Keith Bright finishes cancer treatment, hopes to rejoin Heat coaching staff soon

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 8:36 AM

Just hours before Miami'south Nov. three residence game against the Atlanta Hawks, Bright was diagnosed with a slow-growing cancer called Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans.

Keith Bright finishes cancer treatment, hopes to rejoin Heat coaching staff soon

Miami Heat helper coach Keith Bright was reunited with the team Friday night for the first time since completing thirty radiation treatments for a scarce form of skin cancer.

Just hours before Miami'south Nov. three residence game against the Atlanta Hawks, Bright was diagnosed with a slow-growing cancer called Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans. The former NBA head coach underwent a 15-hour surgery on Dec. fourteen for the skin cancer that resided on his left cheek and also had a skin graft from his leg.

In order to drop his chances of the cancer returning to 1-in-500, Bright took portion in thirtieth radiation treatments in San Francisco that began on Feb. seventeen, with weekends off, and ended Tuesday. His visit with the Heat on Friday was his first game since he attended a residence contest Jan. nineteen against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"It'south been an fascinating ride," Bright told ESPN'south The Undefeated. "I've a unique experience of understanding [cancer] now."

Three of Smart'south teeth had to be removed prior to the radiation treatments because of concern about infection. He lost about twenty-five pounds, while losing his taste buds and becoming extremely fatigued. He recently had a stretch of cancer treatment days so horrible that his wife, Carol, had to force him to eat. He didn't have the energy to return some text messages from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

But with his radiation treatments completed, Bright said he feels energized and is expected to return to Miami soon for practice, with hopes to rejoin the coaching staff during the playoffs.

"As long as he's his energy, it'south basically going to be about what he can eat," Carol Bright said. "My anticipation is in the following couple of weeks he'll be excellent to go.'"

"Anytime he feels prepared to go, let'south go. It'south however he feels," Spoelstra told The Undefeated.

Recalling the time he was fired by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive in "a 26-second phone call," Bright said the support he received from the all Heat organization during his cancer fight was deeply appreciated.

Heat players regularly kept in touch with Bright via text. Dwyane Wade gave him postgame shout-outs on television. The Heat would text Bright team pictures after some wins, and before Bright departed for his latest radiation treatment, he received a box at his house in Dublin, California, from Spoelstra that included a written note, snacks, notebooks, pens and sentimental cough drops from his desk in excited anticipation of his soon return to work.

"I just wanted to let him know we're thinking of him," Spoelstra said. "After the Cleveland win, Luol Deng called him and keep him on speaker phone so he can celebrate with him."

Bright has been looking forward to getting a soul food snack as soon as his taste buds arrive back and has even been looking at restaurant menus online.

"I wish fried chicken, ruddy beans and rice, greens and cornbread," Bright said with a enormous grin. "Oh, and I wish a grand hamburger, too."

There is a cable car bell hanging on the wall at the Radiation Oncology clinic at Mount Zion Hospital, and it rings only when a cancer patient completes his latest treatment. With one powerful draw of a string, a clanging and motivational sound can be heard by nearby patients waging similar fights against the disease.

Bright enthusiastically pulled the string several times to evoke a joyful noise after completing the latest of his thirty treatments.

"Some people won't ring the bell because their situation will change," Bright said, "but I got a chance to ring the bell, and of course, I'd to obtain instructed on how to ring it. I was just going to draw it one time, just 'bing,' and be out of there.

"But I just went, 'Bing, bing, bing.' I don't know what it was, but it was complete joy that I finally made it through."

Said Dr. Sue Yom: "That day is very emotional for people. You've to label it in some way so it remains a positive, special thing for them."

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