Chuck, Tina Pagano speak out about coach's battle with leukemia

INDIANAPOLIS - He beat leukemia and inspired football fans across the country.

This season was an extremely emotional one for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.

Pagano and his wife, Tina, sat down with RTV6's Dave Furst for their first one-on-one interview to talk about those challenges and triumphs.

It's been nearly four months since Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. The couple discussed their reactions upon first hearing the diagnosis.

"I think it was worse for Chuck, although ironically he apologized to me for it, it was worse for him than for me," Tina Pagano said.

"Initially, you never think you're going to hear what you're about to hear," Chuck Pagano said. "Whether you play, coach or whatever, we all think we're invincible and nothing like this will ever happen to you."

But the Paganos said once the initial shock wore off, they knew what they had to do.

"It's not easy. It's shocking, but once you know what you're dealing with, and (Chuck's doctor) was so great about just spelling everything out… Once he gave us a plan, and once he said the word, 'curable,' we knew we could deal with whatever we had to for 30 days," Tina Pagano said.

And even though he was the one battling cancer, Chuck Pagano said his thoughts were always with others.

"Then the hard part. Again, (Tina) had the toughest job," he said. "You know, I got wheeled off in one direction, she had to make the tough calls to our children, to our family members to let them know. That's who you worry about, is your kids, because they're not there with you."

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