JOPLIN, MO – A diagnosis of cancer is never good news. And when it’s stage four, the outlook generally isn’t good, often prompting doctors and patients to consider any option.
“I would walk around in our garden and my wife realized you know what he loves art.” Says Michael Thompson, Cancer Patient.
And spending time creating art became part of Michael Thompson’s bucket list, a favorite hobby that could have been cut short.
“I had a little cough it just popped out of nowhere, one day. The next thing you know I’m coughing blood up everywhere.” Says Thompson.
That lead to the ER and the diagnosis: stage four cancer with very few options.
“30 to 40 days. Yep, no treatment with treatment maybe 90 days, six months.” Says Thompson.
Thompson decided to go through with treatment. At first, it was a more traditional regimen that got him through a few months.
Then Dr. Matthew Miller suggested an immune checkpoint inhibitor called Opdivo.
“They’re not traditional chemotherapy drugs, they don’t destroy cellular mechanisms within the cancer destroy the DNA, therefore they have less side effects overall.” Says Dr. Matthew Miller, Cancer Institute.
Opdivo isn’t always a good match for a patients where the cancer has a high volume spread.
“You have severe compromise and so that has something to do with how well someone is likely to do in Michael’s case he did have more limited spread.” Says Dr. Miller.
For Thompson, it worked, trading a 30 day prognosis to six years and counting. It’s a success story he credits to Dr. Miller.
“We put all our faith in him and all the people that here, they they have faith. So that’s what we’ve done and here I am.” Says Thompson.