ROANOKE, Va. (WSLS) – It’s not very often a stage 4 cancer patient hears the words “you’re cured.” However, one Roanoke man has quite the story, one he has told to anyone willing to listen.
A picture of Steve Futrell and his daughter pinning a corsage at her wedding is a reminder of one of the moments he fought to live for.
Steve and his wife Terrie agree, getting to see their two children as adults was motivation when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
“My main thrust was to finish raising my kids. That’s the thing that I really wanted to do,” Steve said.
His battle started in his early 40s when a doctor found a tumor on one of his lungs after a physical. The tumor was the size of a golf ball.
It was a shock to Steve and the doctor since he had never smoked. In fact, the doctor said to just go home and don’t worry about it.
“I literally glided out of his office to the elevator. Got to the elevator and push the button and I thought yeah, but he’s only one person suppose he’s wrong. Doctors do make mistakes and I knew in that instant I couldn’t turn it loose that easily,” Steve recalled.
The tumor was removed, but no chemotherapy or radiation was prescribed.
It was a decision Steve questioned many times.
He was told just call us if your health ever changes.
“Anything new we want to know about it, otherwise, go ahead and live your life and we expect to never see you again.”
Three years later, Steve got a cough, went in for an x-ray and this is what was found.
His new oncologist, Dr. Bill Fintel, told him the cancer was back and bigger than before.
Two rounds of chemotherapy and radiation didn’t even touch it.
“He left it that you need to go home and do some soul-searching, you decide what you want to do. With a heavy heart I left the clinic and realized it’s looking like the 11th hour for me,” explained Steve.
“Steve looks at me and I will get him and he said I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think you can just lie down and die. You can’t do that when you’re 44-years-old,” Terrie said.
The 11th hour calls for drastic change without telling anyone but his wife, Steve started juicing every hour and eating an entirely vegan diet.
“I got a juicer, I bought my first bag of 50-pound carrots, was so weak from the chemo and the radiation that I had to drag it literally into my kitchen, and I started juicing carrots every morning starting at 7 o’clock.”
This major diet change lasted for almost three months until it was time to go back to the doctor for another test.
He didn’t expect his new diet to make a difference.
“I had committed myself to traditional medicine. I didn’t believe that anything else was anything other than hocus-pocus.”
What the doctor found next would change Steve’s life forever.
“His case was one of the first ones that I remember that just made no sense to me as a medical doctor,” explained Dr. Fintel.
“He came in and he opened the door and he’s got my charts in his hand and he’s literally running around in the examining room, and he’s yelling something and shaking my papers,” Steve remembers.
Dr. Fintel told Steve the cancer was gone, all of it. Not even a trace.
“I was excited for him and telling him that something happened, it just makes no sense. It’s a gift. It’s a gift of God. You’ve been cured,” said Dr. Fintel.
“It really is a remarkable story. I don’t understand it, and I constantly ask myself why me? Why was I spared?” he asked.
A question 25 years later he still contemplates.
However, giving a speech at his son’s reception and seeing his daughter in a white dress are pretty good reasons for defying the odds.