By Patty Watkins
I learned that I had stage 4 adenocarcinoma in February 2014 and was only given two days to live, but fortunately survived beyond this bleak, initial diagnosis. In May 2014 I had my tumor tissue tested for a genetic mutation. This was a game changer for me because my chemo treatments weren’t working and there was no real possibility of living more than another month. I needed a miracle and I found one.
The simple procedure where the tissue or fluid from your lung is sent for a panel of tests pinpointed a Ros-1 mutation in my lung cancer. Ros-1 is found in only 1-2% of lung cancers. The fortunate thing was that there was a drug being tested on Ros-1 called Xalkori. Luckily, I was able to get the treatment and within a few weeks I was feeling much better.
My appetite came back, I was able to attend my son’s college graduation WITHOUT OXYGEN and I went back to my normal activities once again.
This was all possible due to molecular testing, a life-saving, critical part of finding treatments for my specific cancer. I am proof that it’s imperative that it be done for all people who receive lung cancer diagnosis.
Within 2 years, the Xalkori failed me and my sneaky cancer went to my brain. I had radiation to 19 tumors in my body, but the cancer just kept on producing more. Luckily, there was another, newer option for Ros-1 patients called Lorlatinib that I was able to begin taking and within eight months the remaining 29 tumors disappeared. I am now NO EVIDENCE of disease.
Today, I enjoy my daily four mile walks and gym time with my friends. If you were to see me you’d never know I am thriving with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer and I want to keep it that way!
We are living in an age of new discoveries every day and so many people are surviving longer with lung cancer thanks to advances made through clinical trials as well as new drugs coming to market.
I thank God for great medicine, doctors and technology. Molecular testing is a lifesaver and DIFFERENCE MAKER.
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