Take it to the house … Gary Dolphin is cancer free.
“Tell everyone I’m ready to go for a great year of Hawkeye football,” Iowa’s longtime football broadcaster said, minus one of the touchdown phrases he uses during games.
“Clean bill of health.”
When the Cascade native and Dubuque resident wakes up Thursday monring, it will be exactly a year since doctors diagnosed him with prostate cancer.
Forty-two radiation treatments later, Dolphin is excited about beginning his 16th consecutive Iowa broadcasting season when the Hawkeyes face Northern Illinois on Sept. 1 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
“When the urologist dropped the bomb on me, he said it would be one year from the time I was diagnosed that I would start feeling back to normal,” said Dolphin, 60.
“He was right. I feel back to normal.”
No more Friday morning radiation treatments followed by afternoon charter flights to wherever the Hawkeye football or men’s basketball team played. No more treatment-related tiredness.
No more sneaking up the back stairs en route to treatment.
“Actually, I only did that a few times at the beginning of the treatment process,” Dolphin said. “I wasn’t going to be in the mood to talk Iowa football and basketball, sitting in the waiting room waiting for treatment, but that didn’t last long.
“I didn’t want preferential treatment. I wasn’t Jimmy Buffett. I was in the waiting room with everyone else, and it was eye-opening.
“It’s incredible how many people were in the same situation. We became each other’s support network.”
Dolphin didn’t miss a game. He drove 136 miles round trip between his home in Dubuque and Iowa City weekly for Kirk Ferentz and Fran McCaffery radio shows.
He worked their weekly television shows, and hosted summer I-Club booster events.
“The amazing thing about it, if you didn’t know he was going through treatment, you’d never have known,” Ferentz said. “He never broke stride.”
Nor did Dolphin consider missing the Michigan State-Iowa football game at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 12 — despite waking up in an Iowa City hotel at 4:30 a.m. on game day, his face noticeably swollen after an adverse reaction to medication.
“It happened a few times, but it never included my tongue swelling up, too,” Dolphin said. “That’s when I started panicking.
“I could do the game with swollen cheeks, but with a swollen tongue — that’d be difficult.”
Dolphin knew sports information director Steve Roe’s wife, Janet, worked in the radiology department at University of Iowa Hospitals, so he texted Steve.
Through Janet, Dolphin contacted a doctor. By late morning, the swelling subsided.
“That was the only real scare throughout it all,” Dolphin said. “It was the only time I wondered if I was going to miss a game.”
Dolphin praised doctors and nurses, mentioning their willingness to work last Thanksgiving weekend when Iowa and Nebraska played a rare Friday game.
“The doctor and the girls came in on a Sunday to take care of me,” Dolphin said.
McCaffery and Ferentz said they would juggle their radio and television shows, if Dolphin needed to rest.
“I told him that if he ever wanted to stay at our house sometime instead of driving back to Dubuque, he was more than welcome to do it,” Ferentz said. “He never took me up on it. That’s how he is.
“I saw him three or four times a week. He didn’t cut back on his schedule one bit. He was amazing.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football