In 2010, former minor league baseball player Darrell “Doc” Rodgers thought he was having a stroke. Instead he was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.
“I don’t smoke. I don’t drink,” Doc told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I eat more salads than I do red meat.”
The lung cancer diagnosis was difficult to understand. He had been a baseball player. He kept active and refereed youth basketball games. He had a busy real estate and broadcasting career, and he was a young married father of two.
How could this happen?
The lung cancer had metastasized to his brain. A tumor in his brain—the size of a quarter—was what was causing his headaches, migraines, and numbness in his hands and feet.
The statistics seemed grim, and on Father’s Day 2010 Doc courageously prepared himself and his WLW’s “Extra Innings” radio listeners for the worst. He told his listeners he had terminal cancer. He told them his odds of surviving a year were 1 in 3 and he didn’t know if he would be able to continue his broadcasting career.
Then, after a two-week course of radiation, there was HOPE. The brain tumor was eradicated.
“And if it comes back,” Doc told the Enquirer, “they’ll zap it some more.”
After three months of chemotherapy, Doc was back on the basketball court refereeing games again.
His oncologist, Tahir Latif, MD, of UC Physicians, told the Enquirer that Doc handled his rigorous course of chemotherapy as if it were “a walk in the park.”
His successes with treatments have been attributed to his healthy life-style before he was diagnosed.
“Doc will continue to undergo routine checks,” noted Ronald Warnick, MD, Medical Director of the UC Brain Tumor Center. “If we see something new, we’ll address it, which is what we’re doing right now. Our goal is to keep any brain metastases under control so that Doc can continue working and enjoying his family and his life.”
Doc’s story proves that lung cancer can happen to anyone.
Earlier this year, Doc voiced his support of LUNGevity Foundation’s mission to end lung cancer.
Together it is our hope that his story and voice will dispel the stigma that lung cancer is simply a smoker’s disease and raise awareness for the need of more life-saving research.
Doc’s call-in talk show (after Reds games on Saturdays and Sundays) debuts this season on Saturday April 2nd on WLW-AM. You can also listen online at http://www.700wlw.com or with Clear Channel Communication’s IHeart cell phone app for Android, Blackberry, and Iphone and Windows 7 phones.