While at MD Anderson, Carl met his oncologist Don Gibbons, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology. Gibbons explained his lung cancer treatment plan. Often lung cancer is removed surgically if possible. But Carl had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which made the surgery risky. Gibbons determined that Carl would instead undergo chemotherapy in Orlando, where he lives.
“I was even able to keep what was left of my hair before treatments,” he says.
After four infusions, Carl’s scans showed that his cancer was gone. He had an additional four chemotherapy infusions to keep the cancer from coming back.
Life after lung cancer treatment
With his scans showing no evidence of disease, Carl thought he was done with chemotherapy.
But Dr. Gibbons told him he would have to continue chemotherapy for the rest of his life. Carl asked if there were any other options. After meeting with his team, Gibbons told Carl he was a good candidate for consolidative radiation therapy. This type of radiation therapy is given after initial cancer treatment to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back.
He stayed in Houston for three weeks, with radiation five days each week. The radiation left Carl exhausted, but in the end it was worth it. He’s been cancer-free ever since then and hasn’t had to undergo chemotherapy again.
When Carl looks back on his cancer journey, he’s grateful he made the trip to Houston. That’s why he advices other lung cancer patients to always get a second opinion.
“Remember,” he says, “you’re only one plane ride away from the best treatment there is, MD Anderson.”