Jim Yocum Do or do not, no try

First post: Sep 24, 2019 Latest post: Feb 28, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Since May, Jim had severe pain in his shoulder.  So severe it sent him to urgent care and eventually his ortho surgeon who did his back surgeries.  After a scan, a lytic lesion was found on his T1 vertebrae.  While lytic lesions can be just about anything this one looked very concerning to his doc, concerning because he said these types of lesions typically metastize from somewhere else.  He immediately referred Jim to an oncologist....WHAT!?!?!?

A few weeks, a CT scan, a bone scan, blood work, MRIs and a biopsy later, Jim was officially diagnosed with Stage IV ALK positive Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).  The ALK is VERY important.  It means that his cancer was caused by a genetic rearrangement. Only 3 to 4% of patients have this, however there has been a ton of research done on it, so much so there are targeted treatments for this specific rearrangement. He starts one next week. It is a pill form of treatment that targets the thing causing the rearrangement and works to stop it.  Its a pretty hefty drug but should have less side effects than chemo. If you know anything about lung cancer, specifically stage IV lung cancer this is the best news we could have gotten.  It is our best chance at managing Jim's cancer as a chronic disease.

However not all patients respond, 70% do and we are praying he is part of that 70%.  AND even if it does work, it will likely stop working at some point (the average is about 3 years) as the cancer figures out a way to outsmart it.  Our hope is that it will work long enough for there to be more options when it stops working. 

We have been surround by love and prayers and so many resources through this whole process and we are so grateful.  We ask you to continue to pray. Pray that his current tumors in his spine respond to the radiation he is currently undergoing so that it will relieve his pain. Pray that his body responds to the treatment. Pray that it responds to the treatment for a VERY long time and that when it stops we have other treatments to try. 

We know the statistics but Jim is not a statistic and there have been so many advances in therapies and treatments.  We also know how stubborn Jim is and he is resolute in his belief that he will be here a long time.  We appreciate all of your love, support and prayers!

Steph, Jim, and Betti

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