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Kruse to Begin Radiation Treatment : Football: Calvary Chapel quarterback, who has a tumor behind his eye that is believed to be benign, hopes to return to field this season.

September 01, 1993|MARTIN BECK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Calvary Chapel quarterback Waylan Kruse will begin radiation treatment today on an apparently non-cancerous tumor behind his left eye.

Kruse, a junior entering his second season as the starter, hasn't been able to join the Eagles for preseason practice but still hopes to play this year.

"I wasn't supposed to play the whole year," Kruse said. "They were supposed to cut my cranium open because the tumor is in my brain cavity and my jaw.

"But inside I always had the feeling that God was protecting me. I was feeling that everything was going to be fine. I had total comfort in my heart."

The tumor was discovered Aug. 19 and initially, the news was virtually all bad. Friday, doctors at UCI Medical Center in Orange told the family the tumor was the size of a lemon and wrapped around Kruse's optical nerve. Doctors don't believe the tumor is malignant.

The recommended treatment was daily radiation therapy for about four weeks to shrink the size of the tumor and then surgery to remove it. Doctors at UCI said the surgery would likely take about 24 hours and would risk loss of eyesight, stroke or death.

Tuesday, the family went to UCLA Medical Center for a second opinion and were told that surgery won't be necessary. UCLA doctors recommended that radiation treatment and other tumor-reducing medication be taken for 3 1/2 to four weeks.

It was welcome news.

"It's just like a Mack truck had been lifted off your chest," Waylan's mother, Cherie Kruse, said.

Kruse will start treatment this morning at UCI, which is near the family's home in Villa Park. Kruse will receive the treatment five days a week.

"We're hoping this will shrink the tumor and if all goes well he can get back on the field," Cherie Kruse said. "Right now, we're just hoping and praying the side effects, if there are any, will be minimal."

After facing the possibility of surgery, Waylan Kruse said he isn't worried about effects from the radiation.

"They say radiation would make me really weak but I don't think it will make me that weak," he said. "It's a matter of heart. With faith you can move mountains."

Kruse, 6 feet 2, 175 pounds, completed 62 of 134 passes for 842 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions as a sophomore last season. He was expected to be a key in Calvary Chapel's chances in the Olympic League.

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