My name is Wes, I’m 73 yrs old. I was diagnosed with stage 4 Stomach cancer July 29th 2013. To digress a little. I moved to the Tampa Bay area in 2011 to retire and live the good life. Went to work for the Tampa Bay Rays. Perfect. Work six months, off six months. And then on the way home one night from work at the Rays I started having severe chest pain. Thought I was having a heart attack. Headed to nearest hospital. Was kept overnight and told no heart attack. Thanks to my sharp family doctor noticing my liver enzymes were high, ordered a CT scan and noticed something abnormal, he ordered a MRI the next day and saw thickening of my stomach lining and several tumors (10) in my liver. I was sent to a gastroenterologist who then diagnosed me with stage four stomach cancer. He then referred me to Dr. Nuruddin Jooma at Florida Cancer Specialist in Clearwater FL. Within two weeks I had an access port put in and started a Phase two clinical trial that I qualified for. It consisted of FOLFOX chemo plus a target drug. This worked well for two and a half years. This was at the end of 2015.
I was just ready to begin a treatment of chemo when a phase one clinical trial became available. This consisted of Immunotherapy plus a target drug. I started this in January of 2016. It was administered at Florida Cancer Specialists research center in Sarasota, Fl., This worked well until late 2016 when a large mass (2″x 4″) mass in my stomach appeared. Dr. Jooma then decide to treat me with radiation and chemo which consisted of Carboplatin and Taxol. I also had 28 radiation sessions. This treatment was given from January till February 2017. After treatment I had an endoscopy and a PET scan of which both proved to be negative. Good!! No sign of liver cancer. YIPEE!!! First time in three years and nine months. do not have an appointment till June 2017. It seems weird not getting treatment but I will take it any day. I still stop by and visit my “friends who help keep me alive”.
Being treated at Florida Cancer Specialist is very personalized. They are large enough for world class treatment but have many local facilities to have that personal treatment. My local treatment center was only five minutes from home. Your never very far from one of their treatment centers. The most common ask question is what were your symptoms. In retrospect I do remember feeling a little nausea and losing some weight but the symptoms were so slight that if I hadn’t had the pain episode I probably would not have gone to a doctor with the mild symptoms.
One more thing, at the suggestion of Dr. Jooma in March of 2015, I went through the Livestrong program at the Suncoast YMCA in Clearwater Florida. It is a twelve week program sponsored by Livestrong. It was one of the best treatment programs I could have done. It helped me both physically and mentally and I got to be with twelve other people that was in the same situation I was in. I would highly recommend it.
I now go to the gym on a regular basis that I believe helps me so much to keep my strength and faith.