Blazers DJ fighting to come back after surgery complications - KPTV - FOX 12

Blazers DJ fighting to come back after surgery complications

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Just three games remain in the Trail Blazers regular season as Portland continues to push for the playoffs, but a piece of the team's home atmosphere won't be there.

For the past nine seasons, his sound has been part of the Blazers' in-game experience, but DJ O.G. One, David Jackson to his friends and family, won't be mixing up the pregame tunes for Portland’s potential playoff run.

Post-cancer surgery complications have left the 50-year-old nearly blind and with a lost sense of touch.

For almost a decade, Jackson has used sight, sound, touch and feel to entertain Trail Blazers fans, but now he is just praying to get those senses back.

“I can't see the music with everything being digital," he said. “I can't feel my fingertips, so to be able to touch and manipulate and move nobs to volumes to cross-faders and things like that, trust me, I've tried it.”

Jackson, a married father of six grown children, went in for surgery on March 14 for stage three colon cancer. He thought his treatment would be easy.

“They were saying that everything looked good,” he recalled. “In fact, the tumor, they saw very little of the tumor left in there so they said the chemo and the radiation that I went through prior to, they said everything looks great.”

Jackson wasn't just in and out of surgery, though. A six-hour operation turned into 10.

“When I came too, it's just pitch black. I thought initially I was just adjusting my eyes, but I couldn't get any clarity or nothing. I just heard voices,” he said. “At the same time, I felt this extreme pain in my shoulder. Like, ‘Why am I feeling this? This has nothing to do with what they were supposed to do.’”

Jackson then said he experienced silence and felt shut out from the world, adding that those closest to him could barely recognize him.

“My family and friends, they came into the room and they saw that my head and my face were so swollen that they couldn't recognize who I was,” he explained. “It just stopped. It paused everybody. I am just freaking out.”

While doctors removed the cancer, they still don't know what caused Jackson to lose his sight and the touch in his right hand. There is a possibility that poor blood circulation during his time on the operating table caused nerve damage.

As for the return of his vision, Jackson says that prognosis is totally unclear.

“They don't know,” he said. “It's like, ‘Hey, it could come back.’ You could wake up tomorrow and it's like, 'Hey, you can see!’ or it may not ever come back fully.”

Jackson has spent the past 30 plus years in Rip City mentoring youth and adults from incarceration back into life through the Bars to Bridges program with his day job as the Multnomah Education Service District.

Growing up in Watts then raising a family in Portland, Jackson has been through a lot in life but isn't saying "Woe is me" during his new reality.

“I've never used victim talk,” he said. “I'm cool right now as I'm talking to you, but I've cried. I've cried like a baby, because when you do things that you love doing in terms of the simple things. Being able to drive your family down to the beach or being able to serve the community or being able to do music, and you can't do those things the way that you used to do them, it really sucks, man.”

After touching so many in Rip City, the community is now giving back to Jackson, setting up a GoFundMe account to help ease the burden of the mounting medical bills. Jackson's friends at Blazer Gang are also hosting a benefit watch party Monday night at Mesa Fresca in Oregon City.

Jackson is passing his recovery time with positive thoughts and cheering on his Blazers.

“I was actually able to go to one game since I've been out of the hospital, but it was agonizing. It was agonizing sitting the stands,” he said. “It was really kind of absorbing the experience, but it really kind of sucked in the sense that I know my role when I walk in that arena and not being able to fulfill that role is just not cool.”

Still, Jackson is looking forward to the point when he is past the pain and able to look ahead toward the future.

“I look forward to coming out on the other end of this recovery time,” he said. “I don't know what that is going to look like. I stopped playing my mind what that should look like. I am just focused on trying to get better.”

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