Voices Across America

Clinical Trial Saved Chris’ Life

Chris

State: Texas
Congressional District: TX02

Diseases

Cancer, Chronic Pain, Mental Health, Rare Disease, Skin Disease

Issues and Challenges

Chris has encountered: Access to Expert Providers, Copay Issues, Mental Health Access, Rare / Underserved Disease, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Disability

My Story

In the summer of 2018, I was diagnosed with Anorectal Mucosal Melanoma. I thought I had a hemorrhoid leading up the months before and then a lymph node grew in my groin. After surgery on the lymph node, the unsettling truth sunk in when I received the pathology.

Only 14% people with my diagnosis make it five years and once it metastasizes, they are given 16 months to live. I had multiple surgeries, immunotherapies, chemotherapies, and radiation treatments. Metastasis to my lymph nodes, lungs, liver, kidneys, and eventually my brain. After 18 months and running out of options, I was able to sign up for a clinical For TILs (tumor infiltrating lymphocytes).

I did the excision surgery and prior to going in for my lymphodepletion, my scan showed a brain mets, which kicked me out of the trial. On an extremely tight timeline because the trial was closing, I had to re-stabilize the brain mets or show a reduction to get back in. I was able to get five doses of targeted radiation to my left occipital lobe in four days and then scanned on Christmas Eve of 2019. Waited almost 2 weeks until January 3 and got the results that the brain mets was stabilized and they let me back in.

I did my chemo for lymphodepletion and then was given my TIL on January 15, 2020 followed by six doses of IL-2 And then released from the hospital on January 20, 2020. That was the last time I had done any type treatment and I had a complete metabolic response within less than a year. 100% COMPLETELY GONE - not in remission, gone. The way the treatment works is it eradicated it, and does not leave it dormant . So blessed for this clinical trial that saved my life.

My Motivation and Inspiration

When I was diagnosed and going through my cancer treatment, there was no relatable story to my own that I could find and so I told myself if I live that I would become that motivation and inspiration for the next person and pay it forward. The hope of someone else walking and your shoes and making it can mean the world to someone going through cancer.

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