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Cancer Questions?

In December 2017, Sandy, now 77, noticed she would get short of breath while going up the stairs in her home. She visited her internist who did a blood panel and found cancer cells within her blood.

She was quickly referred to Dr. Christopher Waynick at Tennessee Oncology in Murfreesboro, Tenn. who soon confirmed that she had Stage IV lung cancer. By January 12, 2018 she had begun chemotherapy. 

“Chemotherapy was bad but for me, it wasn’t as bad as everyone says. I got through it,” said Sandy.

Sandy had been a smoker but once diagnosed she stopped smoking for good. “It’s so strange. Even now, my brain will say to me ‘you need a cigarette’ while the rest of my body – my mouth, my hands, my nose is repulsed by it. It is truly a lifelong addiction that I am so glad I’ve put behind me.”

After Sandy’s chemotherapy she started an immunotherapy which did it’s job of attacking cancer cells but also caused discomfort in her joints. Following the immunotherapy, her lung cancer prevailed and she was given five years to live. Dr. Waynick referred Sandy to Melissa Johnson, MD, Director of Lung Cancer Research for Sarah Cannon Research Institute.

“Dr. Johnson is the most remarkable lady. I truly love that woman. I’ve been with her since April 2021 and she was able to find a research drug specific to my type of lung cancer which is amazing.”

Sandy was on an oral research medication for approximately one year with very little side effects until May 2022 when new scans revealed that there was no new growth and the remaining cancer remains unchanged.

“I am officially in remission from stage IV lung cancer! I come back in to see Dr. Johnson and her team every two months for rechecks but I feel great. I’m old and not as strong as I once was, but I’m back to life. I think all the time now – “where do I want to travel to next?’ and I’ve spent some time at my favorite place – St. George Island.”

Sandy has decided that she going to “enjoy what I can while I can” and is so thankful to Dr. Johnson and her team for her amazing treatment.