The Moment This Cancer Survivor Never Wants To Forget
Posted on October 21, 2016, 10:15 AM
“Have you ever seen The Matrix?” Rodney Bostick asks. “One doctor told me I was like Neo, the main character in the movie, when it came to my cancer. Somehow, I was ‘the one,’ narrowly dodging bullets that should have killed me.”
When you hear Rodney’s story, you understand his doctor’s analogy a little better.
At the age of 36, Rodney and his family moved to a new city for his job with Fifth Third Bank. He was in good health but needed to find a new primary care physician for his annual checkup. “I was definitely feeling run down, but as a dad of three young kids that isn’t really out of the ordinary,” Rodney recalls. “One of my children had also been ill, and my dad was in and out of the hospital, we had a lot going on.” One symptom that did catch Rodney’s attention was a sharp pain in his abdomen about a week before his scheduled appointment.
During his physical, Rodney’s doctor was unable to feel anything out of the ordinary, but Rodney insisted something wasn’t quite right. An X-Ray would later reveal that his spleen was twice the normal size. Multiple tests and finally, a surgery to remove his spleen turned into a diagnosis of Primary Splenic AngioSarcoma. Rodney would become one of less than 200 documented splenic cases of this rare and often aggressive form of cancer.
As he recovered from surgery, Rodney searched online to learn more about his diagnosis and began to panic. The doctors had been able to remove every bit of cancer they could see with their eyes, but the chance of reoccurrence was high. The five-year survival rate was dismal. “That moment, sitting at the computer reading that there was a good chance I wouldn’t make it, was probably my lowest moment,” Rodney remembers. “But, it was also at that moment when I realized how precious life truly is. At that moment, I began to appreciate things in a way I never had before.”
Together, with his wife Beckitt, Rodney assembled his team of doctors to make a decision about treatment. “I always tell everyone to get second and third opinions because you have to be confident in your medical team,” advises Rodney. “Everyone, including doctors, have different perspectives.” His treatment plan included six cycles of intense chemotherapy that would keep him in the hospital for a week at a time. When asked how he approached treatment, Rodney says he was like a horse with blinders on. It became his job to get through chemo. By the time he finished treatment, his doctors informed him there was no evidence of disease. The chance of reoccurrence, though, was roughly 80%-90%.
Two and a half more years to be with his family and watch his kids grow—that was Rodney’s goal. He wanted his children to remember their father. During treatment, he says he learned to live and love better. A memory he still holds close to his heart includes one Halloween night where he was able to make it trick-or-treating to two or three houses with his children.
Today, Rodney is a five-year survivor, and the odds of reoccurrence are finally in his favor. He knows that he couldn’t have done it without support and prayers from so many people. Rodney calls his wife a miraculous human being for taking care of everything while he was going through treatment. He’s thankful that he works for a company that told him to put himself and his family first when he was sick and recovering. Never feeling like his job was in jeopardy was a huge weight off his shoulders. “I saw a different side of humanity through this experience,” Rodney says. “The things my doctors, nurses, friends, family and even strangers did for me were nothing short of incredible.”
“Lucky” and “blessed” are two words Rodney uses to describe his story. He knows first-hand that cancer can happen to anyone, and that everyone fights, whether it’s for one month or five years. His personal decision to take things day by day and try to live his best life is what helped him get through it. “I never want to forget that moment in front of my computer when I thought I might not live to see another year,” Rodney says. “That moment is my eternal reminder to live for today, to love more and to truly appreciate the time I have.”
Fifth Third Bank is proud to stand with employees like Rodney and with the millions of others affected by cancer every day. They know when it comes to cancer there are many ways to fight it. Learn more about how they are supporting SU2C research through their #HowIFight campaign here.
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