Patient Stories

At the CTRC, it has been our mission for nearly 40 years to help our patients Choose Life Over Cancer. Through our compassionate and innovative care, we are able to offer hope to the thousands of patients who walk through our doors each year. The stories below are just a few examples of our resilient and remarkable patients whose lives have been changed by their experience at the CTRC. We at the CTRC have forever been changed by the opportunity to be a part of our patients' lives and their treatment.


If you are a patient and would like to submit your story please email patientstories@uthscsa.edu.



Patient Stories


The Fred and Dan Akers Story

The Fred and Dan Akers Story

Watch The Fred and Dan Akers Story incredible story of survival.


johnWorch

Read about John Worch's story of survival

Read about John Worch's story of survival

January, 2014

Patient Story

John Worch - Patient Story

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John Worch

I was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma on April 28, 2010. I had standard radiation and Temodor chemo from May 2010 till February 2011. At that time my oncologist told me she could do nothing else for me. The VA also told me there is nothing they could do for me. The VA does not do study drugs for my cancer. I then asked the oncologist about any studies for this disease? She referred me to the CTRC at the UT Heath Science Center and Dr. Andrew Brenner. He and all staff are very professional and put my treatment in perspective. We lived to see my 2 sons make it into UTSA. Since that time I feel blessed to be alive, and I have hope in the future. Now I hope to see my 7th grade daughter get through high school.


Thank you UT Health Science Center!


John Worch Stage 4 glioblastoma survivor!

David Jennings

David Jennings

David Jennings

In September 2012 upon arrival at CTRC for my next round of week-long infusion, new CT-Scan in hand, I was told: No NEED! You are IN REMISSION!

February, 2013

Patient Story

David Jennings - Patient Story

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david jennings

At age 40, birthdays didn't really matter much anymore. So for my 40th birthday, and every year after, I took the day off from my corporate environment to spend the day at my local physician's office getting a full head-to-toe physical. The BEST birthday present I could give to myself was a clean bill of health: I'm good to go!

But at age 50, my world fell apart. My annual physical came back with this finding: B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stage 4! My family physician referred me to local oncology providers for further analysis and treatment. Six months of CHOP chemotherapy did NOTHING, so I was sent to the Baylor Medical Center in Dallas to pursue a stem-cell transplant. The allogeneic process (donor stem cells) was too RISKY (in my opinion) for me to pursue , so I chose the autologous route, using my own stem cells after a three month long "clean up his system" routine. A year afterward, the lymphoma re-lapsed: they didn't get it all.

So I enrolled in one of CTRC's clinical trials, code name YM-155. This protocol was a three-week cycle: one week of slow (portable) infusion, then two weeks off to recover. I drove from McKinney, Texas (north of Dallas) to San Antonio to get "hooked up" and came home and worked for that week, infusion ongoing. At the end of seven days' infusion I drove to San Antonio for unhooking and returned home (and to work) for two weeks. Then the cycle started anew, with full body CT-scans every 4th cycle to chart PROGRESS. This CTRC Adventure began in July 2005 . . . In September 2012 upon arrival at CTRC for my next round of week-long infusion, new CT-Scan in hand, I was told: No NEED! You are IN REMISSION!

I do visit CTRC every six months now just to ensure CONTINUING REMISSION! That's my story.

PS: If you pursue medical treatment and can fly Southwest Airlines, your round-trip airfare is furnished by Southwest at no charge!

David Jennings

Debrah Mohan

Debrah Mohan

Debrah Mohan is a six year survivor of Ampullary Cancer - a rare cancer that affects the first portion of the small intestine.

November, 2011

Patient Story

Debrah Mohan - Patient Story

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debrahMohan

Debrah Mohan is a six year survivor of Ampullary Cancer - a rare cancer that affects the first portion of the small intestine. Ampullary cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are so rare that they account for only 0.2%. The 5-year survival rate for this type of cancer ranges from 25-55% depending on when the cancer is first detected. Debrah has already beaten those odds and continues to improve her health by participating in the free exercise program at the CTRC Fitness Center funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

Debrah has been participating in the exercise program since November of 2011 and has achieved dramatic improvements in her health including losing 15 pounds in the first four months, decreasing her resting and exercise heart rates, and improving her cardiorespiratory fitness. In addition, when Debrah had her initial fitness assessment she was unable to do a squat due to knee pain, but at her 4-month follow up assessment she was able to squat 200 pounds! Adding to the impressive improvements in her fitness, Debrah has also been able to decrease or eliminate several medications she was taking for conditions such as Diabetes.

Debrah takes full advantage of the programs offered here at the CTRC Fitness Center by participating in regular exercise 2-3 times per week and attending the Zumba group fitness class every Tuesday. Debrah is a great example and role model to our participants that regular exercise really does help cancer survivors improve their overall health and fitness.

Debrah Mohan


Otto Lemus

Otto Lemus

Otto Lemus is a 70 year old brain tumor survivor, and the very first participant to join the CTRC Fitness Center exercise program.

October, 2011

Patient Story

Otto Lemus - Patient Story

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Otto Lemus

Otto Lemus is a 70 year old brain tumor survivor, and the very first participant to join the CTRC Fitness Center exercise program. Mr. Lemus received his initial fitness assessments in October of 2011 and has been regularly exercising at the CTRC Fitness Center usually three times per week.

Mr. Lemus recently completed his first 4-month follow up assessment with great results. He showed improvements in every one of the fitness assessments, including balance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory, and strength.

When Mr. Lemus began his exercise program at the CTRC Fitness Center he was barely able to walk 15 minutes on the treadmill and was unable to do a simple squat. After just a few short months he is able to walk at least 35 minutes on the treadmill every time he comes to work out as well as perform a 30 minute strength training workout including squats, chest presses, pull-downs and other exercises.

Mr. Lemus expresses that he has more energy throughout the day now and feels more confident walking and exercising.

Otto Lemus


Divina Child

Divina "DeeDee" Child

DeeDee was treated for cancer at the CTRC from 2008-2011. Read her original poetry relating her experience.

January 27, 2011

What Do You See

Divina Child - What Do You See

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Divina Child
What Do You See?
When you see us battling cancer, what is it that you see?
When you look around, and see others just like me?
Do you see wheelchairs and oxygen tanks, and caps and scarves galore?
Do you see IVs and medicine bags, do you see missing hair and more?
Do you see chemotherapy, making our bodies tired and weak?
Do you see our bodies burned, when we reach, the radiation peak?
When you see us battling cancer, what is it that you see?
Let me share what I see, when I see others just like me.
I see strength and courage, as we wipe away our tears,
When we battle this disease, and face our worst fears.
We take the vigorous treatments, because we want to live,
And follow doctor's orders, and give all we can give.
I see strength and courage, in the things we do and say,
I see smiles break through sickness, that can brighten any day.
I see a love for life, and all that it brings,
I'm talking about true living, and not material things.
And like you...I also see oxygen tanks and wheelchairs, and hair loss and more.
I see loved ones hurting, right down to the core.
I see people crying, because they want to live,
I see people dying, when they have no more to give.
I see families struggling, trying to understand,
When they see their loved one's life, coming to an end.
But for those of us survivors, we continue to fight and endure,
Praying and hoping that someday, there will be a cure.
So when you look at us, and see caps and scarves galore,
I hope you look into our hearts, for you'll see so much more.
I hope you see our love for life, and our strength and courage too,
And I hope you see our gratitude, for the gift we have in you.

Divina Child (Dee Dee)
January 27, 2011

Terra Bibb

Terra Bibb

Watch Terra Bibb's incredible story of survival. Terra Bibb was diagnose with a brain tumor while 8 months pregnant.