Ridley vows to win cancer battle
STURGIS — If Clint Ridley has learned one thing from having cancer, it’s to never give up.
“Through all the frustration of not being able to get out the words that I want, not being able to use my hand and pick up what I want, I will never give up. Like you, I will fight, and I will win,” Ridley told those gathered for the Relay for Life of Meade County on July 20.
This year’s relay raised $28,515 for the American Cancer Society and its fight against cancer.
“Whether it’s you, your family, a friend, or loved one, we have all been touched by this disease in some way and we all share a fighting spirit to overcome,” Ridley said.
His story began in 2014 when he was getting headaches with an “acidic” smell. He said that at first, he thought there was a problem with his eyes. His eyes were OK, so he checked with a chiropractor thinking maybe his neck was out of line. Again, that did not solve the problem.
He then went to his doctor, George Jenter who initially did bloodwork that also came back fine.
“Before I walked out the door though, he said I should get a CT scan just to be sure. I had a CT scan, and they found a tumor in the left frontal lobe of my brain,” Ridley shared.
He was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for surgery.
Surgery was scheduled for Feb. 5, 2015. The plan was to do a simple biopsy, see what the cancer was, and then go from there.
“I went through surgery fine, there was a little more blood than my surgeon, Dr. (Fredric) Meyer, would have liked, but they thought they had it stopped,” he said.
After recovery, he was taken up to his room. Ridley’s then girlfriend and now wife, Lexi, and his mom, were there with him.
“After being there for a short time, I started to slur my words and become incoherent. I was rushed down for an MRI where they found that I was bleeding from where the biopsy was taken,” he said.
At that point, Ridley’s family had to make a decision for his life — treat the bleeding with steroids in hopes that it would stop, and face a high chance that he would die, or go to surgery to stop the bleeding and remove the tumor.
“My family had to make one of the most difficult decisions they will ever have to make under unimaginable pressure and quickly made the best decision — surgery,” he said.
Meyer placed several drains in Ridley’s head in hopes that it would stop on its own. Ridley was kept in a medically-induced coma for almost a week to help the bleeding stop and let his body heal. The doctor told Ridley that all the blood, as scary as it was when he was bleeding, could have helped kill what was left of the tumor.
When Ridley woke up, he had deficit in his speech, and the right side of his body was almost paralyzed. Rehab specialists came in every day to work with Ridley.
Through several months of rehab, chemotherapy, and radiation, Ridley’s body began to heal.
“I could now walk fine, was back to driving, and doing basically all daily functions. I know that I am not back to exactly how I was before the surgery, but Dr. Meyer said it could take several years for my body to completely heal,” he said.
Ridley said that whether people know someone with cancer, have cancer, or have survived it, always remember to stay positive. He said that if everyone in the world were a little more positive, the world would be a better place.
Ridley said cancer is vicious and robs life and strength from individuals and from loved ones.
“Cancer is relentless. It’s downright terrible. I wish it upon no one, and I’m sure you all think the same. But with support of family and friends, a positive attitude, and the will to never give up, we can get through anything,” he said.
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