AUBURN, Calif. - Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant provides the media and the community with important information when there is a fire. A self-prescribed 'healthy guy' who's always on the go, Berlant is nothing short of active; imagine his shock when Berlant, at just 29 years old, learned he had testicular cancer.
When he's not out on a fire, Berlant can often be found in the Auburn hills with his thoroughbred, Brooke. Their relationship began with him saving her from a slaughter house three years ago, but what we learned from this story, is that in the end, it was Brooke who really saved Berlant.
"If it wasn't for her, I never would have gone to the doctor, and who knows how long until they would have found that I had cancer," Berlant said of Brooke.
During what was meant to be a routine checkup, 29-year-old Berlant was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The man who many members of the media consider to be composed in the most volatile circumstances, couldn't control this.
"I was in shock," Berlant said. "All that's going through your head is, when's this going to end, and how's this going to end."
A rare disease that most commonly occurs in men ages 15-3,. testicular cancer accounts for about one percent of all cancers in men, according to the National Cancer Institute. The disease can strike at any time, and in Berlant's case, it was a rather bizzarre outing with Brooke that eventually led him to the doctor's office.
"I happened to be riding my horse up in the Donner area when we got attacked by hornets. Like a little rodeo, the horse took off and was bucking. I held on," said Berlant.
He would make it back uninjured, so he thought; however, after three days, Berlant started having extreme pain in his lower abdomen area. He went to the doctor.
"A couple tests later, the doctor calls and says, you have cancer. You know I can remember every moment of that phone call, sitting in the kitchen, never thought that they would just say it like that, and my life pretty much froze," Berlant said.
After tough conversations with his family, Berlant underwent multiple surgeries to remove the tumor and lymph nodes. Five weeks later, he is back to working part time, and is on the road to recovery, but he knows he's not in the clear.
"There's always that small chance, but I'm not going to live my life thinking that small chance is going to be me. I'm going to go back out there, continue to be active and enjoy life, and if life has a different story for me in the future, then I'll roll with it," said Berlant.