After a harrowing battle with two devastating diagnoses, a sergeant with the Dallas Police Department is on the mend and planning to once again take the ice with his teammates on the Dallas Police Department hockey team.
NBC 5 covered Sgt. Brian Simonds' story earlier this year, after he was diagnosed with Stage 3 testicular cancer that reached his lungs and lymph nodes. The married father of six is president of the Dallas Police Hockey Foundation and helped raise thousands of dollars for fallen officers' families after the July 7th, 2016 ambush on DART and Dallas Police. When he was diagnosed, his team rallied around him to support his family through the battle.
"My family my team, they were with me through the whole thing," Simonds said.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Since his diagnoses last December, Simonds underwent three rounds of chemotherapy and a battle with rhinovirus that put him in the hospital. But, while undergoing treatment, doctors found a new problem.
"It felt, at the time, like a death sentence – almost. I'm in a hospital bed and they tell you something like that, you don't know what's to come," said Simonds.
Simonds says doctors did an echocardiogram to figure out what was causing extreme shortness of breath. The scan found a clot in his heart that turned out to be a cardiac myxoma. Doctors told Simonds the condition was unrelated to his cancer diagnosis.
He suffered a heart attack and had to have heart surgery, but Simonds says he wouldn't have caught the myxoma had he not already been undergoing treatment for testicular cancer.
"In my opinion, it's a miracle because you have one sickness that is essentially killing your body and that, in turn, saves your life from something else that would have killed you as well. Now, both are gone so it's pretty amazing," Simonds said.
He's now in remission. Simonds returned to work last week, investigating assaults and non-fatal shootings at the Dallas Police Department.
Simonds plans to play in his first hockey game since his diagnosis this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Star Center at 12700 N. Stemmons Freeway in Farmers Branch.
"A lot of people want me to just take it easy," Simonds said. "Knowing how bad it was, I don't want to slow down. I know how bad it could get and I don't want to get close to that. I want to get as far away from that as I can."