John found a mass in his right forearm in January of 2009. After consulting a local physician about it, he was referred to a local hospital for more testing. After further review it appeared to resemble a soft tissue sarcoma. Due to the rarity of that form of cancer, the doctors here did not feel comfortable treating him for it. So they were going to send him to a bigger hospital in our region.
We researched sarcoma ourselves and came to realize how rare it really was. After discovering that, we didn't even feel comfortable going to the regional hospital for consultation and treatment. We felt like it would be better to go somewhere that had a lot of experience with this type of cancer. It was then that we realized how much experience MD Anderson Cancer Center had with sarcoma, and that they even had an entire sarcoma unit. The decision was made and we were off to Texas for a biopsy. After the biopsy, the doctors seemed fairly certain that it was a sarcoma, but it would take surgery to remove the tumor at this point to find out for sure. We returned 2 months later for surgery to remove the tumor. At that point, the doctors still felt it might be a type of tumor they had never seen before, but since they couldn't determine exactly what it was, they strongly encouraged us to treat it like a sarcoma. That meant that we would need to return to Texas a month later for 7 weeks of radiation treatment on his arm to be sure and remove any trace of cancer that could be remaining. We packed up our 3 small children and relocated to Houston for 2 months while undergoing treatment. After that time, he was given clearance to return home and life as normal with regular checkups every 6 months. Three years later, he now just goes once a year and will return to Houston at the end of the month for his next checkup! It's given us such peace of mind to know that we did everything we could to get him the best treatment possible with doctor's that are so knowledgeable about such a specific type of cancer.