Bret Hart's prostate cancer diagnosis caused great worries among wrestling fans when the WWE Hall of Famer confirmed the news in February. And while he did have successful surgery for the disease in March, it's only now that he has shared certain in-depth details about his battle with cancer, specifically what his chances of recovery once were.
Since leaving WWE after the "Montreal Screwjob" in 1997, Bret Hart has had his share of health problems. His wrestling career ended in 2000, months after suffering a severe concussion during a WCW match against Bill Goldberg. Two years later, the "Hitman" suffered from a debilitating stroke that, as GlobalNews.ca recalled, left him partially paralyzed. Bret had also gone through a number of personal challenges, including the divorce from his first wife Julie, and in 1999, the accidental death of his brother Owen at the then-WWF's Over the Edge pay-per-view.
Years after all of those personal and health-related challenges, Hart had made peace with WWE, and had even appeared regularly on television as Monday Night RAW's general manager in 2010, playing a key role in the invasion of heel stable The Nexus. He still makes occasional appearances these days, most recently supporting niece Natalya in her WWE Women's Championship match against then-champion Charlotte Flair at this year's Payback pay-per-view.The Payback appearance came over a year after Bret Hart announced via Instagram that he has prostate cancer, little more than a week before he was due to receive surgery for it. In an exclusive interview published on the WWE website, Hart said that the cancer was first detected in 2013, and that when it was discovered in June 2015 that the cancer was growing, he and his doctors had scheduled the surgery for February 10.
That surgery turned out successful, but in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso published yesterday, Hart said that his chances of recovery from prostate cancer were actually very slim at one point. He is, however, in great health at the moment, also advising men over the age of 40 to get regular PSA-level tests, so that any cancer is detected while still early.
"My health is really good now. On my last visit with my doctor, he told me my PSA level was zero and I'd had a one-in-ten recovery. He said I was a miracle. One of the difficult aspects of my fight with prostate cancer was the decision to go public. Prostate cancer has killed a lot of people and I like to think my coming out and talking about it would encourage other men to get checked."Despite Bret Hart's "miraculous" battle with prostate cancer and his assertion of good overall health, he's also had to deal with wrist surgery in recent times. Hart told Sports Illustrated that an operation he had in November 2015 had cost him the use of two fingers in his right hand, and is now having trouble signing autographs, or even holding up a pen. He said that doctors are "still trying to figure out" how to rectify this.
Another interesting topic Bret Hart covered among the many others he shared with Barrasso was a literal "dream match" he had against Kurt Angle – the only time he had dreamed about being back in the ring and wrestling again. Bret says that one of the regrets he's had following his forced retirement from wrestling is never having gotten a chance to wrestle the former U.S. Olympic gold medalist, who was one of WWE's biggest stars of the 2000s.
"I had him clamped in a headlock. I was breathing hard and I remember telling myself: 'This is only a dream, it's not real.' But the longer I held Kurt in a headlock, I started to believe it was real. I focused on a square inch of fabric on the canvas and studied it. In my dream, I remember feeling this excitement telling myself that this was real, that I had Kurt Angle in a side headlock somewhere. Then, seconds later, I simply woke up. It was a dream."At 59-years-old, that dream may never become reality, especially since it's been more than 15 years since doctors told him he shouldn't even think of wrestling again. But as he looks forward toward spending the holidays with his wife, children, and grandchildren, Bret Hart said that he is grateful that he's beaten prostate cancer, and particularly grateful to the fans who had prayed for him and supported him throughout his battle with the illness.
[Featured Image by WWE]