For months, I’ve been calling the hospital where my husband had his surgery. “I want to have the tumor sequenced. Where is the rest of it?” “I don’t know,” or “I don’t know, I think we already sent out all the slides for diagnosis.” Always a negative response, or an unreturned call. It was so discouraging.
During this time, everyone I spoke with told me story after story about tumors that were discarded after the surgery, making genetic sequencing impossible for so many. This made me feel certain his tumor was gone. I felt almost foolish for trying.
It finally occurred to me that “I don’t know” is not a definite answer. I decided to give it one more shot. With almost no hope left, I asked my husband’s oncologist to help me speak with the right person. He did. More confusing phone calls ensued, but I worked my way up the food chain to the head pathologist at Columbia.
Imagine my delighted surprise when I found that the rest of the tumor is still at the hospital! I also learned that MSKCC already ordered 15 more slides of my husband’s tumor and healthy tissue back in March. Evidently, his cancer is being studied somewhere. My husband signed up for every possible test and trial, so it could be in a variety of places. We’re trying to find out where it is. If possible, I’d like his doctor to keep an eye on this specific research, in case they find something that could help.
Anyway, we ordered the gene sequencing test the very next day! I simply had not made the right connections.
A company called Foundation One is mapping the DNA of my husband’s tumor. We hope they’ll find a connection with another cancer that has an effective treatment. We could come up with nothing, or we could “find the key.”
I’ve heard stories of folks that have had gene sequencing, and it didn’t help (e.g. Steve Jobs.) But then, you hear stories like this man, who had the sequencing; they found a similarity to another treatable cancer, and now he’s cancer free.
I don’t know if we’ll find something useful or if it will be a dead end, but I’m so grateful we can try.
Please keep praying or sending positive vibes that they’ll find the key to this cancer, and that the key will work. Please ask everyone you can think of to pray, too. I believe these connecting prayers and thoughts are vital. It gives me strength knowing that so many people are pulling for us. Thank you all so much.
Please continue to pray for the 30 others in Robert’s clinical trial, that they will be healed, too. Please pray the treatments will work. Please pray for all people with cancer. Please pray for the researchers and doctors, that they’ll finally have the breakthrough of our dreams.