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When Wayne Merritt was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, it had been less than a year after his wife, Lisa had recovered from treatment for breast cancer. It was devastating to hear the words, “inoperable” and “three to six months to live.” His chances at survival seemed even less hopeful knowing that he did not want to go through chemotherapy after having just experienced it with Lisa.
So, Wayne and Lisa set out looking for alternatives. Some came with hefty price tags beyond what insurance would cover, required out of state travel, or turned out to be a “repackaging” of conventional therapy. One of the worst results was that unbeknownst to them, Wayne started chemotherapy during an alternative treatment. When they decided not to carry on that treatment, he could no longer participate in any first round clinical trials.
After this huge setback and waning hope, the couple found an oncologist who they “believe is treating the whole person and not just the cancer,” said Lisa. They brought Wayne’s treatment plan back to their home community of Rome and the Harbin Clinic and began the regime of chemotherapy and a strict diet of unprocessed foods and no sugars. They changed their lifestyle. And they prayed continually.
June 2012 was Wayne’s last chemo treatment. And there’s been no change in the tumor found in his pancreas. “Our doctors call me a miracle,” said Wayne. But more than anything, the couple attributes his survival to determination, strong faith, and the diet and the lifestyle changes they made together.
Wayne and Lisa celebrated their 25-year wedding anniversary in 2013.
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Three women, three cancer survivorship journeys, three missions resulting in nonprofits started to help and support others fighting cancer.
Thanks to funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control for five-years beginning July 2020, Georgia CORE and Augusta University are partners in the Georgia Colorectal Cancer Control Program, which is increasing CRC screenings in southeast and southwest Georgia.
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