2 min read

Movember and Wellness at the Mac with Brian Pechloff

Movember and Wellness at the Mac with Brian Pechloff

This Movember brought with it no shortages of mustaches upon us at the club. This annual event, perfectly coinciding with No Shave November, inspires men to grow mustaches to raise awareness of men's health issues.

Speaking of men’s health, I met MAC resident Brandon Pechloff at a wellness event on the MAC Rooftop back in September. I approached him after his public admission of how breath work helped him through his cancer battle had brought me to tears. I begged him to sit down with me and tell me the whole story.

At nearly seven feet tall, Brandon is hard to miss. He looks like a college athlete and was one (actually both a football and baseball player at two different universities), but when it comes to measuring his strength, he will tell you that he found it during his five-year battle with cancer.

During a routine physical, after he’d arrived in Nebraska to play college baseball his senior year, doctors requested a follow-up body scan. The next day, doctors told Brandon that they had found seven tumors all over his body and that they would need to operate the next day.

Brandon was 21 years old, in peak physical shape, and didn’t have any symptoms. What they couldn’t remove with surgery, they treated with chemotherapy. And when he thought it was all over, the cancer returned six months later. So, he underwent a more aggressive treatment doing chemotherapy six hours a day, five days a week, for six months. Yes, you read that correctly. And he’ll admit it was as tortuous as it sounds.

Brandon received his first clean bill of health in 2015 after the three-year ordeal. And it took him another three years to feel like he was finally back on his feet, both mentally and physically. Brandon became extremely focused on his professional goals and was driven to succeed before he was ready to process the trauma of what had happened to him.

Still, that drive keeps him happy. He works out nearly every day, even with his sometimes round-the-clock work schedule. This discipline came from cancer treatment. “When I was sick, all I wanted to do were those things that made me feel better, like exercise, but it had been taken away. So even on days when I don’t feel like running, I do it because I know what it feels like to not be able to do,” says Brandon.  

One bright spot from his college days in Omaha was meeting his girlfriend Sierra. She’s been at his side helping him the entire time. But for those nights when he couldn’t sleep and for those days that just couldn’t pass quickly enough, he turned to meditation, breathwork, and yoga. He would visualize waves crashing on the beach, bringing a fresh start. Giving himself the control to focus on just one thing at a time (his breath) made everything feel less overwhelming.

Some of his most heart-wrenching moments from that time period happened when he saw someone die in the shared treatment room waiting for her family to arrive or when he wasn’t allowed to board a plane because chemo made him unrecognizable from his ID. But near the end of treatment, he met a man with an “unnecessary amount of positive energy,” and engaged him in conversation, talking about future plans with his family. Brandon later learned that this man’s cancer was terminal, but he still lived every day like it was a gift and that excited him enough to get through each day. That helped Brandon realize that his worst day might be someone else’s best day, so he doesn’t mind sharing his experience because he hopes it will help someone else.

Brandon still suffers flashbacks from the treatment room. “You never know when the dam will break, but if you’re staying on top of your mental wellness, you'll be okay,” he says. His closing message after our hour-long, emotional lunch: “Get your routine check-ups. Even if something just feels slightly off, just go do it!” 

click here to download the membership guide

What’s all the Hype with Cold Plunging and Should the MAC Offer Regularly?

What’s all the Hype with Cold Plunging and Should the MAC Offer Regularly?

During the Fitness Palooza event in September, I (and dozens of other members) took the plunge into a small tub of icy water. Why, exactly, would we...

Read More
MAC Maker Profiles: Christopher DeAngelo Gilbert

MAC Maker Profiles: Christopher DeAngelo Gilbert

The MAC Makers program is a group of creative and connected thought leaders who our Club annually to elevate our Members’ experience by curating...

Read More
Real Advice for Planning a MAC Wedding: Maggie Ertz and Michael Hilbert

Real Advice for Planning a MAC Wedding: Maggie Ertz and Michael Hilbert

Maggie Ertz always wanted a black-and-white, modern classic wedding. When she walked into the renovated ballroom at the MAC, she knew she’d look no...

Read More