“When I learned about my diagnosis seven years ago, I was numb,” he says. “I thought it was just a birthmark. It felt like I had been hit with a fatal blow and that my plans for my life were in disarray. My family and I were very concerned, but we were determined to be optimistic after I had the surgery to remove the birthmark.”
One year later, Chris found two lumps on his neck. The melanoma had spread.
Doctors at a hospital where Chris worked in Lubbock, Texas, recommended radiation and treatment with Interferon, which he followed for about two years. Then, further scans showed the cancer had also spread to his lung and his brain.
Chris’ status immediately ramped up: he was a stage 4 cancer patient.
“My doctor told me he was going to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at it,” he says. Chris’ treatment got more aggressive: radiosurgery and radiation for the tumors on his brain and high doses of chemotherapy.
“I was in the 5% of people whose brain does not react well to radiation, so the hope was that the chemo would penetrate the blood brain barrier and get to work on the tumors in my brain. It was awful. The treatments made me so sick.”
Chris says it was then that he felt the disease had truly dealt him the biggest hit of all. “I couldn’t work. I couldn’t drive. It was beginning to break me down, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually,” he explains. “No one knew what the next step would be. Hope was running out. I needed
a new plan.”