For Red Springs, North Carolina, native Jackie Bounds, family has always been the most important part of his life. He and his wife, Martha, have been married for 34 years and have three children and seven grandchildren. Whether it was taking the annual family vacation or cheering his children on in their sporting activities, Bounds never missed a moment creating a memory with his family. He prides himself on the fact that his family is always there for each other, through both the highs and lows of life.
When diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2018, it was Bound’s family that would inspire and help him through the treatments. Together, they knew they could beat anything.
“I remember the exact moment I first laid eyes on Martha, 42 years ago,” Bounds recounted with a giant smile, peering over at his wife who grabs his hand as they wait for the doctor. “My dad and I loved to hunt, so one day as we pulled out of our driveway off 5th Avenue for a short evening trip and I saw the most beautiful girl walking down the street. I kept looking out my rearview mirror, trying to find out where she was going before she ended up turning down my neighbor’s driveway. When I returned home from the hunting trip, I asked my neighbors for her number and called her the very next day. I knew from the moment I saw her that I wanted to build the rest of my life with her.”
During Easter 2018, Bounds noticed blood in his urine and an increased need to urinate. His wife urged him to visit an urgent care, and the doctors referred him to a local urologist. “It could just be an infection,” thought Bounds. “There was no history of cancer in my family, so the possibility of cancer wasn’t really on my radar.”
In June, his local urologist ran a few exams and discovered a tumor blocking his urethra. After an additional scan, Bounds was diagnosed with stage 3 bladder cancer at age 65. For Bounds, time was of the utmost importance, and Duke Raleigh Cancer Center was able to get him in for an appointment with a bladder cancer specialist within two weeks.
“When the doctor said, ‘you have cancer,’ it was kind of like someone turned all the lights out on me,” explained Bounds. “In that moment, I experienced a surge of fear and felt like passing out. I took hold of my racing thoughts and reminded myself that I’ve always been a positive person. I knew that I could beat this, and I knew that my family would be there.”
At his first appointment with Sundhar Ramalingam, MD, a genitourinary oncologist at Duke Cancer Center Raleigh, Bounds learned about a clinical trial available for his cancer. Through this trial, Bounds received a chemotherapy and immunotherapy combination before surgery.
“We place the utmost priority to bringing high quality cancer care, including access to cutting edge research, to our patients,” stated Ramalingam. “This particular situation highlights a coordinated effort across multiple clinic sites, nursing, research staff, navigators and providers from multiple disciplines to deliver the best for our patients.”
After successful completion of the drug combination in November 2018, Bounds underwent bladder surgery with Thomas Longo, MD, a urologic surgeon at Duke Cancer Center Raleigh. In December, Bounds was given a positive prognosis that his cancer was stable.
“I tell my friends and family all the time, I feel like God guided me to my care team at Duke,” recounted Bounds. “I had confidence in both Dr. Longo and Dr. Ramalingam the moment they walked in, and I found peace knowing that I was in the absolute best hands possible.”
To make an appointment with Dr.Longo, Dr. Ramalingam or another Duke bladder cancer specialist, please call 919.626.3818. For more information on bladder cancer care at Duke, visit DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers. For a list of bladder cancer clinical trials, click here.