David C.

Lung Cancer - Stage IIIA

David Clark
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I arrived at CTCA in November 2017, and in three days, I met my entire care team, completed an array of tests and had a biopsy. I was amazed at the efficiency. In that time period, I even received my test results. My doctors and clinicians took time to explain everything to me and answer my questions.

As an Army veteran and police officer, I have been a witness to many challenging situations where people’s lives were at stake. I know firsthand how quickly someone’s life can change. But my own life was routine in Delphos, Ohio. I have lived here many years with my wife, Cheryl. We have been married almost 40 years. We have three children, a boy and two girls. They are all grown adults, and we also have five grandchildren.

In 2012, I was still working for the police force when I went to see my doctor for a routine physical. I had no idea at the time how that visit would impact my whole future. During a routine X-ray, my doctor discovered several suspicious spots on my lung. After undergoing further testing, the doctors advised that I take a watch-and-see approach to monitor the tumors.

I routinely returned for scans every six months, and eventually annually, to monitor the spots. Each visit had the same results, that everything remained the same. In 2015, I cut back to working part-time for the police department. I was taking extra personal time to enjoy my hobbies and spend time with family.

In October 2017, I returned for my yearly scan. Soon after, I received surprising news that the tumor had doubled in size and was compromising the lymph nodes in my chest wall. I normally thrive under pressure, but I was shaken by these results.

Looking for clues

As a police officer, my job is to look for clues to help solve crimes. As soon as I learned the news that the tumor had spread, I started my quest for information. I left no stone unturned as I read, researched and learned as much as I could about lung cancer and treatment options. I knew that I had a choice in where I would be treated, and I researched treatment centers.

I was familiar with Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) from the commercials on television. At the time, I also had a friend from my hometown who was in treatment at the CTCA® hospital in Chicago. My online searching finally led me to the CTCA website, which led to an online chat, and then a phone conversation with an Oncology Information Specialist. We talked a long time about why CTCA is different, and I was very interested. But I felt that I still needed to keep digging.

The following day, I reached out to my hometown friend. We spoke for over an hour, and after our conversation ended, I felt I had to go check out the hospital for myself. I don’t like waiting around, and I wanted to know as soon as possible what I was dealing with and what my options were.

I scheduled my initial evaluation after all the research I completed. The representative at CTCA took care of obtaining my medical records and assisting with travel. In advance, I received a schedule about who I would be seeing and when. I was blown away by the responsiveness and organization before I even stepped foot inside the hospital.

Solving the case

I arrived at CTCA in November 2017, and in three days, I met my entire care team, completed an array of tests and had a biopsy. I was amazed at the efficiency. In that time period, I even received my test results. My doctors and clinicians took time to explain everything to me and answer my questions.

The tests results showed that the tumor was contained to my lungs and lymph nodes near my sternum. My care team proposed a treatment plan and asked for my input and thoughts. They offered to let me take some time to decide if I wanted to pursue treatment at CTCA. However, I already knew I wanted to get started right away. Everything I had experienced and learned at CTCA had prepared me to make the easy decision. I felt like I had solved the case of where to receive cancer treatment. So I went home, made arrangements and came back right away.

My treatment plan included six weeks of radiation and six weeks of chemotherapy. I completed this portion of my treatment right before Christmas and returned home for the holidays.

In February 2018, I returned to CTCA to complete scans to determine the next steps in my treatment plan. The scans showed that the tumor decreased. The results meant that the next step was surgery to remove it.

I went in for surgery with my thoracic surgeon, and during the procedure, it was discovered that the lymph nodes in the middle of my chest were involved. Therefore, surgery was no longer an option. I was disappointed, but that didn’t last long.

I immediately started two more weeks of radiation. During the second round of radiation, my medical oncologist suggested I would be a good candidate for immunotherapy treatment. I started receiving durvalumab for stage IIIA lung cancer every 14 days for a year. Immunotherapy works by building up the immune system to attack the cancer.

Since starting my targeted immunotherapy, which I take every two weeks, I’ve followed up with scans in April and October 2018. To everyone’s delight, the tumor shows no progression and appears to be stable.

Giving back

Initially, the shock of a cancer diagnosis stunned me. Once I found CTCA and felt comfortable that I was in good hands, I knew I had to share my experience with others. I saw this as an opportunity to help others and give back. I can’t say enough about the amazing team of nurses and doctors who cared for me at CTCA. I joined Cancer Fighters® to talk to other cancer patients who have called CTCA looking for more information about their cancer and treatment options. In my daily life, I am always listening and looking for opportunities to encourage people diagnosed with cancer to learn more about CTCA as an option for their treatment.

My faith keeps me strong, and I am supported by the healing atmosphere at CTCA. I am no longer afraid of cancer. I have great faith in my care team and in God, knowing that I am on the correct path for me. I’m optimistic about the future, and I know I am blessed because I found CTCA. I appreciate all the moments in my life, big and small. I enjoy my time shopping for antiques and visiting old churches to admire the architecture. I also enjoy other hobbies, like gardening and building bird houses. I make spending time with my family and friends a priority because now I better understand the value of time.

Diagnosed:
2017
Treatement at: