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Ron Rivera reveals how soda, fast food got him through cancer treatments

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera recently opened up and shared some harrowing details from his cancer treatment in an in-depth and fascinating piece from John Keim of ESPN. Among the more interesting aspects of his battle shared by the coach was how a particular soda and fast food item helped him navigate some of the challenging side effects.

Rivera announced in August during training camp that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer in his lymph nodes. A difficult treatment regimen, including receiving dosages of radiation and chemotherapy, were ahead.

Cancer treatments of course come with a formidable set of side effects — including loss of appetite, among countless others — and Rivera revealed what helped him get through the day-to-day challenges, which included coming back after losing 32 pounds during treatment.

“For breakfast, I had pancakes and to help swallow, I had what amounted to three cups of syrup on the two pancakes,” Rivera said. “Water tasted terrible. The only things I could truly drink were root beer and Mountain Dew. Those tasted normal and helped me eat from that point on. What’s crazy is one of the foods that helped me get through this was Taco Bell tacos, for whatever reason.”

Rivera completed his final cancer treatment on Oct. 26, and the dignity and bravery displayed by the Washington coach throughout his battle closed with an inspiring moment when he performed the customary ringing of a bell at his medical facility.

Rivera also relied upon a popular social media meme to celebrate the end of his debilitating, exhausting and frightening treatments.

“Most give it a good yank once or twice,” said nurse navigator, Zenaida Ferguson, who played an integral role throughout Rivera’s treatment. “He did it a good four or five times. I can’t blame him. I’d probably keep ringing it.”