New year, new lease on life

Fairburn resident discusses CTCA and healthy living

Roderick Echols of Fairburn was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in June of last year. When CTCA at Southeastern Regional Medical Center opened its doors in Newnan on August 15, 2012, he was one of the first patients at the facility. Things have gone well for Echols since he began his treatment and he has nothing but positive things to say about CTCA and the care he received there.

“I’m currently cancer free, in remission, and five more months of treatment and that should be it,” said Echols. He was eating well and exercising before his diagnosis but has also been working with CTCA’s staff to be sure he is eating the right foods to stay healthy and nourished.

“More fiber, more fruit and vegetables, brown rice and fish,” Echols answered when asked about his diet today. “All things to help with the immune system and fight off illnesses.”

Eating healthier and exercising wasn’t hard for Echols to do or increase, it was just a matter of making some slight changes.

“I switched from white bread to wheat bread and from ice cream to yogurt or smoothies,” he stated.

Echols started treatment elsewhere and when a second surgery was recommended he wanted to get a second opinion. He made a phone call to CTCA and started treatment with them in Illinois before the Georgia location opened their doors. CTCA’s close proximity to his home in Fairburn has made things a lot easier on him and his family.

“I’ve always felt like a person and not a number to them,” said Echols. “I had to undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiation but I only stayed there for seven days after surgery. The rest of the time I am just 20 minutes away. It’s a blessing to have a resource like that so close by.”

One of the things that impressed Echols right away was having all three of his doctors communicating with him in the same room at the same time.

“Knowing that they are all communicating and everyone is on the same page makes a difference,” Echols said, adding, “The warm greetings and the friendly atmosphere made dealing with a scary situation more comfortable.”

Since his diagnosis, Echols has spoken with several groups about the importance of getting your check-up, trusting your instincts and being proactive.

“As males we tend to brush things off and avoid going to the doctor. I was told that I had hemorrhoids at first but my family history with cancer raised red flags for me and I scheduled my own colonoscopy. It could have been a lot worse.”

Echols has been cleared to go back to work and he is counting down the days until his treatment is done. He isn’t shy about heaping praise on CTCA though, especially since he has been there from day one.