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Sanford gave me a miracle

My second miracle

How clinical trials saved a man's life twice

“I pretty much figured out that something was wrong. They don’t ask you to come back to the hospital for nothing. But the good Lord had already given me one miracle in my life, so I told everyone that he could just as easily give me another.”

Roy Dean and his wife Shirley live just outside of Alcester on a quiet little piece of land. This year they will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary. And while that is an impressive milestone for any couple, it means a little something more to these two.

“I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012,” recollects Roy. “I had emphysema but I was still able to get around and do things. Then one day I just didn’t feel right. I took my blood pressure and it was in the low 40s. I called up my pharmacist and she said I just won a trip to the emergency room. They did some tests and that’s when they found it.”

Roy quickly found his way to Sanford Cancer Center. There would be no cure with such an advanced diagnosis, but his team was confident that conventional treatment could give him a good chance at survival.

“We did chemo for a year and that shrunk it down, but when we did a scan a year later, it had flared back up,” says Roy. “That’s when Dr. Powell came on the scene with this clinical trial.”

Ready for a miracle

Some patients tend to shy away from the thought of a clinical trial, but trying out a new medicine was old news to Roy.

“I had the measles and the mumps at the same time when I was 5 years old,” states Roy. “Then one morning my dad came in to check on me and my stomach was swollen, black and blue. My appendix had burst three days ago and I had gangrene. He raced me to the hospital and they basically said I was going to die. But one of the doctors told my dad that they could try this new drug on me. Seeing as I only had a one in a million shot to begin with, he said go for it. That new drug was penicillin and it was my first miracle.”

With little hesitation, Roy, Shirley and Steven Powell, MD, a medical oncologist at Sanford Cancer Center began discussing his options.

Posted Date: May 2016