Meet the One Million Strong – Barbara B. From Oregon


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Meet Barbara


Barbara Baughman, caregiver
Hillsboro, Oregon

Barbara's Story

This is my husband Rodger, who was diagnosed in February 2008 with stage IV colorectal cancer. We were at our beach house when Rodger began experiencing major bleeding. He decided that he wanted to be back in Hillsboro, so we drove immediately home and then to the doctor's office. After seeking medical attention, long story short, he was scheduled for a colonoscopy.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. It started early with the prep and then off he went to have the procedure. I went to the waiting area thinking it would not be long, but I was wrong; it was a long wait. Every person in the waiting room was waiting around for the call, and after several hours I finally met with Rodger and his doctor. I was the last person in the waiting room.

Unexpected News

All I could hear coming out of the doctor's mouth was the words "tumor" and "cancer." We were numb. Mr. Toad (Rodger) was starting his wild ride. The first oncologist prescribed radiation and 5-FU (yes, correctly named),  who felt that you overload the chemo and when the reactions start, back it off. That was stupid, as chemo stays in your body at least 30 days. That about killed Rodger and he lost his gallbladder from that experience.  That particular doctor started the day with radiation at the Tuality Cancer Center. I had forgotten Rodger's pain medication so I went back to the house to get it. When I returned, I was in a panic when I saw what was happening. Doctors were with Rodger and he couldn't verbalize anything. I took the nurse outside and said, "What is going on? I think he is having a stroke!" She stated that the doctors were all over the issue and that they didn't think it was a stroke, but major pain. We took him immediately across the street to the hospital. Our primary care physician rushed over and determined it was major pain. He was admitted, our doctor fired the oncologist, removed the chemo line and then Rodger had the surgery to remove his gallbladder by Dr. Tseng. Then, Dr. Cavanaugh removed the colon cancer and Rodger had a stoma until his rectal/colon area healed. He then had surgery to reverse the stoma and we then went to Jay Andersen for follow-up chemo.

The year 2010 arrived and we found out that the cancer had spread to his liver. We were then introduced to Dr. Wolfe, a surgeon who ended up performing a remarkable six-hour surgery which started out to be a resection and ended up being the removal of tumors which were believed to be cancerous. About 14 days later we went back to the doctor.  I was in no hurry to go back as I liked how Rodger was looking and feeling; why mess it up with bad news, right? Well, come to find out that the pathology reported that there was no cancer in any of the other tumors that were removed, only  in the original one they knew was there. We celebrated. Rodger had more chemo and was pronounced stage IV cured. This all happened on March 23 and we started planning for our trip down the Oregon Coast, a trip we hadn't done since the time we went when we married in June of 1982, but the travel would have to wait.

Travel Had to Wait

April brought more issues; Rodger had an abscess in his abdomen and was hospitalized for an open wound.  Then summer arrived and Rodger was feeling much better and working, but in July the bulge in his side started again and we watched it thinking it may be another abscess; but there was no fever or infection. In August, we were off to the primary care doctor again. Our doctor's assistant arranged a CT scan and they discovered a hernia of the upper abdominal area in addition to a nodule on his lung. Our primary doctor, Dr. Cavanaugh, again recommended Dr. Tseng, the doctor who did Rodger's gallbladder removal in 2008. After additional testing, Dr. Tseng and Dr. Anderson discovered that the cancer was back with a vengeance.

In October, Rodger was admitted for his second hernia and liver resection by Dr. Tseng and Dr. Wolf.  Then in November, he had his third resection and battled septicemia, this was followed by a month of healing. Rodger finished 2010 drain-free and we were hopeful that the liver aspects of the cancer were gone. But, in February 2011, it was another battle. We had gotten through a great summer and then the cancer was back. In September 2011, Rodger had more tests and it was determined that cancer was back in the liver. DAMN! He went through three major radiation treatments and then we waited. At the end of January we found out that he was in full remission PRAISE GOD!

Cancer Returned

In December 2014, after Rodger had a blockage in his liver, we quickly learned that the cancer had returned. There was a procedure to remove the liver drain via biliary system, but the bad news was that radiation or seed planting was not an option due to biliary issues.

In January 2015, Rodger had two biliary system treatments, one chemo treatment and recently a new drug added, Cetuximab. So far he is two treatments in and after the second treatment Rodger got a rash and had a fever of 103 degrees, but his doctor has since added antibiotics and Rodger is back on track.

This is long, but I want to say Rodger is 75 years old and is a licensed private investigator that is still working. He is active in his church, we run our business and live as life partners.  This has been a tough road to go down and I give my love and support to any caregiver and family member of a cancer patient. My ever-ready Rodger is beating this beast. He will fight with all he has, and has been.

What One Million Strong means to Barbara

Putting the spotlight on this horrid disease.

Barbara's advice

Never give up!

One thought on “Meet the One Million Strong – Barbara B. From Oregon

  1. Hi Barbara! I saw in your story that your husband and I have two of the same doctors, which both I’ve had excellent care with (Dr. Andersen and Dr. Wolf). I hope everything goes well for you and your husband.
    Take care! -Jessica

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