Alfred Spindle
Freedom. Open road. Time to think.

That's what Alfred "Tucker" Spindle finds behind the wheel of his pallet delivery truck and it's where he loves to be.

So when the 69-year-old Tappahannock resident, a Vietnam War veteran and prostate cancer survivor, was sidelined to deal with another type of cancer, it was the thought of getting back in his truck that carried him through recovery.

In late 2016, Spindle noticed a little blood in his stool. "I thought it might be a little strain, so I let it go," Spindle said.

Two weeks later the blood returned.

"I went to the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital immediately and had a colonoscopy done," Spindle said.

He went in on a Tuesday for the procedure and was back a week later to get the results. When Dr. Wirt Cross, a general surgeon with Riverside in Tappahannock, came in with his report "I knew something wasn't right," Spindle said. "I said, 'doc, I know you have some bad news, so you might as well tell me and get it over with.'"

"It's bad, but it's not so bad," Spindle said Dr. Cross, also a military veteran, told him. "We found some cancer, but the little bit you have, I can go in and cut out. You won't need chemo. You won't need radiation. We caught it early."

After five days in the hospital, and one recovery month at home thinking about his truck, Spindle was back on the open road.

These days, Spindle is also back to encouraging people to pay attention to their health, to have their colonoscopies done and to call Riverside if they have questions.

"Dr. Cross was a nice guy, really knows what he's doing," Spindle said. "Everyone at Riverside was that way. I've had people tell me lately that they hate doing this colonoscopy thing. I just tell them it's nothing. Just do it. I'd do another colonoscopy tomorrow at Riverside if I needed to."