“My job is a dream job for me, and I can’t imagine at 60 years old just putting in time until retirement,” Rick said. “I would do this until I’m 100 if I could because I just enjoy the people so much.”
So when Rick started having stomach pains, it was easy to put off getting the tests his doctor recommended because of his hectic work schedule. After the first tests didn’t show anything of concern, Rick went back on the road.
“I had just come back from a trip on a Friday, and that night the pain I felt was beyond anything I knew.” Rick recalls.
Rick’s roommate, KC Willis, was the one that insisted they call 9-1-1 and go to the Emergency Department. And Rick’s fortunate that he did, because his small intestine was about to burst because of a tumor. Rick says that the tumor was nearly the size of a bowling ball, but because he didn’t listen to his body, he just assumed he had gained a few pounds during his travel for work. “I wasn’t thinking cancer – that’s for sure.”
Rick had surgery to remove the tumor, was diagnosed with lymphoma and then began an intensive chemotherapy program under the care of Dr. Alan Feiner.
“I couldn’t imagine being in better hands,” he says. “I consider it a gift. When I went to the hospital, Dr. Feiner was appointed as my oncologist. Angels have appeared that have taken care of me in my darkest hours – and Dr. Feiner was definitely one of them.”
That was nearly four years ago, and today Rick is back to enjoying his work, along with his 2-year-old granddaughter.
“I’ve always been very independent, but now I realize that when you don’t have your health, you have nothing,” Rick said. “Left to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t be here because I wasn’t strong enough to push myself to get better. With help from my friend KC, I understood that it’s okay to depend on other people for help and to put yourself and your health at the forefront. I have some of the best family and friends that anyone could ever have.”
The Rose “Surviving Well” Calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians, and inspirational stories from our patients. Rick is our survivor for February.