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Waukesha South football coach Dave Rusch optimistic after surgery

Says doctors "feel good" that cancer hasn't spread

Waukesha South football coach and physical education teacher Dave Rusch gives a hug to student athlete Isaiah Pitchford during an assembly showing support for Rusch's battle with prostate cancer on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Waukesha South football coach and physical education teacher Dave Rusch gives a hug to student athlete Isaiah Pitchford during an assembly showing support for Rusch's battle with prostate cancer on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Photo By Scott Ash

April 28, 2014

Longtime Waukesha South football coach Dave Rusch is optimistic by the initial results from his surgery last week for his prostate cancer.

Rusch, who had surgery Friday at St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, said Monday, April 28, that his doctors "feel good" that the cancer was contained and did not spread.

"They dissected the lymph nodes during the surgery and they were clean," Rusch said.

He said his doctors at St. Luke's are testing the tissue in the lab and the complete results will be revealed to him on Friday in his pathology report.

Rusch, 54, came home April 26 and has been focusing on his rehab.

"I feel very blessed at this point that many prayers were answered," said Rusch, who has been South's football coach for the last 23 years and is a physical education teacher at the school.

Rusch's elevated prostate specific antigen forced him to have surgery to remove his prostate. He had been told before the surgery that he was in the intermediate risk, meaning the doctors had believed the cancer was contained, but they wouldn't know for certain until the surgery.

While he said "each day I get better and better," Rusch knows he has to take it easy.

"Having said that, I have not attempted a pull-up yet," he said jokingly, referring to his intense workout schedule.

Before the surgery, Rusch said he wouldn't return to teaching until June 9. But he doesn't anticipate missing any of his football team's summer schedule or the season in the fall.

Rusch has been touched by the amount of support he received by the Waukesha South student body, who dedicated the month of April to him and held an all-school assembly two days before his surgery to honor him.

"It truly is amazing how people rally in a time of need," Rusch said. "I am a lucky man."

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