All conventional wisdom and medicine told Stapleton resident Roger Stump he was going to die in 2004. But Stump decided he was going to live.
After being diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in August of 2004, Stump traveled to Tampa to see a pancreatic cancer specialist at the University of South Florida. The well-renowned doctor looked at Stump’s films for a few minutes and then uttered the words that sent Stump and his wife Brenda reeling.
“He turns around and looks at me and says, ‘You’re not taking this seriously, are you?’” Roger said, remembering how he was smiling and joking during the visit, even though he knew he had cancer. “’Maybe you have six more months. Nothing will stop this. Chemotherapy is like deer hunting with a BB gun. It’s not going to stop this. Get your affairs in order.’”
Brenda immediately burst into tears, and Roger, who was 52 at the time, was shocked at the notion that his life could end in less than six months.
“Finally, I stopped him, and I said, ‘How many people have you seen like me?’ and he said, ‘Thousands. They’re all dead. Nobody survives this. It’s impossible.’
“I’m trying to absorb this, and I looked up at him and said, “I’m not going to die of this. Jesus isn’t going to let me die of this,’” Roger said. “He thought I was some sort of nut job, I think.”
The doctor told him to come back Monday morning to start treatment, but Roger didn’t feel right about being treated there, so he left, unsure of what would come next.
His daughter called Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and a few days later, he flew to Chicago to be examined there.
“I thought, ‘What have I got to lose? Maybe somebody in Chicago will have a different opinion,” he said. “Then they looked at everything, and they said, ‘We think we can help you.’”
Roger began treatment in Chicago in September of 2004, receiving chemotherapy through a mediport in his chest as well as intra-arterial chemotherapy and naturopathic supplements. He and Brenda adjusted their diets and began eating bison instead of beef and cut out all soft drinks and sugar.
Throughout the eight months of treatment, Roger kept his job at an automatic transmission parts factory in Atmore, working at the factory between treatments and taking his laptop to Chicago to get work done there.
In June of 2005, Roger and Brenda flew back to Chicago for a PET scan to see how the treatment was progressing. Usually, the doctor was prompt, but that day, the couple waited for a long time in the waiting room.
Roger began to have flashbacks to his diagnosis. He feared the worst, but opened his Bible and read Mark 11:22-25, in which Jesus teaches his disciples the power of faith.
“I just felt this voice in my head saying, ‘Why are you doubting me now?’” Roger said.
Right after reading the verses, a nurse opened the door and invited Roger into a patient room. She told him the doctor was running late, but that she had to give him his PET scan results.
“I’m so nervous that I can’t even read,” Roger remembered. “I finally looked at her and asked her, ‘What does it say?’ and she says, ‘We can’t find any cancer. You’re clean on the PET scan.”
Back in the waiting room, he and Brenda celebrated, cried and said many prayers of thanks. He had been healed against all odds.
Now, at 61 years old, Roger flies back to Chicago for annual check-ups, and his body is continuing to heal itself.
“On recent scans, if you didn’t know my history, you would never know I had it,” Roger said.
He also travels to the new Cancer Treatment Centers of America location in Atlanta, Ga. frequently to counsel people who are newly diagnosed.
Even though Roger is naturally quiet and reserved, he said he feels like he has a responsibility to spread hope to as many people as possible.
“I tell people, ‘Don’t listen to these doctors that are so quick to tell you how long you have. Reject them like I did to that doctor in Tampa. Tell them to their face you’re not going to die,’” he said. “I think too many people, they hear these reports early on, and they haven’t even had a treatment yet, and they believe it.
“You’re going through the motions of treatment, but you don’t really believe they’re going to work anyway.”
Although Roger is a believer in Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s methods, he said he knows God is the one who truly healed him.
“I’m a blessed man, and believe me, I know who’s blessing me,” he said. “Life is a little sweeter. But human nature is you forget quickly, and I’m a victim of that myself.”
Roger said he encourages any Baldwin County residents who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.