Chuck Pagano and David Quessenberry understand each other's journeys

HOUSTON -- When they spoke, Houston Texans offensive tackle David Quessenberry shared his struggle with Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano.

"I told him sometimes the days get really long and it’s a really hard process," Quessenberry said by phone Wednesday.

Pagano understood.

"He said, 'I know, I've been there,'" Quessenberry recalled. "'I’ve had those long days. Been in those hospital beds. He said the thing that helps keep you going is that iPad and watching film and talking to players. Just keeping your mind going.'"

That advice has remained with Quessenberry, who stays as involved as he can with his team. It's not always possible. He just finished his sixth round of chemotherapy, which meant six days in the hospital as the poisonous treatment continued to shrink the cancerous mass inside him. He's getting used to it now and his cancer has been shrinking on schedule.

"There’s a lot of things that are barred for me," he said. "I’m spending a lot of time in the hospital for chemotherapy, I’m also spending a lot of time for blood work. Different doctor visits. Different scans. In between I have little sessions of chemo and doctor visits and all that. When I’m not doing that stuff, I’m with the team. I want to be there. Going through this process, my family and friends support and their love have been the best medicine for me. The next best thing is being around the team, being around the guys."

Pagano reached out through Bruce Tollner, who helped Pagano write his book and whose agency represents Quessenberry.

"DQ is a good friend of mine," Pagano said. "... When that whole thing went down, Bruce had told me when Q was diagnosed. I wanted to reach out and support him any way that I could early on."

Said Quessenberry of Pagano: "He’s been great throughout this process."

One of those expressions of support came during the preseason when Pagano had an "Indianapolis for DQ" shirt made and wore it during practice. Pagano looks forward to seeing Quessenberry come out with his team Thursday night.

"It’ll be an unbelievable for him just to be back with his teammates and back on the grass, where he wants to be," Pagano said. "He’s battling. He’s one tough cookie and I know he’s got great support there. Just like myself, you don’t get through this stuff alone without your faith and your family and community."