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Atul’s Story

Atul Shukla was first diagnosed with well-differentiated mucinous bronchoalveolar carcinoma (BAC) in December of 2002.  He underwent a lobectomy to remove a 6cm tumor mass in his right lower lobe.  He was cancer free until May 2007. 

The CT scan from May 2007 showed tumor recurrence in both lungs.  He decided to try the EGFR inhibitor Tarceva for 6 weeks.  A second CT scan after 6 weeks indicated that his tumors had grown while on Tarceva.  After discussing the new CT scan results with his oncologist, he immediately started conventional chemotherapy: carboplatin, taxol, and avastin.  He continued the carboplatin/taxol combination for 6 cycles (1 cycle every 3 weeks).  The chemo seemed to have halted the growth of his tumors.  After 6 cycles of carboplatin/taxol, he continued avastin for 6 months.

When the tumors started to grow again, he began taxotere, a second-line chemotherapy for non-small cell lung carcinomas.  He was on taxotere for 2 cycles, and decided to discontinue all treatment while we took a family vacation to Dar (summer 2008).

After returning from Dar, a new CT scan indicated that his tumors had grown (at a slow rate, but there was definite growth).  After discussing the results with his oncologist, he decided to start Alimta, another second line therapy for NSCLCs.  Alimta worked for a certain period of time and then the CT scans revealed progression.

Atul then started pursuing lung transplant option since he was running out of other treatment options.  His condition deteriorated rapidly mid-September.  He was airlifted to Cleveland Clinic on October 1, 2009 and was put on a ventilator October 2, 2009.  

God blessed the family with the good news of donor lungs availability at 7:30 am on Thursday, October 8.  Dr. Ken McCurry, along with his fellow, Dr. Yun provided the good news.  Atul had surgery at 1:30 am Friday morning (October 9).

The Shukla family is eternally grateful to Dr. McCurry, Dr. Budev, Dr. Yun, Dr. Benjamin and all the other doctors, nurses and staff at the Cleveland Clinic for  the treatment Atul has been receiving.  A big thank you and our prayers for the donor and the donor family for the lungs.  We are overwhelmed with the help and support we have received from friends and well wishers.  We thank all  for your prayers and good wishes for Atul's speedy recover. 

Latest Journal Update


Our Dear Atul,

Today, four years ago,  on Oct 7, 2009, the Shukla family and a host of people fervently praying for you, received most welcome news of donor lungs availability for you.  We were most elated and prayed for the surgery to go well and for God to heal you speedily so you could return to Memphis with us, very weak and frail, but with us nonetheless so you could watch over and help the boys go through college and med school.  Alas, God and destiny had other plans for you and for the Shukla family.  We know that you are still watching over us wherever you are.  We pray that you are at peace.  We miss you very very much!!  Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.


1 Comment

Brenda Thornton
By Brenda Thornton, UTHSC
As I am making plans to retire, I am going through all the documents on my computer, and I opened the one entitled "Atul Shukla". As I read all that transpired just prior to and after your passing, I can't help but cry and remember the dear man I cared so much for, as a human being and my friend. I will always cherish the time we knew each other and all the laughs we had together. Even though you were faculty and I was staff, you always treated me as an equal and encouraged me to stay the course. You were one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to know, and although you are not here with us physically, your caring and loving spirit is still with us as we continue in our daily lives. Love to you, my dear friend.