Knoxville man won't let cancer stand in his way

Knoxville man won't let cancer stand in his way

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"I was a little freaked out at first, but I'm still here," Michael Holtz says with a smile. "I was a little freaked out at first, but I'm still here," Michael Holtz says with a smile.
Brittany Cole, of Frankie's Body Shop in North Knoxville, designed some grueling workouts to whip Holtz back into shape. Brittany Cole, of Frankie's Body Shop in North Knoxville, designed some grueling workouts to whip Holtz back into shape.
Michael Holtz says his boot camp-style workouts and a healthy diet have helped him shed 20 pounds. Michael Holtz says his boot camp-style workouts and a healthy diet have helped him shed 20 pounds.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Michael Holtz tries to give 110 percent for each workout.

He's gained weight over the last few years while battling, then beating, cancer.

Holtz, who works at the American Cancer Society as the advocacy and federal issues director, says he never dreamed he would wage the war on the disease himself.

He was diagnosed close to two years ago with Stage 3 rectal cancer.

Radiation and oral chemotherapy, followed by surgery last fall, saved his life, but it also changed his life forever.

"The tumor was so extensive that they had to remove my entire rectum," Holtz explains, "which meant that I had to have a permanent colostomy bag."

Doctors surgically created an opening in his abdomen to allow urine and waste to leave his body.

"I was a little freaked out at first, but I'm still here," Holtz says with a smile.

He decided not to let these changes run his life, let alone ruin it.

That attitude is an inspiration to his friends and his personal trainer, Brittany Cole, of Frankie's Body Shop in North Knoxville.

Cole designed some grueling workouts to whip Holtz back into shape.

"Hey! Someone with cancer that survived it and wants a butt-kicking on a regular basis is coming in," Cole exclaims.

Holtz says his boot camp-style workouts and a healthy diet have helped him shed 20 pounds.

He has also gained a lot of energy.

This has happened while exercising five times a week at an intense level, despite the ever-present colostomy bag.

As he explains, "The products, the appliances, are engineered so that you can live, you can swim, you can run, you can do serious exercise."

Holtz is certainly putting it to the test.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

His message is that anything is possible if you work for it.

"You can have a life," Holtz says, "and have a colostomy bag."

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