tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN June 26, 2011 4:30am-5:00am PDT
acres. elsewhere, the so-called horseshoe two fire also under control. i'll be back at the top of the hour with more live news. but first, you heard my conversation moments ago with dr. sanjay gupta about his conversations with nick charles before he died. we'll have a special "sanjay gupta, md" about the life of nick charles. he certainly helped but cnn on the map. that starts right now. >> your daddy loves you with his heart, because she's cute, she's smart, because she's sweet, because she's strong, because she's so much fun. >> reporter: what you're listening to is a father's birthday message for his little girl. >> happy birthday to you. i used to sing that song to you,
g-i-o-v-a-n-n-a. >> reporter: a message for giovanna. >> you always have to believe in yourself. >> can someone please give her a friend. >> expressing a desire to talk. >> reporter: i first met nick charles in the cnn newsroom ten years ago. he was just like everyone described him, the nicest guy. >> and won the biggest race in america. >> reporter: that voice, that hair. >> thanks for joining us again, everybody, hello, i'm nick charles. >> reporter: along with fred hickman nick had been the face of cnn sports, baseball, football, he covered them all. >> the city of nagano will never be the same. >> reporter: his real love was boxing. >> the path to the title runs through mike tyson. >> i did some stuff in the '70s with ali. i got to go road work with him in the '70s. that was a memorable time. and then we started with the big ones, sanjay. it was a wonderful golden age in the '80s with sugar ray leonard
and marvin hagler and tommy hearns and the tyson years came along. >> reporter: these days it's about love taps from 5-year-old giovanna. it's not his first time around. he's had two previous marriages, three grown kids, melissa, jason and katrina. he's had plenty of regrets. for a long time, nick charles had been searching. >> i really wanted happiness and i just hadn't found it. at 45 years old, meeting corey, i did immediately and having a baby come into the world and a girl, which i prayed to god for every day, make it be a girl, make it be a girl. >> reporter: it was. and nick revels in every moment with his girls, giovanna and his wife, corey. the one thing nick doesn't have is time. even giovanna knows it. >> you don't get to go to heaven yet. >> no, i'm not going to heaven yet. still hanging around to play candyland and win.
>> no, i'm going to win. >> reporter: in early 2009, nick was the happiest he's ever been. but a shadow was creeping in. the robust nick charles had never been sick in his life. but something was changing in his body. >> i would ask people my age, do you get up at night to urinate? yeah, i get up but i wouldn't ask how many times. i was getting up six, eight times. i said, gee, something's wrong. >> reporter: it took six months to finding the culprit. >> she said here's the deal, you have met static stage four bladder cancer. it's serious. the five-year survival rate is 2%. the average life span is 20 months. >> reporter: but after a lifetime of covering fights, the fight was coming to him. you're going in to win? >> to win, absolutely. >> reporter: to knock out cancer. >> absolutely. let's go at it. >> this is morphine, which is slow release. >> reporter: let's go at it.
with nick's cancer, here's what that means. >> morphine drops. >> reporter: four combinations of seven different drugs. hair falling out, throwing up, seering pain through every muss until your body. hives so bad it makes you want to tear off your skin. >> first time the nurses came in, they put these blue jackets on that looked like they were going to get into a capsule and circumvent the moon. i said what's going on here? they said, one of these we call it the red devil. you put it in for 15 minutes and if you get neon you, it could burn you pretty badly, pretty severely. i said, gee, if that's going to happen to an exterior surface of a healthy person, what is the heck is this chemotherapy that's going to do me good, what are the bad effects going to be? >> reporter: hard on the body, harder on the soul. >> of course, at the forefront was that my family life would be destroyed.
you know, on this earth. and that you know, i had a little girl that i wanted to see grow up and a wife that i was madly in love with. >> reporter: slowly and surely, the cancer and the chemo ground him down. by january of 2011, nick said no more. no more chemo. >> i said medically i'm through. i'd rather have the time remaining left to feel better. >> reporter: a story like this makes you wonder, what would i do? how would i look at my life? where would i find my strength? what would i tell my daughters? >> i keep telling her, i'm going to be in your heart and your soul. what's a soul, daddy? a soul is something jesus gave us. that's the only way i could explain it. it's christ in our heart all the time. my heart is something that i'm going to be in a better -- in a place waiting for you and i'm going to see everything you do. >> reporter: nick doesn't want regrets. not this time.
>> this is the sweet one. that's a sweet one. >> can i have another one? >> reporter: what would you do? >> i just want to construct the conditions for my -- >> reporter: nick has a plan. >> i want to buy a piano for my daughter. my goal is to see that first lesson when we move into the new house. >> reporter: next, nick goes back to the ring. you're watching "nick charles: lessons from the fight." nothing helped me beat arthritis pain. until i tried this. it's salonpas. pain relief that works at the site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas.
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nick charles, the former cnn sports anchor has never stopped fighting stage 4 bladder cancer. even after deciding to stop chemotherapy. for he and his wife of almost 14 years, corey, it means setting goals. one at a time. >> okay, nick, you must make it to your 65th birthday which is in june. you must make it to giovanna's kindergarten first day and beyond. it might happen, it may not. >> it's almost day to day, moment to moment. it's quite sustaining for me. and actually invigorating.
>> reporter: boxing used to be his bread and butter. >> does any of this ever get old to you. >> reporter: his cancer kept him away from the ring for months at a time. in late march, hbo called and nick was ready. >> it's all hard on him now. it's not ability, right. >> reporter: it's all about heart. >> you were asked to call another fight. what was that like to you? why was it so important. >> the feeling i had for fighters, the whole subculture i love. the feedback i got was enormous, you nailed it, boy was the nick charles, i learned so much. you were at the top of your game. i don't think they were being patronizing. i felt in my heart i was. >> we admire your courage and look forward to hearing from you again. >> likewise, bob. >> was it a metaphor for you, fighting? >> yes. definitely, yes. in fighting you have to take pain to give it and you have to fight back.
no matter what round it is, in boxing unlike baseball, if it's 8-1, the stadium empties. but in boxing you could hit a nine-run home run. i'm hoping that will happen to me, sanjay. >> reporter: you'll still hoping? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: the eternal hope, they say, always burns. >> why not. >> reporter: nick does something more, something i learned from him. he writes his hopes and dreams in a journal. he's done it since giovanna was born. >> i know it's going to take all of god's grace, which is never in short supply to make me live longer. i want to for you and mommy so we can be a family here in santa fe. if -- sorry about this. if god takes me home, it will be forever, meanwhile, i'm not going anywhere today. >> reporter: it's so tough for nick to write and it's tough to hear. nick knows he at least had the chance to leave something behind. how do you feel when you read
this? >> they're so reinforcing to me. i know she's going to read them. i've talked to people, they would just long to hear their parents voice or read something from them. oh, i wish i could have gone to a school like this. want some help? >> no. >> oh, you're so big now, i forgot. you're 42 pounds. i see her running to school every day. so i know we're in the right place. i look around at this environment and i keep in touch, look at the teachers she's going to see in a year or two an i probably won't there be it walk her in. i feel she's in good hands. >> reporter: ten months after being diagnosed with cancer -- >> we're going to see my daughter's room over here. >> reporter: he and corey started doing something i found surprising, construction on their dream house. nick's goal, to live long enough to move his family and create some lasting memories. >> my daughter's room here is just very vital to me. i've thought about every little
element, exactly where her bed is going to go and a light and her little desk and such and whatever here. created a window seat which will be covered so she could watch the world and read books and think about life. and here's that soft spot again, going in here, in the closet, there's nothing in here. there's that prom dress. >> it's hanging right there? >> yes. it will be a great night. you know? i think i'll be there in spirit. >> reporter: i couldn't help but think, there's no playbook on how to prepare your loved ones for a life without you. the charles have been seeing a therapist. we invited them to see what it's like for each of them. >> i feel like i'm breathing even though there's nothing physically real about it right now. >> that's what i'm hearing, too, you're really anticipating, but
it's not only anticipating the future but you already have a sense of a more glorious past that you just loved and a time when nick could be more the fullness of who he really is. >> i just refuse to grieve. i'm looking at these daily increments again, not beyond that. >> right. >> and say we're going to find some real goodness here and laughter and we're going to make our lives a little better for each other. that extra hug is coming because i really love you. and that extra kiss. giovanna will sleep in the bed with us because she wants to and wake up and be able to see her a little bit more and touch her skin and know that her daddy's there. >> you are so treasuring every moment that you can. aren't you? >> absolutely.
>> love you, mike. >> reporter: coming up, a visit from an old friend. >> what a great man. >> reporter: mike tyson. >> announcer: this past year alone there's been a 67% spike in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones, public, private, even hybrid. your data and apps must move easily and securely to reach many clouds, not just one. that's why the network that connects, protects, and lets your data move fearlessly through the clouds means more than ever. [ male announcer ] this is lisa, who tries to stay ahead of her class. morning starts with arthritis pain... that's two pills before the first bell. [ bell rings ] it's time for recess... and more pills. afternoon art starts and so does her knee pain, that's two more pills.
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nick charles, former cnn sports anchor. he's in the fight of his life, against cancer, stage four bladder cancer. >> whoa, i might catch you. >> yeah. >> reporter: he's hoping for the best. bracing his family for the worst. it makes you think. it made me wonder what do you tell your friends? >> let me take you back to boxing. >> yes, mike tyson. that was in the late '80s. i think he was 20 years old at the time. tyson connected with me right away and we still have a wonderful relationship. he's coming to visit and he just -- he remembers every story i ever told him. love you, mike.
love you, mike. look at that man. you don't change except for the better, brother. you really don't. >> he's trying to get up here. he'll be okay. we have it wrapped up. >> smartest dog i ever had. >> i just realized at certain times at a certain stage in your life, life is a big contradiction. things i did at 20 i would never do at 25. things i believe and said ottat i would never say and do at 25. just do the right thing. >> i know this disease has really changed me, it really has. made me gentler, made me know who my genuine friends are,tyso >> this gets creepy or tricky with me. i'm trying to reach you. i want to know that feeling when it's just -- where nothing really matters. you don't have to be fake, you don't have to do nothing.
just doing this right here. this is done from a friendship perspective. to show the world friendship and our closeness. >> you're a life-long friend. >> you know, thank you, my friend. i always wanted to be a friend to . i used to think if i am lucky, i will have to endure that as well. >> you never know. >> he allowed me to come here to go through this with him. sometimes you can be here with your nucleus, your wife and children sometimes, but we need some other kind of influence, too. we need the world, and they made us who we are and we need a little bit of all of that to
make us whole. i would feel like a piece of dog trash if i did not have the nerve to come down and see him eye to eye if i did not come see him before he departs from us. he died, daddy, why didn't you see your friend, daddy, you know? >> i know -- i was crying with you, so i know. >> brother, i am just happy to go through the journey with you. thank you for allowing me to do this. >> my pleasure, my pluzer. brother forever. >> look at us. look where we came from, man. >> i know, man. look where we're going. we're hanging out in heaven, right? >> big time. where we came from. this is awesome. >> i love you, mike. i mean, i don't care whether we were in tokyo or atlantic city
or vegas or anything else -- thanks, man. love you, brother. now and forever, man. i know your heart. i know your heart. thanks. nothing to feel sad about, man. >> i'll call you as soon as i get home. >> you better. you better. god bless you in every day, every day. every day. hug those kids. >> i will. >> lessons from the fight. coming up, a surprise gift for his daughter, and a happy ending. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
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♪ today it's moving day in the charles household. this might surprise you, but a year ago nick and cory finally decided to build their dream home. it's another lesson nick taught me. live in the present, but keep dreaming and imagining the future. >> thank the lord for this day, and all my friends, who, all the love they are showing, and that i am achieving the milestone of getting in this new house. >> during a hectic day of
packing bosses, nick sneaks away for the delivery of a special surprise gift for his daughter. >> well, welcome home. how about that? wow. right here. right here between the window and here. i got up in the middle of the night and researched these things, you know. keeps you going. i always need a project and i love to research things. that took probably 15 hours researching this piano, you know. wanted the very best one and for the very best price that i could for my daughter. i nailed it, and i feel fabulous about it. i wanted to get the soft close for sure. man, that's great. this is awesome. ♪
>> what do you think? straighten it out. straighten it out. go ahead. just play. ♪ >> when i went to see nick, i was looking for a lesson, or lessens, and turns out, it was more complicated. maybe not always the same lesson for everybody. no matter how much love and support you have, you step into that ring alone. from what i can tell, nick is relax relaxed, and even happy, and he's at peace with whatever happens now. to some, that's hard to understand. and maybe even harder on his family and his friends. >> i'm exhausted. >> i am just exsil rated.
>> just absolutely elevated me. >> 16 hours of packing and moving, and just a tremendous, you know, effort. we moved three times in two years, and this for me was the hardest, and it's probably subconscious reasons. >> like what? >> just hoping that you will live a long time, nick. >> to live in the house together, right? >> exactly. i don't want you to unpack with me, and you're not here. >> i am feeling in a way that picture will go over for for a reason, and i will look at for years, and at christmas the tree is going up and the nutcracker will be there, and i will be there, and that's the way i am living my life with you, so i wouldn't worry bit, you know. i love you so much. >> she said, this is the best day of my life. >> this is where
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