In April, Kevin Alston received the shock of a lifetime. The seemingly healthy Revolution defender --at age 25 and in professional athlete's shape-- was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare form of leukemia.
In the prime of his playing days, Alston had swiftly gone from one of the Revs' best players to a man uncertain if he had any sort of future in this game.
Luckily, though, CML is a treatable form of leukemia, meaning Alston could get back on the field in due time if the proper steps were taken. Fast forward three months and that is exactly what happened. Undergoing treatment allowed Alston to return to training in early July and he had progressed ever since.
On Monday, the Revs removed Alston from the Disabled List and he was scheduled to be present for the team's trip to Colorado to play the Rapids.
With his return to the field appearing imminent, Alston spoke, courtesy of revolutionsoccer.net, on what he's went through these last few months.
First and foremost, the 25-year-old was just happy to finally have an inkling that his playing days might soon resume.
"It’s exciting. It’s one of those things. I hit a bump in my life where you find something out that you never expect and life throws curve balls at you and you have to take it and go with it," Alston said. "But, I think it’s been a blessing in disguise. A lot of good came from it. I’m just really grateful and fortunate that I had the opportunity to help out the team any way I can and have the opportunity to play again."
As for how he dealt with the treatment in the months up until now, Alston gave a lot of credit to his teammates. Alston admitted that finding out about his condition actually was helpful in a way, alleviating the stress he was feeling wondering why things were going wrong when nothing seemed out of place. That did not mean he was entirely ready to attack his treatment, but he had his teammates there to buffer his recovery.
"It was tough to keep my head in a stable place. So many things are going through my mind and I’m just trying to stay grounded," Alston said. "Soccer is my life and being around those guys, they’re like my brothers. Just to be able to go in to the locker room, still interact with them, watch them practice, it just made things a lot easier."
The last few months have been trying ones for Alston, but normalcy seems to be setting back in. The defender iterated that he has not beaten CML at this time.
Yet, the idea of being in line to get back to MLS competition leaves Alston hopeful.
"I’m still doing treatment, taking medication, getting tests done, but the one major thing to know is that I’m able to play again because blood levels are balancing out and my spleen isn’t enlarged any longer, but I’m by no means out of the woods," Alston said. "There’s still a long road ahead and there’s still hurdles to jump over and benchmarks to reach. It’s a big step in the road, that’s for sure, and it’s great to be at this level and I’m fortunate for that, but by no means would I say I have beat it or I’m cured, treated well, but I’m feeling well so I’m in a good spot."