Laughter Despite a Death Sentence

Travis makes you laugh.  He’s a clown. From what I hear, he always has been.  I have yet to meet a friend of Travis who did not share some kind of funny story about him.  And not just from childhood, college, or his roaring twenties.  Stories from last week.  He’s just that kind of guy.  A jokester.  Always has been and still is…despite being given a death sentence.

A few weeks ago Travis’ good friend, Jason Mashburn, came to see him from Washington DC where he now lives.  Mashburn was nervous.  Nervous to see his good friend of twenty plus years. They had grown up together.  Shared laughs together. Experienced a jeep catching on fire together. They had been in each other’s weddings.  They know each other inside and out.  But Mashburn was…nervous.  What would he say to Travis?  Would it be awkward?  Could they talk about it?  What if he said the wrong thing?

As he walked up to door step he took a deep breath and knocked.  Travis answered with a smile…

“Welcome to the dead man’s house!”

Laughter erupted, hugs were given and Mashburn was completely at ease.

That’s Trav.  That’s just the kind of guy he is.

This weekend, Travis and Carrie went to dinner with some friends and ran into , Clint and Allison, friends they have not seen in years but ones who knew about the diagnosis and have been earnestly begging God for a miracle. Tears were shed.  When you see Travis for the first time since the diagnosis that tends to happen.  A loss of words and tears.  Over and over Allison said “I wanted to call.  I just didn’t want to bother you.  I just didn’t know what to say. So I have just been praying…at 4:30 in the morning…EVERY morning.”

But. Within a matter of minutes.  Laughter erupted.  Not giggles.  Not snickers.  Loud make-people-turn-and-look laughter.  Why?  Because it doesn’t take long to realize Travis is still Travis.  The fun guy .  The jokester.  The prankster.  The clown.  As they strolled down memory lane laughter continued and, by the time it was time to say goodbye, there was peace.  Comfort.  Ease.  Because that’s what Travis does.  He puts you at ease.  He makes you laugh.

Despite being given a “death sentence”.

Interview 3 of 6

In segment 3 of this six part series Travis discusses being given “A Death Sentence”.  We encourage you to watch the first two clips if you have not already – Not Your Typical Cancer Patient and The Discovery.

As previously mentioned, being interviewed on the spot can be nerve racking and mistakes can easily be made.  In this clip, Travis states that an Adenocarcinoma is a cancer of the upper GI tract which isn’t quite accurate.  Adenocarcinoma is simply a cancer that begins in glandular (secretory) cells.  It often occurs in the breast, pancreas, lung, prostate, colon, and, of course, bile ducts.  Additionally, to be clear, Cholangiocarcinoma does not “equal” pancreatic cancer but, rather, it is referred to as the cousin to pancreatic cancer.

6 responses to “Laughter Despite a Death Sentence

  • Sarah Kirkland

    Praying daily! Love your honesty and showing us all how to laugh!!

  • Judy Eubanks


  • John Pettit

    Can’t wait to hear the results from next blood test. Keep us informed. Praying. JP

  • Jason Mashburn

    Kristina truly captured how I felt driving down to see Travis and the moment when I arrived at his house. He has a wonderful way of setting the tone – for any situation over the years.

    Its true. We known each other for over 20 years – since 8th grade, I think.

    We’ve seen it all – graduations, weddings, first jobs, meeting his children. All of the happy moments – aside from a rare speeding ticket (HAHA).

    But they don’t teach you how to deal with the tougher moments.

    So, I was a little unsure about how to deal with it – but I knew Travis would lead the way.

    I was quickly reminded of what I already knew – nothing is off the table when talking to Travis! We talked about everything you can imagine.

    I was also reminded that my friend is not going to give up – he’s going to fight this cancer with every ounce of energy he has at his disposal. He has so much to live for – his wife and three children and all of his friends and family that love him.

    So, I just want to say that all of your prayers, support, text messages and emails – while they may seem minor to you – they mean a great deal to Travis.

    I look forward to seeing Travis be the “outlier” and beat this terrible cancer and sharing many more laughs for many years to come.


  • Ryan Casey

    Keep it up Travis! We’ve got you in our prayer group of about 30. shouting at the heavens for ya.

    R Casey

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