INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - It's the story that's captured headlines here and across the country - the Colts' head coach fighting for his life against leukemia. It's been months since Chuck Pagano got the diagnosis and started treatment.
On Thursday he and his wife Tina spoke together for the first time about the battle they faced. The Paganos shared with WISH-TV Sports Director Anthony Calhoun their gratitude for the city and how it played a major role in helping him overcome his cancer.
They said the road to recovery wasn't easy, but during this journey, they learned a lot about themselves.
"We learned that we can survive three months together," said Tina Pagano with a laugh. "That was huge. I never spent a football season with him."
"24 years of marriage, that's the first fall we ever spent that much time together, obviously, but we had no choice," said Chuck Pagano.
The Paganos admitted every day was a challenge. Coach Pagano said one of the hardest moments for him was when he shared the news with his children about his cancer. His wife Tina said their children helped her help him.
"They kept telling me that I needed to take care of myself so I can take care of him. Daily communication, but they were so worried. Daily they reminded me," said Tina Pagano.
Chuck said he’ll never forget when he received word that his cancer was in remission.
"Pretty amazing. I can remember them saying you get to go home. The day Dr. Cripe came down it was really early in the morning and he said, 'How you feel?' I said, 'Good.' He goes, 'Well your counts are at a certain place so you get to go home today.' That was just incredible and to finish the process and go through a second and third round of chemo. Then we get a text the other day when they say complete molecular remission. Pretty special," said the Colts' coach.
The Paganos say Colts owner Jim Irsay was pretty special.
"From day one he brought his daughters and came up to the hospital and from day one let us know we're not alone and he would do anything we wanted. He even called me one time and I thought it was so funny. Whatever you want. If you want someone to go around the block to get you food we have people for that. He wanted to do whatever it was to make everything okay," said Tina Pagano.
Tina, was right by her husband's side during his time away from the football field.
Game days in the hospital were very interesting.
"We're in the hospital and sitting there and she is sitting on the edge of the bed,and we kicked the ball off, and I don't know if we started on offense first or not. I can't remember. But the very first snap she started gyrating and screaming and hollering and I just looked at her and said, 'Really? You're kidding me.'"
"This is how it's going to be for three hours and five minutes. This is how it's going to be. Are you like this in the stands?" said Chuck Pagano with a laugh.