Stage 3 cancer patient wins out
Roger Ryder got the best news this month after a hard year of fighting for his life.
His PET scans showed no traces of the pancreatic cancer that his doctors had insisted was terminal.
“I asked if I was going to live two or three years so I could see my youngest graduate, and he said ‘No,’” Ryder said. “He says I’m a miracle.”
In the meantime, Ryder has been told to take care of himself.
“If I start losing weight, then it means I’m too active,” he said. “That’s why he (doctor) doesn’t want me to go back to work. It could lower my immune system, which could cause the cancer to come back.”
Ryder began having pain in his abdomen in September of 2017, but several CT scans showed nothing. By the time he was diagnosed, a mass had grown around his pancreas that was preventing his liver from draining.
An oncologist chose to treat Ryder with CyberKnife surgery — a process that focuses photon particles into a single point using a robot, which can zap tumors with radiation while circling a patient’s body on the outside.
Ryder was deemed a good candidate for the procedure because his tumor wrapped around his arteries, making it inoperable.
Watching his youngest daughter graduate is still Ryder’s biggest life goal. He said he never gave up on getting well for his family in spite of overwhelming odds, and that has made a difference as he struggled through treatment.
“You have to keep fighting,” he said. “You have to get your mind set that you’re going to live. You have to keep thinking positively, and can’t just lie down and take it.”
Last modified Oct. 24, 2019