My cancer is not my crutch

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Liliana Moreno
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – “I’ll never forget the day the doctor came into the waiting room, looked through the window of my soul and said, ‘you have cancer’. Four days later I was on the surgery table so he could save my life.”

Those are the three words that Master Sgt. Christofer Galbadores, 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron security forces training and logistics superintendent at Travis Air Force Base, California, thought he would never hear.

On Aug. 30, 2018, he was diagnosed with stage-1 seminoma testicular cancer.

Galbadores recalls the sadness and despair, not only of his battle with cancer, but also with being diagnosed on his mother’s birthday.

His mom, or who his kids call “grandma ninja”, was tragically murdered six-months prior to his diagnosis.

“The darkness of that day still has my mind and heart captured,” said Galbadores. “She loved her family and grandchildren so much. My youngest never had the chance to meet her, and they will never get a chance to go through life experiencing the spark of their one of a kind grandma ninja.”

Losing his mother tested Galbadores’s faith and his perspective on life.

“Physically and mentally, recovery was rough,” he said. “During that journey I lost sight of a few things, but I did learn that sometimes you really have to know darkness to appreciate the light.”

Galbadores is grateful for all the support he has received from his family and friends since his cancer diagnosis.

“The day of my surgery a friend of mine who went through the same thing came to see me and let me know that I wasn’t alone,” he said. “Trust me, that visit made a difference in my mental state.”

His wife Yasmin has stuck by his side throughout the whole ordeal.

“Let me begin by saying that this man right here has been my soul mate for over half my lifetime,” she said.  “Post-surgery we celebrated my birthday and our 13-year anniversary. All I could think about was making sure he was okay.”

Three weeks after his surgery, Yasmin registered to run a half-marathon in his honor.

“I signed-up to run for him, but he surprised me and ended up registering as well” she said. “The thought of what he has gone through made me not give up. I saw him running, and thought to myself, ‘if he can do it so can I.’”

Galbadores’s new life motto is, “When cancer tries to bring you down…you muscle up”.

“I have good friends who’ve had a longer and harder road than what I went through,” he said. “I am blessed to know them, because their strength has inspired me.”

Galbadores considers himself lucky and wants to help raise awareness not only for testicular cancer, but for other topics he feels men generally don’t want to talk about, such as mental health, suicide, and prostate cancer.

“My cancer is not my crutch,” he said. “I will use it to raise awareness. I will use it the same way one of my friends reached out to help me. I will use it to let everybody going through it know they are still strong no matter what!”