Up until four years ago, Bob Settle will admit he had a pretty easy life — good career, great family and all the comforts he needed or wanted.
It all came crashing down around him after what he thought was just a swollen gland turned out to be neck and throat cancer so aggressive it was growing and changing daily and his doctor had to act quickly to save Settle’s life. While he’s quick to give credit to a team of doctors, his wife, family and many friends, Settle said there’s really only one reason he survived — Jesus got into the boat during his storm and saw him through.
Settle’s journey and survival are documented in a 59-page book he wrote called “Through the Storm.” The short, but entertaining, read was published in August.
Settle said he felt called to write the book as a guide for others facing any kind of storm in their life, whether it’s health related or some other problem.
“There are so many people hurting” from all kinds of problems in life, Settle said. “They need to know it’s not the end of the world. I don’t ever want to hear of someone committing suicide or going into some dark deep hole.”
Settle was diagnosed with cancer in May 2009 and was being treated within a few weeks of his initial doctor’s visit.
A seven-hour surgery, 37 radiation treatments and two rounds of chemo later, Settle is now free of the stage-four, grade- three cancer. By December 2009, Settle was cancer free. Of course, it wasn’t quite as easy to get through as it is to say aloud.
Settle said the surgery was a breeze compared to what lay ahead for him. More than once during the treatment ordeal, friends — and even Settle’s wife, Regina — thought he might not make it.
But no one told Settle, and he apparently had no clue just how sick he was or how bad he looked.
After one visit from two friends who closed Settle’s pool for him that year, the men both called their wives after they left and, in tears, said they would never see their friend again. Settle is glad those friends were wrong.
And cancer wasn’t the only “storm” Settle would have to weather. In late 2010, he suffered congestive heart failure that also required surgery.
“Later my family doctor told me that I had beaten the two main causes of death in men — cancer and heart disease,” Settle said.
That is when Settle realized there was much more God had in store for him — the first being writing a book detailing his recent health problems.
“The most amazing thing to me was that He got into the boat with me during the storm,” Settle said.
“I’ve had other storms. You have financial storms. If you have kids you have kid storms, if you have in-laws, you have in-law storms.”
Settle said his book can apply to any kind of personal storm and hopes people listen to his story and find hope.
Settle said his faith also helped him maintain an upbeat attitude over the last few years.
“Through all of this, I never stopped laughing,” he said.
And if Jesus was Settle’s heavenly hero through it all, he said his wife was his hero on earth.
“She had to be my chauffeur … she had to be my coo … she had to dress me and bathe me for a while,” he said. “She was just awesome and never complained.”
Settle said he has a deeper appreciation for life after experiencing his recent health problems.
“For the longest time I guess I thought I was going to live forever. I had fairly good health. I don’t take it for granted now. Every day you wake up is a good day,” he said.
For more information about the book, visit the publishing company’s website at www.friesenpress.com. Settle, who lives in Jonesborough, is also available to speak to groups or organizations about his story.