Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don Payne, Fighting Pancreatic Cancer

Here's Don Payne maintaining the WTLC-FM transmitter approximately last year.  Don is the Chief Engineer over five radio stations and one TV station in the Indianapolis, IN market for Radio One.  He also has the distinction of being the last deejay to air Beaker Street on KAAY before it was shut down.  No airchecks are known to exist.  If anyone has ANY airchecks of Don while he was on the air, please forward them to me for posting here!

Don contacted me last week, thinking I'd fallen off the planet- I think our e-mail systems just didn't jive, spam filters, and all- and he told me that he'd recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  So far, he's been successfully treated, the tumor having been reduced by 23%, and he wanted me to forward his story and info...this is the first part, he tells me:


Ok, lets start from the beginning. Firstly, I need to put in writing that you do have my permission to share this with the KAAY blog in it's entirety. There are new laws called HIPA (Health Information Privacy Act) where people have been sued for discussing private medical info with others. Don't worry, no problem here.

Back in the middle of May I had a swollen ankle. It was sore and so swollen you couldn't see or feel the ankle bones. I could barely walk on it. Doctors gave me Ibuprofin and said I had sprained it. This helped and then the swelling moved to the other ankle, then both. I was hobbling around work dragging my legs. After a few more days, I got nausea driving on the way to work drinking my morning cup of coffee. Doctors thought I had blood clots in my ankles and ordered an ultrascan of my legs and ankles which showed nothing. Went to the MedCheck after a few days and they said I had allergies and sold me a hundred dollar bottle of nose spray.

My family Doctor was in the process of retiring so I was trying to find a new Doctor thru all of this, which didn't help. I have a few Doctor friends...neighbors that I hang out with and they said I showed definite signs of Diabetes. So I went back to my new Doctor and she did blood work looking at my sugar and glucose levels and everything, trying to figure out what was wrong. I had no pain but was low on energy.

The lab showed glucose was fine, but my liver functions were "out of whack" as they called it. They took a stool sample and there was traces of blood in my stool. They took a urine test, and it came out dark orange. The Doctor said she didn't have to anaylize the urine, she could see it wasn't right from across the room. She ordered an immediate ultrasound of my liver. I went home about 3PM and barely got in the door when the phone rang. The tests showed blood clots in each lung, and two "spots" on my pancreas. The Doctor ordered me directly to the hospital and I grabbed a few things and headed in there that night. They scooped me up in a wheelchair and did an immediate CT scan. It showed blood clots in the lungs and tumors on the pancreas which had spread to the liver. They immediately put me on blood thinners to dissolve the clots.

The next day they did a biopsy which determined the cancer was real.

I learned I had cancer at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, then they showed me a video on how to give myself shots in the stomach twice a day and sent me home....and I'm afraid of needles! (I'm proud to say I got over that, and am now pretty good at giving myself injections.)

The Doctors put me on a couple of new cutting-edge wonder drugs.

I've been taking weekly chemo treatments and have lost about 45 lbs but am doing quite well. I went thru about a 6 week phase where I had no energy and could not eat without throwing up. I couldn't have made it thru this without my wife, Michele. (Yes we got married thru this). A couple of good reasons, one was insurance. One of the pills I take every day costs 426 dollars!

So that's the first chapter, there is more, but for now I will attach the email from my General Manager Chuck Williams, announcing to the staff my condition. Feel free to use it in your update to the group.

I am maintaining a good attitude and have fun with the nurses and Doctors at the chemo sessions. I have not allowed myself to get angry or scared. My body needs this energy right now for other things, and I honestly believe this is one reason I'm doing better. I will cover the latest news in the next email, but the latest scan showed the tumors have been shrinking. Praise God as my healing companion! What do you think?


(here is the email from Chuck Williams, GM at Radio One of Indy)

Indy team-

Don asked me to share some information he recently received as a result of various tests his Doctors have ordered over the last few days.

Don has learned that he has two blood clots in his lungs and has been placed on an appropriate blood thinner in order to dissolve the clots. This has been working well enough that Don has been released from the hospital after a couple of days.

While in the hospital, the Doctors learned Don's clots formed as a reaction to malignant tumors discovered on his pancreas and his liver.

Don asked me to share that he will begin chemo treatments immediately on Monday and is asking each of us for our support and prayers, and to keep him in your thoughts as he fights back to force his cancer into remission.

Don tells me the Doctors will be using a promising new drug, that works without the traditional side effects. Don is also reviewing alternative options.

I know you will all want to reach out to Don, and I ask that initially, you email him so he or Michelle can respond when he is most ready to reach back out to you.

I can tell you he looks strong and 100 times better than he did early last week. Don is a courageous fighter, you all know that. Let's keep him in our thoughts and prayers.

Dear readers, please lend Don your prayers and support, whatever your faith or beliefs.  More as I hear from him.
If you want to send messages of encouragement to Don, please send them to my e-mail below and I will forward them; I have found a way past our spam/e-mail blocks to get to him and, if he wants direct contact, I will make the arrangements, due to the sensitive nature of his time and treatment.
Thank you, all.
Bud S. (


  1. Pancreatic cancer has a number of symptoms where the most severe is the pain so I recommend hydrocodone.