South Dakota State Trooper Serves through Chemo.

"I wasn't expecting it. I'm in my 20s, I was a marine, I'm in pretty good shape...you just don't hear about troopercancerit happening to people this age, you know, being diagnosed with cancer," South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Douglas Roderick said. One year after the former marine joined the South Dakota Highway Patrol, a diagnosis of chronic leukemia rocked his future. But now a new long term treatment plan is helping the Madison trooper get back on the road. "I like what I do. I get to meet the public, I like to give back and help the community out as much as I can," Roderick said. It's a passion he first fulfilled as a marine. I always felt like I needed give back; my parents are both in the military as well," Roderick said. But he quickly turned to law enforcement after meeting his wife. "Abby wasn't too keen on that, going out being deployed,being away from home so much, so I thought this would be the next best thing," Roderick said. Shortly after becoming joining the Highway Patrol in Murdo, Roderick says his wife helped him make a life saving move. "I wear my vest and it was pretty tight so I started to get a pain in my chest during my night shift and I didn't think much of it....but Abby told me to get it checked out so that's when I went to the ER," Roderick said. After several tests, doctors found Roderick had extremely high white blood cell levels and broke the news that he has leukemia. "It's just something you never think is going to happen. I remember I was talking to him and he was going into the ER in Pierre and I don't know what I thought was wrong with him but you definitely don't think it's going to be cancer," Roderick wife Abby said. Just two years into their marriage and Doug’s new career, the diagnosis felt like a sudden stop to their future. “At one point I thought maybe I couldn't do this job still, just because of treatments and what they do to you in the beginning, getting sick and tired all the time,” Roderick said. Further tests revealed Doug had chronic leukemia, which meant a slower, less aggressive form of treatment. “I do my treatments everyday. I take it at night and that's kind of to curb off the side effects, because then you sleep through all the side effects that might be happening but I don't have too many side effects anymore because my body's gotten used to it a little more,” Roderick said. For seven months of adjusting to his daily dose of chemo, Doug worked a desk at Highway Patrol Headquarters in Pierre, always hoping to one day get back on the road to protect and serve. “Him going back to work, you can see him light up again and be excited; I can tell that he's enjoying his work,” Abby said. Today Doug is once again a full time trooper, living in Madison and working out of the Brookings Highway Patrol office. “A spot opened up to move closer to Sioux Falls and closer to doctors…now we've figured out a good regiment so I can come back full time again. I'm just grateful that I can do that. I'm lucky in a sense that this is the form of cancer that I have…I know it could be a lot worse,” Roderick said. It’s that incredibly positive outlook that's helping Doug and his wife to once again dream about a bright future together. “The future is scary, but we try to stay positive,” Abby said. “Just try to live day to day, try not to think about it too much, do the things we like to do, go out and do things and just enjoy life as much as possible now, especially after a diagnosis like this,” Roderick said. Doug's fight with cancer is far from over; his current treatment plan is to continue taking a dose of chemo every night for the rest of his life unless it goes into remission or until someone can find a cure.

 

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