Trey Mancini’s days are full of doing what many others have been during this unusual period. While he’s been binge watching “The Office” and “The Wire,” the Oriole outfielder’s viewing has been taking place during chemotherapy.
Mancini, who had colon cancer surgery on March 12, had his first chemotherapy session on April 13, and another on Monday, and will continue treatments every two weeks until mid-October.
“From the second I got the diagnosis, I knew I had to accept it pretty quickly,” Mancini said on Wednesday in a video conference call, a day after he wrote an article about his experience for The Players’ Tribune.
“I didn’t really mope around too much. Don’t get me wrong. It was really tough, especially in the first few days, and talking to the team was really tough, too, and telling them what was going on. I think accepting it pretty quickly, and just knowing this is what’s going to happen, that helped me a lot.
“Going into my surgery, we weren’t sure if it was later Stage 2 or early Stage 3, so there was a possibility I wasn’t going to have to do chemotherapy. Actually, the doctor called me on the morning of my birthday [March 18], and told me, three of my 23 lymph nodes … tested positive for cancer.”
Mancini said his decision on chemotherapy was “a no-brainer.”
His father, an OB-GYN physician, had colon cancer in 2011, and that experience helped Mancini understand the process. Mancini’s father did not require chemotherapy.
“He had been through a few tough weeks himself,” Mancini said. “Having somebody like that, especially someone I’m as close with as my dad, really helped me to go through with all this. He’s another person, obviously, the biggest person I’ve learned on through this.”
Mancini chose his treatment plan because it allows him the best chance of returning to the Orioles for 2021.
“I have no doubt in my mind I’ll be back playing baseball,” he said.
After the surgery, Mancini learned from his family that spring training had been halted.
“It was just a weird day,” Mancini said. “It’s been a weird couple of months for all of us. I’ve been doing what I would have, anyway, post-surgery. It’s a little weird that the world stopped at the same time. It’s just a weird coincidence.
“I hope that there’s a safe way that baseball returns. It’s so strange not having sports on, especially baseball right now. It’s the first time in my whole life since I was 5 years old that I’m not playing baseball in late April and early May.”
Mancini has experienced some loss of appetite, fatigue and sensitivity to cold. He’s hoping to continue exercising, lifting light weights, and has run a few times.
“I’m definitely able to do some things,” Mancini said. “Not as much as I’m used to. I’m going to do everything to try to keep up physically. When you go through this, you lose a little weight. You want to maintain and build that back up while you’re going through chemo.”
Mancini waited until this week to talk about his condition because of the coronavirus.
“There’s been so many people going through tough times and suffering,” Mancini said. “So many people have lost family members, and it’s just thrown the world for a loop. I wanted to stay out of the headlines for a little bit. I wanted to take a little time and go through everything normally, start the chemo normally without everybody in the world knowing what’s going on.”
Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said it’s been a tough time for the organization.
“This was something that was difficult for all of us to process,” Elias said. “I was impressed with the way he and his family and everyone just kind of proceeded step-by-step with what we had to do. Now, I’m feel we’re at a really good spot.
“We see him and hear from him, and he’s so upbeat and you see his strength and his youth and his health. We all know that this is going to be a matter of time.
“It’s tough for our organization. It’s tough for our team. We’re going through a really tough period. We’re going to be out for a while—without our best player, and a big heartbeat in our clubhouse. He’s still going to be around, and I think that’s going to be all the more special when he gets back. It’s going to mean a lot for us and the progress we’re making as an organization when Trey Mancini comes back to us.”