Schuette shares terminal cancer survival journey in new book


By Dawn Hatfield

GREENVILLE — William (Bill) Schuette, a lifelong Darke County resident, has done the impossible. He has lived for more than 16 years with what doctors in 2007 diagnosed as terminal, stage 4 lung cancer. How could this be? Schuette, a former teacher, coach, and administrator was not a smoker. Beyond that, he was in excellent health for his age, continuing to exercise and bike, even completing senior triathlons until he noticed what he called a “discomfort” in his lungs during deep breathing.

Doctors ran x-rays and pulmonary tests, finding nothing of concern. One doctor went as far as to say his other patients would be thrilled to have Schuette’s set of lungs.

Still, Schuette was concerned. He knew his body, and he felt this discomfort just was not right.

So, when Schuette read in the Greenville newspaper that Reid Hospital in Richmond, Ind., was offering $100 CT scans for smokers, he signed up. Even though he was not a smoker, and even after being reassured by professionals he was fine, Schuette wanted to be absolutely certain there was nothing wrong.

A few days later, as he and his wife, Connie, were traveling back from a Florida vacation, Schuette got the news no one ever wants to hear. It was cancer. Adenocarcinoma non-small cell lung cancer, to be exact. Stage 4, already metastasized. Terminal.

How does one get such a diagnosis in 2007 and live to visit all seven continents and complete a visit to their 63rd and final National Park in March 2023? Well, it’s a long and winding road. A road upon which many people may have done a U-turn, but not Bill and not Connie.

Read how miraculous timing, clinical trials, medical breakthroughs, and 92 round-trip drives to Boston have already given Schuette well more than a decade of “extra” time beyond that initial diagnosis. Read the stories of wonderful people and circumstances along the way that will inspire hope in anyone facing what appear to be unbeatable odds.

“Living with Terminal Lung Cancer: A Story of Hope” by William Schuette has just been released. This book is the culmination of 16 years of battling cancer (and winning) as well as more than two years of combining and editing Bill’s personal journals and Connie’s notes.

Attending Physician in Center of Thoracic Cancers at Mass General Brigham Hospital Dr. Alice Shaw, M.D., Ph.D., said, “Bill’s account brings hope, inspiration, and important life lessons for patients, caregivers, doctors, other providers, and anyone working in the healthcare or life science industry.”

Rhonda Meckstroth, ALK Positive Support Group Administrator, wrote, “The book made me laugh, cry, and so much more. I am honored to have read it.”

“Living with Terminal Lung Cancer” is available on Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon in multiple formats. A percentage of each book sale supports cancer research.

In their interview with The Daily Advocate, Bill and Connie shared some of the wisdom they’ve collected through their journey:

—You don’t have to be a smoker to develop lung cancer; you just have to have lungs.

—More cancer research and education is critically needed.

—Never take anything for granted, and don’t put things off.

—Be your own advocate. Absolutely never give up.

To conclude, Schuette says in his book, “It is my sincere intent to comfort patients recently diagnosed with cancer to know that there is hope, my years of survival being a real testament.”

Also by William Schuette is “White Blaze Fever,” a 2010 story of his hike along the Appalachian Trail.

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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