Over the last year I have been very fortunate to spend time with a man named Vann Troutman. We visit one another every other week at the infusion center at St. Joseph’s (Emory). We often spend hours together talking about past & future plans (vacations we want to take) as well as stories about high school, college, and pro football.

Vann Troutman is the epitome of a true warrior and is one of my heroes. For the past TWENTY FOUR years, Vann has battled cancer. With TWENTY SEVEN surgeries under his belt, he remains as optimistic as ever and his positive mental attitude is not just a mood; it is his way of life. We’ve spoken quite a bit & I have asked him what has kept him going (kept him alive) — and his answer is “my children”. As most of you know, we are expecting a baby boy this November & like Vann, our child is my “fuel” to fight and to win.

I started another new chemo regimen today and will be facing more nausea and will most likely start losing my hair in the upcoming weeks. After speaking with Vann about this trivial matter, he is such a great reminder (as is Hollis Youngner) that attitude is everything!

Never Give Up,




12 thoughts on “THE MAN, Vann

  1. What remarkable man he is AND you are… two make a great pair. I certainly am a believer in attitude too.
    That little boy yet to joinius in the world will keep the sunshine in your life..and Shelley’s too. Priscilla

  2. You are going to win this battle. This story was extremely moving and thank you for sharing! I know losing your hair is a hard step, but it is all Charlie has ever known, so of course we LOVE the look, so if that is what it takes you will handle it with style and grace just as you have handled the rest. Losing your hair proves the chemo is doing,what it should do.
    Congratulations on the good news of Baby Boy Blanchard!

  3. Hayden: you are an inspiration to us all. Hang in there. Sharon and I are praying for your speedy recovery and believe you can do all things.

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Love your attitude! Can’t wait to hear about this baby; he is one lucky fellow to have you for his Dad! Hugs, love and prayers, Sha

  5. Boy, look liked Big Man Vann finally slapped some sense into you (j//k). Keep up the grind brother and good things will happen. Becoming a dad will be the most special and rewarding thing in your life and like Vann push your cancer into the background of your life. Two Viktor Frankl (“Man’s Search for Meaning”) quotes for you to chew on. It seems like you figured out the first one already :

    “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

    And my favorite, “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

    • God bless you and Vann, Hayden! You’ve already won in my book. What an example for all of us to follow. Keep up the great, inspiring battle!

      Jack, love both of the quotes! I read the first one earlier this morning coincidentally.

  6. We think of you often, Hayden, and have come to learn that you can beat just about anything. How wonderful that you have a friend who understands what you are going through. You are in our prayers. Keep up the good work! Charlie and Bettie Koelling (Karen Wewaver’s parents)

  7. What beautiful words describing an amazing man. I am blessed to be able to call Vann my friend.
    And Hayden, I am so happy Cancer Center of America is taking such a holistic approach, as well as a proven traditional one, to your cancer treatment. Being as health conscious about your diet and vitamins and natural remedies as you are, i know you made the right choice to leave St. Joe’s. But please know-you are missed. I loved your smiling face and positive attitude the few times we talked. Vann and i have had a very close relationship for the last few years, and our days spent together at infusion every week mean the world to me. Like you, he is one of my heroes. Also like Vann, I fight to live every day so I may be here to raise my daughters. To help with homework and to cuddle and love and nurture them every day. And some day to walk with them down the aisle, with my husband, and give them away on their wedding day. And then, someday, to help them start their own journey as they bring a child into this world. To live long enough to hold a grand baby. Now my daughters are still little girls, so my goal is decades away. But like Vann, and like you will soon be, our children will will keep us all fighting for every day. And each morning, knowing that if we open our eyes and can see and hold our “babies,” it’s a good day. And choosing to smile, even when their is pain and sadness. And as one of your friends posted, in what is also one of my favorite sayings, our reaction to our circumstances is what defines who we are. It is the legacy we will leave our children. On the arrival of your little blessing in November, congratulations. You are about to embark on the most important, and most beautiful journey you will ever know. Enjoy and embrace every moment. And remember, you are missed at infusion.

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