Posted 6/03/09 (Wed)
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
A cancer diagnosis is nothing to take lightly, but fortunately for McKenzie County Sheriff Ron Rankin, a recent diagnosis hasn’t slowed him down or interrupted his work.
Two months ago Rankin went to the doctor with pneumonia, and after a routine blood test came back suspicious, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the blood and while it is incurable, it is treatable.
“The good news is that the cancer was found early and it is 99.9 percent treatable,” says Rankin. “The downside is that I will have to go to Rochester for six weeks to be treated.”
Currently, Rankin is taking a regimen of oral medication and receiving blood transfusions every three weeks. Otherwise life is normal.
“I feel fine and I am able to work,” comments Rankin. “The only issues that I have noticed are a few of the side affects from the medication. Most of them don’t affect my work, but on occasion they cause me to go home for a day or a few hours until they subside.”
Rankin will begin his six-week treatment in Rochester, Minn. the first week in July. The treatment includes a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. But because he will be his own bone marrow donor, recovery time is short.
For the transplant doctors will remove stem cells from Rankin. They will then treat the cells and give him chemotherapy. After the chemo is complete the stem cells will be reinserted.
“After the six weeks of treatment I will return home where I’m told I will need to be off work for two more weeks so I can recuperate,” says Rankin. “I think one week will be enough time for me to recuperate, but we’ll see.”
For some communities having the sheriff out of commission for eight weeks could be a problem, but Rankin isn’t concerned.
“My staff is great and I know they will do a wonderful job while I’m gone,” states Rankin. “Between Chief Deputy John Fulwider and Office Deputy Tammy Evanson the office and the community are in good hands.”
While Rankin is out of the office, Fulwider will be the acting sheriff of McKenzie County.
“I am fortunate not only for my great staff, but also that I live and work in a community full of caring people,” adds Rankin. “I have received many cards and well wishes from the community and I really appreciate knowing that they are supportive.”
After the treatment has been completed, doctors expect Rankin to continue on with his life as normal.
“According to the doctors, once I have this treatment I will be more likely to die from being hit by a runaway truck than the cancer,” jokes Rankin. “When my health keeps me from doing my job I will retire. I don’t see this disease keeping me down for long or causing me to retire. I’ll just have to keep a lookout for runaway trucks.”