On a quiet corner of South Jefferson Street at Breckenridge, just a few blocks from the downtown square of Mexico, sits the home of Richard Webb. He recently was declared in remission for his prostate cancer that had metastasized to his bones last year.
"The last PET scan I had, they couldn't find a tumor,” he said. “That's very good news, but it doesn't mean that it's gone, it just means they couldn't find it.”
Planning is key for Webb. Despite being in remission, he is doing as much as he can to prepare documents and other end-of-life necessities in case he eventually dies from cancer. His father, Bill, recently died from fighting the same cancer, and as executor of his father's estate in California, Webb is closing out his father's life as well.
"I'm looking at setting up the things for when [I die], so my wife doesn't have to deal with a lot of the things I'm dealing with now," he said. "I'm concentrating on setting financial goals and [the] legal areas. I'm making sure everything transfers on death. That's how I concentrate of relieving the strain of the outlook."
Webb worked a variety of jobs his entire life, mostly as a laborer at places like Dollar General Distribution, Securitas, and other warehouse and construction work. He had a prostatectomy two years ago, but his doctors last August found prostate-like cells still in his body which was the indicator that his cancer had metastasized.
"They realized I had a reoccurring cancer," he said.
Webb went through chemotherapy at University of Missouri Hospital and is receiving hormone treatments due to the removal of his prostate. He also receives an infusion to aid the binding of calcium to his bones. The hospital is very good about answering any questions he may have, Webb said.
"With prostate cancer that metastasizes to the bone, it tends to eat the bones up," he said.
His family has attended Audrain County Relay for Life events in the past.
This year's relay starts 2 p.m. Sept. 14 in the downtown square. Webb's daughter, Christi, is a team captain, and his wife, Donna, also participates. Webb will take part in the survivor walk, and the caretaker walk with his wife. This story is the second in a series of interviews with cancer fighters and survivors ahead of the relay.
Even though Webb was upset by his diagnosis, he said one just has to stay as positive as they are able. "Do the things that you can accomplish, and you gotta let the things you can't accomplish slide," he said. "It's 14 months is what they said. I bet it's been about a year, so doing pretty good."
Webb started chemo for metastatic cancer in December and finished those treatments in April. He received chemotherapy every three weeks. He still had plenty of energy the first two days after the treatments, but he would be exhausted within 48 hours. By the time he regained energy, he had to go in for another treatment.
"I got my hair back [though]," he said with a laugh.
Despite being in remission, Webb is practical and knows that his cancer could return, which is why he focuses on his family and does everything he can to financially and legally prepare for his death. His family has been a great support system during his treatment process, he said.
"They were very supportive,” he said. “They have helped out a lot. They babied me a little too much, but otherwise it's OK.”
He is slowly building back up his energy since he is now in remission.
"It's been an uphill battle. I try to walk quite a bit. My immune system is fairly low. Anything that is going around I tend to get,” he said. “You go a couple steps forward, and then you go a couple steps back. You keep on plugging and eventually you're going to get there."
One of Webb's loves is hiking, which he has had to give up for now, but he is able to continue another passion, cooking. He makes a variety of dishes, including those from south of the border. He keeps a small herb garden, including Mexican oregano, despite saying he doesn't really have a green thumb.
"My wife says I need to start cooking her Duck a l'Orange, because I used to do that and souffles and stuff like that, but I wear out too easily and that takes pretty much all day," he said.
Webb also tries to keep his brain engaged as much as possible despite the treatments affecting some of his abilities. "My mind is not quite what it was, but I did take some classes in finance and economics just to keep a little bit going," he said.
He still likes to travel, last year visiting Toronto, Canada, Niagra Falls and Buffalo, New York. He’d like to take his family on another vacation, possibly just after the probate process for his father’s estate.
"Our idea is to have a good family vacation coming up next year,” he said. “We'll rent a place along a beach and have everyone come when they can.”