It has been a month since Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed to have leukemia, as verified by ESPN. In spite of his condition, the latest developments point to Pagano taking a significant step toward recovery and that he remains upbeat.
In its October 1 report, ESPN stated Colts owner Jim Irsay maintained a positive attitude even during the initial diagnosis:
"I am optimistic. I feel with every fiber of my body and I know Chuck feels the same way that he can beat this thing," Irsay said.
It seems Irsay knew what he was talking about.
On October 30, Evan Hilbert of CBS Sports reported Pagano made a surprise visit to the coaches' staff meeting last Monday after being kept in hospital isolation to prevent further infection.
The CBS Sports report also quoted Colts interim coach Bruce Arians as saying Pagano "had a great visit with his doctors and his counts were way up, he was feeling good, so he stopped in and was able to sit in the office with his staff and listen to everybody's comment about the game."
Arians also points out that in addition to the increase in Pagano's white blood cell count, he will also go through a second round of chemotherapy next week.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star verifies Pagano's positive checkup, and added this took place at Indiana University's Health Simon Cancer Center where he was also released on October 21. The coach was also confirmed by the report to have shown up at the meeting around 11:00 am with his wife Tina, and stayed for a few hours.
When Pagano dropped by, he was mobbed by several Colts including Cory Redding, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Drake Nevis.
Upon showing some signs of fatigue during the meeting, Pagano was chased out by his coaching staff to encourage him to get some rest.
Colts fans have been supporting their ailing coach, most notably by way of the CHUCKSTRONG battle cry which has taken the city of Indianapolis by storm and is also making waves on Facebook and Twitter.
The Colts have been playing on emotion ever since the diagnosis. They currently have a 4-3 record through Week 8 of the 2012 regular season—an overachievement in the eyes of many experts after a tumultuous 2-14 campaign in 2011.
With the promising signs Pagano has been showing during treatment, and with the emotional support he's been getting from his family, friends, the team and the city, he should be able to conquer this challenge one step at a time.
Now, that is indeed CHUCKSTRONG.