In 1980, Jack Brown was 38 and busy working in oilfield sales. When a
lump appeared on his left groin, he ignored it until his wife, Bobbie,
urged him to visit a doctor.
His New Iberia, Louisiana doctor removed the tumor, and a biopsy
showed it was cancer. “It really rocked our world,” Bobbie says. “We
thought cancer was the end. Jack started making final plans.”
Jack remembers asking the doctor what he suggested. “He suggested
MD Anderson. The nurse called on Friday
and we got an appointment on Tuesday,” he says.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment at MD Anderson
McLaughlin determined that Jack’s spleen needed to be removed to
stop the cancer from spreading. After a splenectomy, Jack underwent
five weeks of radiation.
“They had a radiation room in the basement of the main building,”
Jack says of MD Anderson in 1980. “They
put lead blocks on you to try to shield and target the radiation
areas. There was a big metal door, and nurses would talk to you
through the speaker system.”
Jack was able to receive his year of chemotherapy treatments at the
hospital back home. “They put ice bags on your head then to keep the
hair from falling out. It worked for about three treatments, and then
one morning it all came out in my comb,” Jack remembers.
Life after lymphoma treatment
After his lymphoma treatment put him into remission, Jack came to
MD Anderson periodically for checkups
until 2000, when his care team told him he didn’t need to return
unless he had experienced any lymphoma symptoms.
While the treatments were effective, Jack had bowel obstruction
issues due to radiation scarring. Still, he wouldn’t change the
positive outcome of his treatments. “I’m still surviving regardless of
the effects,” he says. “I can do almost anything I want to do, so it
was all worth it.”
Bobbie agrees. “He looks like the picture of health at 74,” she
says. “His hair came back and everybody says how young he looks.”
Another generation comes to MD Anderson
Jack and Bobbie wish that were the end of their cancer story. Nearly
17 years after their youngest son died of brain cancer, their oldest
son, Jack G. Brown, was diagnosed with metastatic renal cell carcinoma in Aug. 2016. The couple
insisted he come to MD Anderson, and his daughter, Megan Smith, helped
set up his first appointment.
“We all told him he didn’t have a choice,” Bobbie says of her son,
who came to MD Anderson in Sept. 2016.
Under the care of Nizar Tannir, M.D., he’s receiving radiation
therapy and taking temsirolimus as part of a clinical trial.
When they visit MD Anderson now, the
Browns contrast their previous visits with today’s technology. “They
showed me the machine my son was getting radiation on, and it’s a lot
more focused now. The treatments have really advanced,” Jack says.
Jack credits MD Anderson for saving his
life. “I thought they did a wonderful job with me,” he says. “And I
can tell you the staff that MD Anderson
has today is still amazing.”
Bobbie adds, “I’m glad my husband Jack went there because,
otherwise, I don’t think he would be here. Now I’m glad MD Anderson is here for my son.”
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