Daron Gribble, originally from Aledo, Texas, now resides in Graford. He owns ANC Absolute Noise Control in Weatherford, and also builds and remodels houses. He and his wife, Valerie, have three grown children. Gribble offered remarks on his cancer journey at this year’s Polo on the Prairie fundraiser in West Texas.
In 2015, I was diagnosed with melanoma. My dermatologist removed the affected area along my right check and jaw line but recommended I see an oncologist.
Dr. Weber performed surgery and found the cancer indeed had been removed, but he detected one hot spot and removed it as well. Six months later after a routine CT scan, he called to tell me the results showed the tumor had spread to my lungs. Plus, three tumors had developed and were growing. I now had stage IV metastatic melanoma.
I can’t deny I was scared.
My choices were chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, and non-FDA approved immunotherapy. I wanted the option that would allow me to continue to work and lead to the quickest recovery. Dr. Weber referred me to Dr. Hussein Tawbi, associate professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology, who discussed my options with my wife, Valerie, my sister and me.
Dr. Tawbi explained that immunotherapy targets the molecules on immune cells rather than the tumor cell itself, helping to eliminate the tumors and recurrence. Immunotherapy has become the standard care for metastatic melanoma.
I chose immunotherapy.
Valerie drove me to Houston and back every other week. I was able to work during my treatment; while the days after treatment were tough, it was manageable.
After 24 treatments and the guidance of Drs. Weber and Tawbi and Dr. Aung Naing, associate professor of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, as well as the support of Valerie and Michelle, I am on the road to recovery.
The team at MD Anderson is incredible. From the nurses drawing my blood to Dr. Naing’s targeted therapy group to the clinic staff who supported me through bi-weekly treatments, all were compassionate and dedicated to helping sustain me during this journey. They are my new extended family and the most incredible people to enter my life of 55 years.