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Nickols is two-time cancer survivor
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:51 PM


By JIM LANGHAM • Feature Writer

When Paulding County resident Richard Nickols followed the advice his family doctor, Dr. Joseph Kuhn, to have his colon checked, he was shocked to discover that there was a substantial amount of cancer that would require six months of chemotherapy.


That was in 2003, just three years before he and his wife, Janice, were hoping to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Janice can still remember her one request to physicians caring for her husband.


“I asked the doctor to do all that he could to give us a few years so we could celebrate our 50th anniversary,” said Janice. “We had been married 47 years at the time. He did a good job; he kept him around for a lot longer time than that.”

The Nickols have now been married for 56 years.

But things got tougher than he would have imagined at the beginning of the cancer fight. Complications developed at the hospital and he ended up staying at a Defiance hospital for two weeks. Six months of chemotherapy followed.

The bout with her husband’s cancer wasn’t the first time that Janice had coped with it. She was a bit familiar with cancer procedure because her mother had also suffered from the illness.

Unfortunately, eight years after Nickols had suffered through the colon cancer, the ugly disease knocked at his doorstep once again, this time in the form of prostate cancer.

“I had a blood test; I felt fine, I didn’t feel anything and I didn’t expect anything, but when the report came back, they came back and recommended treatment,” Nickols said.

This time Nickols, who had been employed at Lafarge Corporation for over 40 years, underwent a procedure he referred to as “cyber knife,” a form of radiation treatment. This time his treatment occurred at Parkview North hospital.

Although there were no side effects from the treatment, four gold seeds that had been placed in the prostate to melt down during his treatment gave him more pain than he had imagined.

“I’m not sure I would have that done again,” said Nickols. “It was very uncomfortable. I know of people that say that it didn’t bother them, but they had a difficult time killing my pain.”

“The first time they told us that the cancer was very close to breaking through his colon,” said Janice. “He didn’t even feel anything.”

Concerning his post-colon surgery, Richard said, “It’s okay except it keeps me kind of close to the house, in case I have to use the bathroom.”

These days, Nickols is back to the fields. Although he is retired from Lafarge, he still has a few acres around the family farm that are his responsibility, mainly in planting beans.

Nickols lives on ground that was part of his family heritage. In fact, he met Janice when she came from Defiance during the summer to visit relatives “over there across the road.”

“Eventually, he started coming into to Defiance to see me and we got serious,” said Janice, who noted that they were married on June 9, 1956.

During their 56 years, the Nickols have been blessed with four girls and one boy. Three Bibles sitting on the kitchen table define the faith that has strengthened their family over the years and brought Richard through his cancer fights.

“This Bible is his and he reads certain things out of it. This one is mine and I read certain things out of it,” observed Janice. “The third one is ours and we read out of that one together every day. It is our source of strength for all that we’ve gone through over the years.”