Scott Leitstein is a walking, talking miracle. Besides twice fighting cancer, the 56-year-old has had two partial knee replacements and six orthoscopic surgeries, along with the removal of his appendix and gallbladder, plus surgeries to repair a detached retina and hernia.
Despite the trauma he has endured both physically and mentally, Leitstein is as active today as he’s ever been.
“I’m the eldest in the small group of people who work out three nights a week for 90 minutes each at Body Creations Sports Performance and Fitness,” said Leitstein. “Staying active like I have has opened my eyes to realize what my body can do. I’m wanting to improve my lifestyle and stay healthy so I can be around to see my kids.”
Leitstein and his wife, Bobbie, have been married for 30 years and have three sons, ages 29, 25 and 23. The youngest two played baseball at Bob Jones High, as the Leitstein family moved to Madison 26 years ago from south Florida. For the past 10 years Leitstein has been a coach in the rookie and minor leagues of the Madison Baseball Association – a favorite hobby.
Leitstein’s story of health battles is interwoven with reconnecting with his estranged father. After his parents divorced several years ago, he had no contact nor relationship with his father – until one day Leitstein’s uncle called to tell him his father was dying from prostate cancer. Leitstein picked up the phone and spoke with his father and partially healed the wounds they each had from years ago.
One week later, Leitstein, too, tested positive for prostate cancer. In March 2011 he had his prostate removed and, through his recovery, stayed in touch with Andy McCloy of Body Creations. Two of Leitstein’s sons had worked out under McCloy. He became even closer friends with McCloy when he began to work out so he could lose weight, as Leitstein had ballooned to his highest weight of 215 pounds. Through a range of physical activities and meal prepping, the 5-foot-5 Leitstein now weighs in at 190 pounds.
“I go through a battery of workouts set up so I don’t injury myself,” said Leitstein. “The programs mirror those of elite athletes, and the entire setting is like a family, as you’re accountable for what you do. When I miss a night, I feel bad because I feel I’m letting them down.”
In March 2016, Leitstein had a cancer relapse and went through 12 weeks of intense radiation treatments. Three times a week he endured the 20-minute sessions at Clearview Cancer Institute. Every six months he has blood work completed, and March 2020 will mark four years he’s been in remission.
Leitstein has a nickname of Mighty Mouse, given to him because of his yellow, black and red tattoo he’s had 15 years on his right leg. While going through the concentrated programs at Body Creations, McCloy would joke with Leitstein about his tattoo and jokingly said if Leitstein would get a tattoo of the Body Creations logo, he could work out for free. Taking the joke more as a challenge, Leitstein had the black and red BCI logo shield tattooed on his right calf.
“For me, it means something special, as they’ve been with me through all of my health issues and the death of my mother two years ago of bone cancer,” said Leitstein. “This has become a lifestyle, and I’m prepared to face whatever life throws at me. My goal is to live. I could be upset and do nothing, but instead I’ve survived by the way I’ve approached everything that has happened. I tell others to not stop living because having an illness or sickness doesn’t mean the world needs to stop.”
For Leitstein, his world continues to evolve through his involvement as a purchasing agent, youth baseball coach, father, husband and, among other health issues, a cancer survivor – a true walking miracle.