• Last modified 795 days ago (July 17, 2019)


Cancer patient beats the odds

Marion County man lives to see daughter graduate

Staff writer

Roger Ryder was told he’d die from pancreatic cancer in February.

Five months later the Hillsboro resident is not only alive, but also showing signs of improvement.

Ryder’s status remains terminal and in stage three, but there are promising signs, like hair growth.

“This is nothing for six months of growth, but it is coming back,” he said. “I shave every three months, and I can feel a little stubble now.”

Ryder said the reason he persevered living past doctors’ predictions was a strong will.

“I’m not going to give up,” he said. “I’ve got my mind set that I’m going to survive this.”

One of Ryder’s goals was to live long enough to see his daughter, Heidi, graduate. She graduated in May, and he was there, watching from the crowd.

“I fought my hardest to be here for her to graduate,” he said.

Ryder said using very aggressive chemotherapy decreased his tumor from the size of a half dollar to that of a dime.

When radiation stopped decreasing the growth’s size, Ryder sought counsel from doctors in Wichita and Kansas City, who said they would not operate because it was wrapped around one of Ryder’s arteries.

After a few months searching for different methods, Ryder received CyberKnife surgery treatment, which started July 1 and ended the eighth.

One of the key factors in Ryder’s improving health is staying active, he said.

While the intensity is limited, Ryder said he goes on walks most days, and took up the habit of refinishing furniture.

“It was really cool, and the doctors looked like space creatures,” he said.

While Ryder had a precautionary chemotherapy appointment Monday, a good omen was gaining eight pounds in the 10 days after his cyberknife procedure, he said.

“That’s a good sign the cyberknife actually worked,” he said. “They believe they did what they set out to do.”

Ryder said he can’t have another scan to check cancer levels until October.

One of the biggest benefits was being able to have family around, including his brother, and one of his best friends from New York. Thanks to Lions Club, able to put up in hotel for several days.

The help from community became especially important because Ryder said he had little government assistance from supplemental security income. A longstanding fund remains available for donations at Great Plains Federal Credit Union, where Ryder’s wife, Joyce, works.

One further change for Ryder is his increased motivation, affiliation to attend church since getting cancer.

“I’ve gone to different churches to see which ones I feel comfortable with and which ones I’m going to go to,” he said. “This whole community has gotten together. The churches have really helped us out.”

I’ll prove to everyone that my brain will keep me going, with God’s help. God plays a big part of this. I never used to go to church.”

Last modified July 17, 2019