Cancer survivors share story with Relay board

Published 6:25 am Friday, March 9, 2012

Fred Davis and Patti Sadler know they are blessed.

Both have battled cancer and, by the grace of God, the healing hands of physicians and the prayers of family and friends, “we’re still here.”

Davis and Sadler were the special guests of the American Cancer Society Pike County Board Wednesday at Troy Regional Medical Center. They told of their struggles for survival and expressed heartfelt gratitude for those who have helped them along the way.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Davis said his cancer was found “as a fluke.”

“I went in for a colonoscopy in 2004 and, my sister encouraged me to have an EGD done at the same time,” he said. “That’s when they found that I had esophageal cancer. If the EGD had not been done, I wouldn’t be here to day.”

And, there were times during his surgery and treatment that Davis thought he would not make it through.

“Esophageal cancer is second only to pancreatic cancer as the most dangerous,” Davis said. “They had to remove my esophagus and make me a new one from a portion of my colon.”

Davis’ post-operative recovery was excruciatingly painful.

“Because my body had to have time to accept the new esophagus, I could not have one drop of liquid – not one drop of moisture — for nine days,” he said. “It was brutal. I didn’t think that I could live through those days.”

Davis had follow-up chemotherapy and radiation and, because of the side effects of those treatments and violent reactions to some of the medications, he was “so terribly ill for so long.”

Davis made it through when he didn’t think it was possible. He is his oncologist’s longest survivor of esophageal cancer.

“Going through all that I did was the hardest thing I could ever have imagined,” he said. “But, the Good Lord, doctors and prayer brought me through. I’m happy to be growing old.”

And Patti Sadler is happy, and “very blessed” to be a three-year survivor of adenocarcinoma.

“I have lung cancer but I’m not sick,” Sadler said. “And, for that I am so blessed.”

Sadler’s diagnosis of lung cancer came to her from left field.

“I never smoked or drank and I would never have thought that I would have lung cancer,” she said.

“I had a cough and ached like I had the flu but it wasn’t. I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, stage four. I had never been in the hospital except to have babies and, suddenly, I had cancer.”

Sadler’s cancer has been treated with chemotherapy for three years.

Her treatments began with eight straight hours of chemotherapy and have continued with one treatment every four weeks for three years.

“I had so many nodules in my lungs that radiation was not an option,” she said. “It would have burned me up.”

Sadler was sick with the first chemo treatments but hasn’t been sick since and she had only lost a few pounds.

“I can’t taste anything or smell either but I try very hard to eat so I can keep up my strength,” she said. “I’m doing all that I can to survive.

“When my cancer was diagnosed, it was already stage four so I am blessed to have lived this long, but there is nothing more that can be done for me now – unless some new treatment is found.

“After I complete this next chemo treatment, I will be tested to see if the treatments are working. But right now, I just feel so blessed to be here and have lung cancer and not be sick.”

Pike County Relay for Life teams are in the fundraising mode. The theme for this year’s Relay campaign is “Relay Around the World: One World One Hope One Cure.

The culminating Relay for Life event will be May 4 at the Troy Recreation Park.