‘I’d rather be here on the battlefield’: Forsyth County detention officer battles rare form of cancer

Piedmont Triad News

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — What started as a typical day for Forsyth County Detention Officer Chris Dean took a quick turn that ended up with him in the hospital diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer.

“I didn’t feel anything, I just was able to look at it and say, OK, that’s not normal,” Dean said.

In late May, the father of four and grandfather to half a dozen, took a routine trip to the bathroom while at work.

He said the color of his urine was unnatural.

“Almost tea-like” he described.

Fearful there might be blood in his urine, he contacted his wife, Dr. Karen Dean, who immediately scheduled her husband a doctor’s appointment.

With a few hours, Chris Dean was having tests done to determine what was causing the issue.

After tests, including a CT scan, doctors discovered he had clear cell urothelial carcinoma in his bladder. The cancer is so rare that doctors reportedly told Dean and his wife that treatment would be experimental.

Karen Dean said that she is the planner of the family, so when she learned the cancer was extremely rare, she immediately began to do research of her own.

“In 2021, only six people that had this,” she said.

Dean underwent treatment on June 1, and then again on July 2, which resulted in doctors feeling confident enough that they removed most of the cancer, if not all of it.

However, on Thursday, Dean will begin a new sequence of injections to limit any possibility of the cancer returning.

“There is a 60 to 80 percent chance that this will come back,” Chris Dean said.

Dean and his wife have begun to lean on each other more, their family, and their faith – including the congregation at his church Judah Ministries Family Enrichment Center in Winston-Salem.

Karen Dean said, of her faith, that she carried around a notecard with her husband’s diagnosis on it wherever she goes.

“To God, I hold this up to go, and I’ll say surly this isn’t bigger than you. You know about this. We may not know about it. But according to your word, this isn’t bigger than you. I need you to fix this,” she said.

To read more of Chis Dean’s journey, visit his family’s GoFundMe page.

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