-12
I won one game out of 13 games across 4 matches. I came to play only 6 months after my tumor. I was so glad that I played and made some new friends. I am still playing to get to Nationals again this time it will be different,when I go to St.Paul, Minnesota in August 2015. I will see all you there, I will be in the 56-59 age group, I will be 58.
Eric C. Jensen
(Eric is picture below wearing the green t-shirt and blue headband).