Joshua’s personal story
My name is Joshua Paschal, and I am a sophomore football player at the University of Kentucky. In August 2018, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma after a tiny spot on the bottom of my right foot kept bothering me. I would get a stinging sensation on my foot, and it basically felt like I had a bad blister.
I went to our athletic trainer, and he looked at it and thought maybe it was a blood blister. However, it just wouldn’t go away. It only got worse. So he suggested I go see a dermatologist.
I went to a dermatologist and they took a biopsy of my foot. I was on my follow-up appointment to see when I could start walking again when they told me it was worse than what they thought. I was going to have another surgery to cut out more of my foot, and I would need to meet with an oncology team. It was malignant melanoma.
I was shocked. I had heard about melanoma but I didn’t think it would happen to me, especially at such a young age.
The good news is I was diagnosed early.
I also wasn’t too scared because I’m a Christian. I gave my life to Christ in the spring, so whenever I get scared, I just fall into God’s arms and I know that my protection comes from God. I can overcome anything with His strength. I knew I couldn’t follow my plan but had to follow God’s plan. I just had to keep going harder and harder every day to get back on the field and to the game I love.
I knew there was never any doubt in my mind I wasn’t going to play, because I was going to do everything in my power for me to come back and play with my brothers.
After three surgeries and months and months of treatment (I’m still going through immunotherapy), I finally returned to the football field in November 2018. Being able to play again and having my family and their support through it all was amazing.
I’ve learned this along my journey with cancer: Trials are just blessings in disguise once you get through them. Once I got through this, my relationship with God became stronger, and my faith became stronger. I was able to trust fully in God with my whole heart and I just gave my life to Him. I knew He would get me through it because he wouldn’t throw anything at me that I couldn’t handle. And we handled it!