When Pat McBride beat cancer for the fourth time, he could finally look forward to getting his life back to normal.
After surviving bladder cancer, skin cancer, lymphoma and lung cancer, the Canadian Lakes, Michigan, resident felt quite ready to tackle life without the dreaded cancer-word or any of its symptoms.
“I’ve had my share and somebody else’s share, too,” McBride said, glancing at his wife, Karen McBride, who has remained by his side throughout each cancer journey. “But I’m done with cancer now.”
Nevertheless, trouble remained.
Neuropathy, a common side effect of chemotherapy, created a painful tingling sensation and stiffness in his feet. He found walking difficult, which forced him to use a cane around the house and a motorized cart at the grocery store.
“I never imagined I’d be riding in those things, but it was kind of fun,” McBride said with a grin.
While his keen sense of humor helped him make the best of his situation, he maintained his determination to conquer the neuropathy rather than live with it.
As a family man, he has always cherished time with his wife and four kids. He wasn’t about to let this roadblock stop him from doing what he loved.
Beyond this, he had a special family celebration coming up.
“My son was getting married and all I wanted to do was dance at the wedding,” McBride said. “I knew it was coming up—and that was my goal.”
His son, Justin McBride, planned to marry Hillary Hohn on Dec. 16, 2017, just three months after McBride emerged triumphant from his fourth bout with cancer.
McBride’s determination to dance at the wedding led him to the free wellness services at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, the same place he received his cancer treatment.
The center offers integrative therapies to minimize the side effects of cancer treatment.
McBride’s therapy involved back massages, foot massages and reflexology.
To his delight, he saw great results.
“It feels so good to have my feet massaged,” he said. “It helps with the pain, and I’m so glad they have those available. They offer so much here to help you. This is really a special place.”
McBride said his pain improved by 50 percent and he noticed more movement in his feet, all because of monthly foot massages, reflexology and a procedure to improve blood flow to the feet.
He no longer uses a cane or a motorized scooter at the grocery store. Instead, on grocery trips with his wife, he now walks the aisles.
Most importantly, the efforts paid off for the big date.
He danced at his son’s wedding.
“It was fantastic,” McBride said. “I enjoyed it so much. After all the things we’ve gone through, I’ve met my goal and I’m so happy.”
McBride said he’s grateful for the care he received and for his oncologist, William Scott, MD, and the cancer center staff.
“Dr. Scott took care of me the last two times I had cancer,” he said. “He’s a smart guy and he’ll explain to you in detail what’s going on with you. I can’t say enough good about him. He’s a wonderful man.”
Having received chemotherapy at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital for a previous cancer, McBride knows firsthand how the cancer center helps the community. It offers an infusion bay, radiation therapy and holistic wellness services.
“This facility is just beautiful,” McBride said. “I have a lot of the same nurses I had when I had chemo over at the hospital, but now I think they have the right people in the right place. You don’t know how good it makes you feel to come in and see smiling faces and good attitudes. They make you feel better even though you’re sick.”
Though his treatment is over, McBride, like other cancer patients, can still receive wellness services a year beyond his remission date.
When he visits the center for his massage or reflexology appointments, he visits his nurses, bringing special trinkets for them and their children. He even paints them pictures.
“Everybody here feels like my family now,” McBride said. “They saved my life. They helped me dance again.”