‘I have faith that I am cured’

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Billie Shelton Wayne Romp and wife Mabelle are pictured in their home near a wall filled with recognition for their communtiy service. Wayne Romp is the 2018 Relay for Life of Hamilton County Honorary Chairman.

STANHOPE –Wayne Romp is this year’s honorary chairman for Relay for Life in Stanhope on June 20. Romp, 79, finished treatment for follicular lymphoma in late 2017.

The disease was detected after the Stanhope man took note of a campaign encouraging former smokers to get checked for lung cancer. Because he smoked for 30 years before he quit thirty-one years ago, “I decided I’d have to do something,” he recalled about making that appointment for the CT scan that detected the cancer.

Even though he has always monitored his health and had a yearly physical, Romp admits that it was “a little upsetting” when he was told about the lymphoma. He had no symptoms, but chemotherapy treatment started right away at Bliss Cancer Center in Ames in late 2015.

That meant monthly IV treatment, starting with two chemicals. That was later reduced to just one chemical. Although he was warned to expect mild to severe nausea from the chemotherapy, Romp never had a problem with it. “The biggest thing I noticed was a lack of energy following each treatment,” he recalls, adding that although he was prescribed two medications to combat nausea, “I never even took the lid off the pill bottles.”

When that year of regular treatments ended, Romp and wife Mabelle thought he was finished, until they were told that there would be another year of bimonthly chemotherapy, which is routine. And, as he had for the previous year, he followed doctor’s orders.

Now that he is six months out from completing chemotherapy, Romp feels strong. “I feel like I was fortunate in the treatment and the fact that there was no radiation,” he stated about his journey.

As for quitting, Romp called it one of the hardest things he ever did. “But I was glad I could quit,” he said. “The urge for a smoke stays with you for a long time. When I started smoking, everyone was doing it. Cigarettes cost 35 cents per pack back then. By the time I decided to quit, it was becoming socially unacceptable to smoke.”

His advice?

“I strongly recommend monitoring your health, and don’t even start to smoke,” the honorary chairman answered. “Early detection is your friend. Everyone has to make up their minds what they’re going to do and how are they going to live. I feel extremely fortunate to catch this when I did.

“I have faith that I am cured.”