OCT 16


DJ Ramirez, Waco Tribune‑Herald

It’s the word no one wants to hear when going to the doctor.

And you wouldn’t think of cancer just looking at Travis Walker. He’s 49 years old and works out most days of the week . He’s in his 17th year as an educator in the Abbott Independent School District, his 28th year in education. After retiring from a 15‑year run of coaching football he couldn’t stay away from the field and decided to go into officiating, which he’s done for eight years.

But as a self‑described Type A kind of person, Walker is also thorough.

In February he had a full physical, which he notes he’d never had before, and had bloodwork done along with it. Everything looked fine at first glance and his doctor checked off on the physical and told him to come back the next year.

“I’m the type of person that I have to go through everything, so I pored over the bloodwork and looked at it and my white pace was low,” Walker said. “I researched that and it’s either pancreatitis or a couple of other things — or pancreatic cancer. And every now and then I’d have a stitch on my side when I run, because I work out five or six times a week.

“I went back to the doctor and said, ‘I want to find out what this is.’ Ran a CT scan and it came back that a there was a tumor at the tail of my pancreas.”

Walker quickly went into surgery to have part of his pancreas removed as well as his spleen. Then a week after he was discharged he returned to have a PET scan. The prognosis wasn’t good. The cancer had spread.

“Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst things you can get,” Walker said. “And they told me, they said,  ‘We’re going to hit you with the hardest stuff we got. We’re going to give you the heaviest dose we can.’ I’m only 49. I’m in great health and, so far I have not had any major side effects.”

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