Voice For Life: Bob Payne and Sheri Haddock
In this episode of Voice for Life, native Texans, Bob Payne (prostate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer survivor), and his daughter, Sheri Haddock (currently battling esophageal cancer) tell their story of survivorship and triumph as a family.
Bob Payne, Prostate and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer Survivor:
I’ve always had a strong, strong attitude toward anything and I think coming in second to anybody is like going home kissing your sister. I never had a sister but I don’t take failure well at all and the day that they told me that I had cancer was probably the lowest day of my entire life.
I was in Mexico deer hunting and it was a cold morning and I started to put on a shirt and I found this lump and it was as large as a lemon and I thought ‘hmmm, just fatty tumor’.
Sheri Haddock, Esophageal Cancer Survivor:
I had, had my esophagus constrict before and I went in and had it stretched and it started again and I thought ‘oh I’m going to use this as a weight loss program; nothing will go down so when I lose the weight that I want to lose then I’ll go to the doctor and have it stretched’.
And so I waited probably six months and I wasn’t losing weight because what wouldn’t go down, the ice cream would and so when I went to the doctor they had said I had had esophageal cancer and like Dad says, it’s one of those things that you don’t ever want to hear; probably the lowest day of my life. My daughter was going to be getting married in six months and I panicked thinking I won’t be there for her wedding, I wouldn’t be there for my son to graduate, and so it was hard to hear that.
It was a stage 4 and no 5 and the outlook was so bad I just borrowed a million dollars to buy a business and I was half-way through building a home. I wanted to be there for the completion of both of them and I literally got on my front porch of the half build house and started giving away my deer rifles and my golf clubs because I took it very, very badly. And about half way through something said ‘Bob, why would you give up now? You never give up anything’. And that is my mantra.
I talked to my Dad every day on my way to work and on my way home. He is what keeps me lifted up, there are days when I just cry because I’m having a bad day and Dad will talk me out of that. I go to work, have a good day and call him every afternoon on my way home.
It was under both my arms and in my groin in both. I got where I couldn’t lift my leg over my four-wheeler and made walking very difficult.
We started out with Rituxan. Rituxan was very good; it was a series of aid one a week. At the end of the week three I could tell that the drugs were working because the tumor under my arm would go down, and like I said they were as big as an egg or a lemon, and I could tell it was going down. After the fifth series, about five years into this, the Rituxan quit working and I told the doctor ‘we got to find something’ and I look at the drugs out there as being bullets in a gun. How many more bullets do we have that will fit me and fix my cancer? And I asked, since this drug is not working, and my oncologist nurse says ‘Bob, we got plenty out there’. And she said ‘Bexsar’ and when she said Bexsar that’s one of the last bullets in the gun and you get that deal: are we running out of shells? And my doctor says ‘no Bob, there’s a new one that I’d like to give you and you could try’.
It was approved in 2008 and it was called Trianda, and this is the miracle part that is hard for anyone to believe but I took Trianda at nine o’clock one morning. The lump was there as big as a lemon and I said normal men do not check their breasts going down the highway but since I’m not normal, at 4:30, I put my hand under my shirt and believe it or not that tumor was completely gone, in six and a half hours.
Went to the doctor the next day, the girls went running into the doctor, ‘Doctor, you’re not going to believe what Bob’s done. That cancer’s gone’. And he said ‘it can’t be’ and he came in and checked and it was gone. And since now I’ve been cancer free for two years. I just went through another series; it’s come back. The B-Cell Hodgkin’s lymphoma as we know will come back. There’s no cure, there’s a remission that it goes into, so I consider myself very, very blessed.
Don’t let any sign go untreated. If you think there’s something wrong listen to your body. Dad wouldn’t be a stage 4 if he had gone when he first realized it. Mine probably wouldn’t have been as bad if I had gone when I first noticed mine. But be an advocate for everybody who has cancer. A lot of people aren’t able to speak in groups, talk to your doctor, make sure you know all the information and just be out there.
About a year and a half ago my son walked in my office on a Wednesday and said ‘Dad, I have prostate cancer’ and on a Thursday my daughter called and said ‘Dad, I have bone cancer’. Sometimes I’m not as strong as I think I am and I asked myself ‘Lord, why them? Let me have it. I can fight it’ and my son and my daughter both had the attitude, ‘Dad, we’ve seen what you’ve done in the last six’ and both of them have that attitude.
He’s my older brother so he was the one that I always went to if anything every bothered me and when we were going through it together it was hard because we both had to be strong and we both were…I don’t believe we broke down until the day he went in for surgery. We never broke down in front of each other; we could always break down in front of Dad or my sister. I mean bless her heart, she’s the one because she’s not going through it personally with the cancer she’s the one we turn to.
I just can’t say enough about the family. My son has the attitude, my daughter has that positive attitude and we’re going to beat it. And I think I have and anybody who says ‘are you scared of it?’ I told them ‘no, no way’.
Definitely keep that positive attitude that we will beat this. We pray about it every day and makes us stronger as a family.
I thank God every day for giving me cancer because at this age you wonder what legacy may be I will leave in life and if I can leave one person and get their chin off their chest and quit being sad, and say ‘you know, I can beat this’ then I think I’ve done what God wanted me to do on this life.
END OF VIDEO