2nd year player diagnosed with lymphoma in June
HOUSTON - Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry is currently fighting the battle of his life.
Somehow though, he still finds time to watch film of the team's practice.
""I try to watch that as much as possible, man," Quessenberry said. "That is what I love to do, you know; football player through and through."
Quessenberry spoke to the media on Saturday via conference call. It was the first time he has given a group interview since being diagnosed with lymphoma back in June.
"I'm feeling good. Today has been a good day for me," Quessenberry said. "My counts are really low right now. I'm actually neutropenia, which means my white blood cell counts are almost zero. But I feel good enough that I am actually getting a workout in right now. I like to take advantage of good days."
The 2nd year man from San Jose State started his treatments at MD Anderson in Houston. He is currently back home with family in San Diego and recently completed the 3rd round of chemotherapy.
He is scheduled to undergo his fourth round soon and will finish out his treatments in Houston.
"I'm part of a research and trial drug at MD Anderson that can only be administered at MD Anderson and that is round five in Houston," Quessenberry said. "We'll be there around the team for the season and I'll finish out the rest of my five treatments out there—treatments five through ten—in Houston."
Quessenberry noticed that something was wrong during some of the first off-season work-outs back in May. Thanks to the help of the Texans medical staff, he found was able to learn what was ailing him.
"I knew something was bothering me. I got tired really quickly; that wasn't like me, but I thought it was just chest congestion, mucus in my chest, or something. I couldn't breathe right. I was taking medicine and I was doing these things and it just never got better," Quessenberry said. "Eventually one thing led to another and it got so bad that Geoff Kaplan, our head trainer, came for me after practice one day and said, 'Hey man, you do not look good. You need to go see the team doctor and get yourself checked out because I know something is wrong.' Thank God he did that because later that day, they found two liters of fluid in my lungs, which had to be drained immediately, and then they also went on to find the Lymphoma mass in my chest. They said that if the two liters in my lungs had been left alone and untreated, I could have potentially drowned from the fluid on the field."
Fighting off lymphoma is the biggest challenge Quessenberry has ever had to face. But keeping him motivated through it all is football, more specifically his teammates who he says have been amazing during his ordeal.
"First of all, I'm speechless about my teammates. I think it is a testament to the organization that the Texans are," Quessenberry said. "I mean not just the teammates, but we're talking from the top to the bottom, inside and out. I'm so blessed to be a part of such a tremendous organization."
On Saturday, Texans players and coaches wore "Texans for DQ" shirts to practice. The shirts are currently for sale and the proceeds will benefit the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
The goal is to raise $100,000 and the money will be donated to the cause in David's name.
"I think it is huge. I've said it before, if I had been diagnosed with this disease 10 years ago, my chances of survival would have been completely different," Quessenberry said. "Definitely I wouldn't be sitting here talking playing football again one day, which is the end goal for me. So just raising awareness and setting the goal of raising the money for cancer research has been definitely a blessing throughout this process for me."
But, back to watching video of practice…
Head coach Bill O'Brien was surprised to find out that Quessenberry even wanted to watch the happenings of practice. After all, he has other things he should be focusing on.
"He called our video guy the other day to make sure that he could fix what was going on with his Surface tablet or whatever to make sure he got film of practice to watch film," O'Brien said. "He's just a special guy. He means a lot to this team and to especially the offensive linemen."
And the offensive lineman, especially Chris Myers, mean a lot to him.
"Chris has been amazing, amazing friend through this whole process," Quessenberry said. "An amazing teammate and he has really been one of the guys that I've leaned on him being a veteran and a leader on the team that has helped me through the process early on. I think the t-shirts go to show you how much he does care."
"He's trying to get back here as soon as possible," Myers said. "He's got to get his levels back up, but DQ is a grinder and a fighter that I tip my hat to because I could never attest to how it is, but I know a lot of people that do it, he's a stronger person than I am, that's for sure."
Quessenberry plans on being back with the Texans to watch them take the field for the season opener.
"Absolutely, absolutely, that's something that I would really, really like to be a part of," he said. "That's just another fight within the fight that always has to be taken into (account), but being at that game is a goal of mine and I think I'm going to be able to make it happen."