Olympic Swimmer Nathan Adrian Opens Up About Cancer Diagnosis: 'You Feel So Alone and Isolated'

Nathan Adrian says he's already back training for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo

Photo: Nathan Adrian/Instagram

Swimmer Nathan Adrian is not going to let his cancer diagnosis keep him from going for gold.

The eight-time Olympic medalist opened up in a new interview about his progress in the wake of his testicular cancer diagnosis and revealed he’s already back training for the upcoming 2020 games in Tokyo.

“I’m feeling great. All things considered, where we were a month ago, I’m back in the water, I’m training,” he said on the Today show on Tuesday. “My doctors lifted all the restrictions, so it’s about getting back on track where we need to be.”

Adrian, 30, announced in January he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer, and had already started treatment.

“Life, like swimming the 100 free, can come at you hard and fast as you can’t always see who, or what, may be chasing you down,” he wrote at the time.

Nathan Adrian/Instagram

The athlete said Tuesday that his diagnosis came about after he noticed something was wrong with his body.

“To be honest, it was down there, something was swollen, it was hard,” he said. “And then you kind of watch it for a couple days, ‘Hey, is this getting better?’ If it’s getting better, then we can get back to track. But it wasn’t.”

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Adrian said learning he had cancer left him feeling “so alone and so isolated,” but that he quickly learned he was far from the only one dealing with the same thing.

“One of the reasons I decided to say hey and open up about this and be public about it was one-third of Americans are going to sit down with their doctor and they’re going to say, ‘Hey, we got your test results back and they’re not what we hoped,’” he explained on Today. “And that’s hard, that’s not something they prepare you for in school. And you feel so alone and so isolated but the more I looked into it, there’s so many people that go through it too.”

The swimmer said he was surprised to discover that people in his own social circles had similar diagnoses, too, which he only learned about once he made his public.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtB85G9hg8S/Nathan Adrian/Instagram
Nathan Adrian/Instagram

Adrian also said he relied on new wife Hallie Ivester for support. The two tied the knot in September in Napa Valley, California.

“It’s been such an awesome melding of two lives into one,” he said. “When this came it was certainly this moment of, how are we going to defeat this together? And from that moment on I was like, this is it.”

As for competing in Tokyo, Adrian said he’s certainly going to try, though there are no guarantees he’ll stay entirely healthy.

“It’s not black and white. There’s still a chance this could come back. Very treatable if it does, we’re on close surveillance, but heck yeah,” he said.

Adrian has continued to update fans on his progress on Instagram, writing days after he revealed his diagnosis that he’d undergone a laparoscopic RPLND procedure to remove lymph nodes to which the cancer could possibly have spread.

The star has five Olympic gold medals under his belt, and competed in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 games.

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