Cancer survivor relied on his positive attitude, his wife, and his Patient Navigator throughout his cancer journey.
“I didn’t know I was sick,” says Billy Hargett of Temple. The retiree was bowling in a tournament when he realized something was wrong. “I needed to go to the bathroom, and I just couldn’t.”
At Baylor Scott & White, urologists prescribed medicine to help him urinate and all was well for a few days. Then, during a bathroom break at another bowling tournament, Mr. Hargett saw blood.
Scans confirmed a tumor the size of an apple on Mr. Hargett’s bladder. “I saw what it looked like and it scared me a lot. I wanted it out of my body,” he says.
Although he smoked for 50 years, Mr. Hargett says quitting was the easiest part of what came next. “I set aside the cigarettes and haven’t touched one in two years.”
After surgery to remove most of the tumor, Mr. Hargett underwent 40 rounds of radiation and 12 rounds of chemotherapy, which is notoriously hard on the body. “Radiation really wasn’t that bad,” Mr. Hargett says. “It took about five minutes every day, five days a week, and I never felt a thing. Chemo was definitely the worst part.”
Eventually, Mr. Hargett had to have his bladder removed. “They said my body just couldn’t take any more radiation or chemo,” he says. “I decided if I’m going to live, then this is what I have to do. Compared to the alternative, it’s not that bad.”
Mr. Hargett credits his positive outlook and his wife, Lisa Farrell, for helping him through this journey. “The staff all said that I had one of the best attitudes, and that I was strong. I’m proud of my attitude, but my wife is the tough one. She’s the strongest person I know. I always say that the Lord is on my right, and she’s on my left. Without her, I don’t think I would have made it.”
Mrs. Farrell relied on Patient Navigator Jennifer Foster for guidance and support. “Jennifer was a godsend,” she says. “She helped us schedule appointments and work through the financial issues. She made everything easier, so I could focus on Billy.”
“It’s so important to be there for our patients during one of the darkest periods of their lives,” says Mrs. Foster. “We do everything we can to make that journey easier.”
Although he’s still gaining strength and isn’t quite satisfied with his recovering bowling game, Mr. Hargett is thrilled to say he is now cancer-free. “I’m just tickled pink and so happy to tell everybody,” he says. “I have had the best team of doctors that anybody could ever have. Now if I could get back to bowling like I was, I would be happy as a lark!”
To find out how you can support life-saving cancer care for patients like Billy, contact Lori Luppino at 254-899-3771.