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Boyd Witter

Melanoma - Stage IIIB

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

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Video: Boyd Witter's Story

Boyd WItter - Melanoma patient

No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results.


My story

When I was 61 years old, my wife noticed a spot on my back. If she hadn’t urged me to have it checked out, I would have ignored it. We live in Nebraska, and my general practitioner recommended two oncologists in our town. I saw one, who recommended a PET scan. Before having that imaging test done, I decided to speak with a friend who’d been treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). That was the start of a journey that would show me a great deal about what constitutes true care.

A long road of treatment

Within a week of calling CTCA, my wife and I were traveling to the facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a consultation. I had the PET scan done there. The holistic approach taken there was also apparent from the start. The advanced technology combined with the whole-person treatment, plus the testimonial of a friend, led to my decision to be treated at CTCA.

I was diagnosed with stage IIIB melanoma. The cancer that my wife had noticed had also spread to my lymph nodes. The first treatment I received was interferon B. That medication is harsh, and I was fairly sick for the first month, and continued to feel unwell for the next 11 months. I work as an independent contractor, and the treatment impaired my ability to work.

But after a while, I was able to return to the gardening that I love to do and to spend time with our three grown children and five grandchildren.

After two and a half years of having no active cancer, my care team at CTCA found a brain tumor. They caught it in a timely fashion, before I’d had any symptoms. I underwent surgery and then CyberKnife robotic radiation surgery. The treatment did not have any severe side effects, so I was able to continue with my life as normal. 

Another scan done after this treatment revealed cancer in my lungs. I underwent CyberKnife robotic radiation surgery, and am currently taking the chemotherapy medication Yervoy. Fortunately, I am able to continue working and doing other things I enjoy, like contributing to our town’s daily newspaper and teaching a Sunday school class.

Going the distance

Traveling about 500 miles for treatment may seem inconvenient. Especially when you’re not feeling well from a medication, going that distance can be difficult. But the distance that the staff at CTCA goes in order to ensure that I get the best care possible has made the traveling completely worthwhile. Considering the quality of care I have received, there is no consideration of staying local.

Our mind-body therapist helped put my wife at ease about my ability to overcome cancer. He helped her not be so overwhelmed by my diagnosis and treatment. We received guidance from an expert in nutrition. The doctors caught the cancer in my brain and lungs early, helping to ensure an optimal outcome for me.

When my son arrived in Tulsa at 2:30 a.m. when I was about to undergo brain surgery, someone from CTCA was waiting for him at the airport. And I was treated as a whole person. They take all the worry out of the equation. From the surgeons to the people cleaning the rooms, the attitude among the staff at CTCA is one that promotes wellness and makes going through this difficult time so much easier.

Reaching my destination

Since my initial diagnosis, I have had a new grandchild. When he was born, I couldn’t pick him up. Now I can. Now, I’m able to do anything I want. My business is thriving more than ever before. I have more value for my time, and that has made me more focused in many areas of life.

My current goal is to be a five-year cancer survivor. At the CTCA facility in Tulsa, there is a tree filled with leaves bearing the names of people who’ve reached that five-year mark. I want my name added to one of those leaves.

It’s crucial to have cancer treated as early as possible. A second opinion is essential. I think anyone diagnosed with cancer should at least make a call to CTCA. It’s important to be able to have faith in the people who are treating you; I had complete faith in my CTCA care team.

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