What if you were told you had 90 days to live?
For Rodney and Paige Stamps, Rodney’s “out-of-the-blue” cancer diagnosis quickly turned a normally hypothetical question horribly real.
When Paige met Rodney, a nationally touring heavy-metal drummer, they both fell hard. Rodney swapped his drumsticks for marriage, family, a job, and then, his own business.
The ‘90-Days’ diagnosis hit just as their business was starting to soar.
“You’re going to die” was the solemn verdict from numerous MDs, who promised only to briefly extend Rodney’s life. With both a growing family and business, and so much living still to do, Rodney’s response to the no-hope prognosis? “I don’t think so.”
90 Days to Live recounts the Stamps’ incredible and inspirational journey to find an alternative “answer to cancer.” In the end…
They’d beaten the cancer and built a million dollar business.
While his weight dropped from 190 to 138 lbs., Rodney and Paige explored countless cancer “cures” of widely varying value. They even exposed a scam treatment being peddled by a mob boss—crossing paths with the FDA and FBI!
Alternately heart-wrenching and heart-warming—and delivered in an engaging dual-author format—90 Days to Live will speak to anyone struggling with an “incurable” disease, building a business under trying circumstances, or anyone who just loves a good old-fashioned, “beating-the-odds” story.
Read an Excerpt
Out of the Blue
LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING, Dr. A's words hit me. "I'm sorry, Mr. Stamps, but unless you start treatment immediately, about ninety days is all you can expect." I was alarmed and bewildered to think that my life could be over, when I wasn't even sick.
Rewind to six weeks earlier.
I woke up early, as usual, and it seemed like just another summer morning. I wasted no time because there were bridges to cross and mountains to climb and not enough hours in the day. How great to own my own business, call the shots, and let the buck stop here.
Stampsco Fire and Security was taking off, and the future looked promising.
I hummed the melody to "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll" as I walked over to the closet. Traces of my distant past barely penetrated my present. I had given up that life as a drummer with a heavy metal band shortly after I met Paige, the love of my life. We were both smitten; I mean we fell hard. There was no question that we fit together like hand in glove, and, more than a decade later, our devotion was stronger than ever. Little did we know how that bond would be tested in the near future.
I carried my red shirt out of the bedroom, on my way to the kitchen. Pausing in front of the mirror in the dining room, I intended to put it on but stopped short. There was something above my left collarbone, something I hadn't noticed before. I moved closer, inspecting it with my fingertips.
It was a lump.
A large one.
I froze, with my arms suspended in midair before slowly lowering them. "Paige!" I realized I sounded more than a bit panicked, so I cleared my throat and reduced my volume a few decibels.
"Can you come here?"
She came running in. "What is it? What's wrong?"
"What do you make of this?" I asked, indicating the lump. "It's about the size of an almond."
"That's huge! How long has that been there?"
"How could you miss something like that?" she asked. Pausing a moment, she muttered, "How could I miss something like that?"
She stared at the bulge and told me I should go to the doctor again. Not my favorite thing to do. I had been to the walk-in clinic just a couple of weeks before; I was prescribed antibiotics and received a steroid shot for bronchitis, but a cough still lingered. Even so, I saw no need to go running back there, even if the lump was kind of scary looking.
I put on my shirt and headed to the garage to load up the truck, grabbing a chocolate-peanut-butter breakfast bar on the way out. Since the lump didn't hurt, I didn't worry too much about it. I figured it might go away if I just ignored it. No clinic for me that day. I was just too busy.
Several weeks went by, and life continued as normal. It was only when Paige and I were installing a fire alarm system at a high school with Tony, our lone employee, that I began to feel fatigued. The job required climbing up and down a few flights of stairs and oddly, I felt drained after just one climb. Come to think of it, I hadn't had much energy lately, maybe for several months.
"Looks like we need to invest in a treadmill," I told Paige, breathing hard as I closed my eyes against the stream of stars that fogged my vision. Maybe it was time to face the fact that I was pushing forty.
This day was like most others when you could find us, side by side, hard at work, blazing new trails and forging relationships with various clients to provide fire and life-safety systems.
Paige couldn't help but put in a little dig about all the cheeseburgers I ate and suggested that cutting back might be a good idea. My forehead was sweaty, my legs were rubbery, and Paige thought I needed medical attention. She thought I might be developing acute bronchitis.
I don't know why I resisted going to the doctor. I just didn't want to take the time. Paige thought it might be fear of the unknown or possibly had to do with the fact that they usually asked me to drop my drawers for a shot in the butt. Either way, it took some convincing to get me there.
I started to feel limp and wasted, so, within thirty minutes, I realized I needed to call it quits. I went out to our red truck and gave instructions to Tony, requesting that he wrap things up for the day.
Paige suggested that we go to the walk-in clinic where she had taken Jessika the previous week. Our fourteen-year-old daughter liked Dr. M. She had caught a bug and needed antibiotics. Since she'd recovered fairly quickly under his care, I nodded in agreement.
THE TRAFFIC WASN'T BAD ON THE WAY TO THE CLINIC. Rodney drove, and I rolled down the window, letting the cool breeze wash over my face, thinking about our family dog, a German Shepherd named Konan. His head would be hanging out the car window every chance he got. Though tempting, I didn't hang my tongue out, and I did my best not to bark incessantly at the people and dogs on the street.
When we pulled up to the clinic, the parking lot was fairly vacant, and hardly anybody was in the waiting room. They had tried to make the place as homey as they could, adding a few knickknacks here and there. Popular magazines lay on end tables with decorative lamps, and a few paintings hung meticulously on the almond-colored walls. I was glad that they hadn't chosen the bleak white color you normally see in medical facilities.
We signed Rodney in and awaited our turn on the cushioned chairs. I think it's accurate to say "our" turn, because I'm always there to see the doctor with my husband. If he went by himself, he might neglect to mention a symptom in order for the doctor to properly diagnose his ailment. Going to the doctor with a man is sort of like taking the dog to the vet. They seem to expect the doctor to make a diagnosis with little or no input from them.
When a nurse called us back, we stopped at the weighing station. I glared at the scale, thinking about how I never enjoyed standing on one. I would yank my shoes off, place my purse on the floor, and hope it didn't hit a new all-time high.
Rodney didn't seem to have any such qualms, though. Men. He plopped himself on the scale, boots and all, and watched the arrow hit 194 pounds.
He laughed and said, "Wow! I need to quit eating so much!"
I shook my head at him. "I'm sure those steel-toed boots you have on are adding a good eight pounds at least!"
No way would I have gotten up there with those boots on!
A few minutes later, Dr. M. came in. When he saw me, he gave a big smile.
"Hello, again! How's Jessika doing?"
"She's doing well," I said with a nod. "Pretty much fully recovered."
"That's good to hear," he said. "And you, Rodney? What brings you here?"
"I HAVE THIS LUMP above my collar bone."
Dr. M. raised his hands to my neck and felt around.
"That's an impressive lump. How long has it been there?"
"Not sure. I noticed it about two or three weeks ago."
Dr. M. continued to feel around, checking my neck, chest, and under my arms. Suddenly his hand stopped moving under my left armpit. "What's this?"
"What's what?" I asked.
"There's a huge lump in your armpit."
I heard Paige gasp as I quickly pushed his hand aside to feel the second lump. The thing was bigger than a golf ball!
How am I missing these things on my body?
Dr. M. began asking a barrage of questions.
"Have you had a fever?"
"Do you have a cough?"
"Yes. All I ever have is bronchitis. That's it."
I'm not the healthiest of specimens, but certainly not the sickliest, either.
I took a deep breath, trying to steady my nerves.
"Do you have any cats?"
Perplexed by his question I answered, "No. Why?"
"Your symptoms might line up with something called Cat Scratch Fever."
Great! A Doctor and a Ted Nugent fan!
"It's not uncommon for a person's lymph nodes to swell up from a cat scratch," he said.
"That would be a great answer, but we don't own a cat."
"Have you come across any cats lately?"
"No," I said, glancing over at Paige, who was pale and trembling. Turning back to the doctor, I asked, "What else do you think it could be?"
"I'm not sure." His calm exterior started to crumble, his eyes looking anywhere but at mine. "I'd like to run some tests to rule out certain scenarios."
"Okay," I said and then looked at Paige, who nodded.
He drew a blood sample and then walked out of the room.
STANDING UP, I WALKED OVER TO THE BLEAK TABLE where Rodney was sitting. Looking down at him, I kissed him on the forehead and rubbed the back of his neck. He was staring off into space and lost in thought; a deep furrow creased his forehead. I traced my finger across his brow and asked,
"What are you thinking about?"
"I don't know how I missed it. I take showers every day, and I've never felt it. Never! How could I miss something like this? It's not like it's smaller than the other one, either. It's huge! Feel it."
I lifted my hand up and felt it. He was right. It was huge, something he really should have detected earlier.
"I wonder what it could be?" he said.
The last thing I wanted to do was to share my worst fears with the love of my life, so I eluded the question.
One lump was startling, but two was terrifying. Entering the room, Dr. M. stated, "The lab is a little backed up, so I'll need to get back to you later this evening with the results of the blood test."
As Rodney and I walked out of the clinic hand in hand, I mumbled, "That's just great. I hate waiting! How long does it take to get blood results back?"
"I don't know."
I looked down at Rodney's hand entwined with mine.
I've always loved these hands.
Rodney would tell you that he's a leg person, but I'm definitely a hand person. You can tell a lot about a person by their hands, and my husband's hands are perfect. They were the first things I noticed about Rodney when we met.
Actually, the first time our paths crossed, I didn't even really see him. My friend, Sarah, and I were just hanging out in her cute little electric blue car with no real plans for the evening.
We howled along with a song playing on the radio, as we sped down the street, our long hair flying out the window, tangling in the wind. As soon as Sarah pulled into a gravel driveway, I pulled down the visor mirror to check out my makeup.
It was common for me to have lipstick streaks across my face after an exhilarating drive, because the wind would drag strands of hair across my lips, wisping them across my face.
Busy wiping my face, I briefly glanced over when Sarah's friend Johnny leaned down to talk to her through her window. I noticed someone with him, but all I could see were male legs, so I went back to touching up my makeup, vaguely wondering who he was.
Sarah finished her conversation, said goodbye, and threw the car into reverse. As she pulled out onto the quiet street, she looked at me and said, "He sure was cute!"
"Rodney. You know — the guy standing next to Johnny."
I shrugged. "All I saw were his jeans."
"Where do you want to go?"
"How about the pool hall?"
She rolled her eyes dramatically. "You know, you really should get a life."
"Just because I don't chase boys around like you do doesn't mean I don't have a life."
I was used to having this conversation with my friend. I'm not sure why I felt compelled to try to explain myself each time, because it never seemed to make a difference to her. She thought I was some recluse — a loner, I think.
Sarah finally shrugged her shoulders and sped to Pool Sharks, where I was a regular. She never minded the experience, because it gave her a chance to flirt with the boys, while I took their money. It was a symbiotic relationship.
A few days later, Sarah called me up.
"Rodney's playing the drums tonight. Want to go hear him?"
"I can't. I have something of a date tonight."
She laughed. "What's that mean?"
"A guy from the pool hall is going to teach me some shooting techniques."
"I did say, 'something of a date.'"
She shook her head. "Yeah, I'll give you that. So, when's this Casanova picking you up?"
She thought for a moment and then said, "How about I pick you up now, and you come with me until your date? I'll have you back before he arrives."
"I guess that will work."
Ten minutes later, she was standing on my doorstep. I opened the door dressed in a pair of holey jeans and a comfortable T-shirt. She was decked out to the hilt, with a cute blouse and miniskirt, her hair flowing around her shoulders.
"Wow, you look great!" I said.
We drove over to Rodney's house and knocked on the door. Johnny answered, inviting us to come in. Sarah and Johnny started talking, so I sat down on the brown sofa in the corner of the room.
As I waited for Sarah to finish her conversation, a guy with long, brown hair and forest-green eyes came out of the hallway. He was wearing black leather pants with a silver belt buckle, a black heavy metal T-shirt with the sleeves torn off, and black cowboy boots. I think I stopped breathing for a moment.
He never even glanced my way, so I sat there and watched him get ready, kicking myself for having made plans with the other guy. I'd much rather watch this beauty play the drums. My eyes dropped to his hands. Tan, strong, and manly!
Oh, wow! He's one fine specimen!
A pothole in the road ripped me away from my daydream, hurtling me back to the present. I glanced over at Rodney, who was also lost in thought. Nearly home from the clinic, I looked around, wondering how the rest of the world could look so calm when my insides were churning like I was on some roller coaster that wouldn't end. My head and heart raced, in what could only be described as a panic attack.
I hate those things. They always strike at the most inopportune times.
As Rodney maneuvered through our neighborhood, I tried to give myself a pep talk. I didn't want anyone to guess what was going on inside my head, especially not Rodney. I had to stay calm and just get through it. By the time Rodney pulled into the driveway, I hoped I was prepared to face the world.
I saw our girls playing in the front yard. A friend had been watching them, and they looked so happy and carefree. Little did they know ...
Just take a deep breath.
Rodney hopped out of the truck, and I slowly followed. Our girls are pretty bright, so they immediately looked concerned when they saw my face. Neither could read their dad's expressions, but I was an open book.
So much for my preparations.
They ran up, staring at us with their big, questioning eyes.
There was no way I was going to tell them anything until we knew for sure what was wrong. No sense in giving them the same scare I'd just experienced. Although I knew deep down that my beloved had cancer, I clung to any hope I could that I was wrong. It wasn't cancer until the last lab result confirmed it.
"I haven't been feeling well, so I went to the doctor," Rodney said. "Hey, Jessika, Dr. M. says, 'Hi!'"
"Oh, you saw him, too?"
"Yeah. He's a nice guy."
The girls ran off to play again, content that nothing could be too bad if their dad had just seen the same doctor as Jessika. After all, Jessika was back to normal, so he would soon be, too — right?
WHEN THE DOCTOR CALLED ME BACK THAT EVENING, he let me know that the blood tests were all normal. I turned to Paige and gave her a thumbs-up, which made her smile.
"That's awesome!" I said. I thought I had just dodged a bullet. I don't know why I had been so worried. I took pretty good care of myself. I was only in my late thirties and didn't smoke, drink, or abuse my body.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Stamps," Dr. M. said, pausing a beat. "I didn't mean to imply that you're out of the woods yet. I was just checking for a few of the basic illnesses, but the lumps still trouble me."
Dr. M. recommended that I follow up with a specialist as soon as possible to run more tests. When I asked what kind of specialist and he said, "oncologist," I was taken aback. It felt like someone had yanked my beating heart from my chest and handed it to me. My whole world was caving in on me.
Is difficulty breathing a symptom of cancer?
I muttered a thank-you and then hung up. Looking over at Paige, her stricken expression reminded me that I didn't have the luxury of self-pity. Her look indicated that she feared the worst.
I had to be strong for her. And if I were to have any hope of defeating whatever was growing in my system, I would have to stay positive.
"He says I should see an oncologist," I said, struggling to keep my voice from sounding as terrified as I felt.
It didn't work.
Paige immediately burst into tears. I pulled her into my arms and whispered soothing words, waiting for her sobs to cease and her body to finally relax against me.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "90 Days to Live"
Copyright © 2019 Rodney and Paige Stamps.
Excerpted by permission of Verdavia Press, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Out of the Blue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 2: Doom and Gloom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Chapter 3: Searching for Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Chapter 4: Essiac Tea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Chapter 5: Big Pimpin’ Pappy’s Fake Cancer Cure . . . . . . . 67
Chapter 6: The Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Chapter 7: Russian Roulette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Chapter 8: Taking the Plunge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Chapter 9: Out With the Old, in With the New . . . . . . . . 105
Chapter 10: Celebration Amid Desperation . . . . . . . . . . 115
Chapter 11: Keeping the Home Fires Burning . . . . . . . . . 123
Chapter 12: Down but Not Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Chapter 13: The Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Chapter 14: Keeping Stampsco Alive . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Chapter 15: Could It Get Any Worse? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Chapter 16: What Doesn’t Kill You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Chapter 17: It’s Darkest Just Before Dawn . . . . . . . . . . 177
Chapter 18: Emerging From the Shadows . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Chapter 19: Keeping Up With Superman . . . . . . . . . . . 195
Chapter 20: Who Is This Guy, Anyway? . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Chapter 21: Cancer Down, What Next? . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Chapter 22: Reaching Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
Chapter 23: Onward and Upward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235