Welcome to the Caring Bridge site for my father, Dr. Rand T. Frederiksen (“RTF”). To provide you with a quick background on his journey to date, here is the background:
· In the late fall of 2016, RTF was diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma localized around an ulcer in his stomach.
· From September 2016 through early 2017, RTF had multiple rounds of chemotherapy and several weeks of radiation.
· In May 2017 RTF had surgery on his stomach (a partial gastrectomy) to remove what we hoped would be the last trace of cancer.
· In August 2017, a PET scan showed that the cancer had returned.
· Around this time, the FDA announced that it was close to approving Yescarta, a very promising immunotherapy drug for patients with large B-cell lymphoma.
· In October 2017, RTF started a clinical trial of two oral chemotherapy drugs that would hopefully hold his cancer in check long enough for the FDA to approve of Yescarta.
· That same month, the FDA approval came through, and RTF began Vanderbilt’s own approval process for Yescarta while remaining on the clinical-trial oral chemotherapy drugs.
· In December 2017, Vanderbilt gave him the green light for Yescarta and scheduled him for treatment later that month. This did not happen.
Shortly after his approval for Yescarta, RTF began experiencing pain and swelling in his right knee. The clinical-trial oral medications had not slowed the growth of his cancer, and a scan revealed that a new tumor was restricting blood flow behind his knee. This restriction set off a cascade of problems including thrombosis and blood clots that ended up in his lungs. Shortly before Christmas, RTF was admitted to the hospital.
His oncologists immediately started him on a third chemotherapy regimen (“R.I.C.E.”) and began radiation treatments for the tumor in his knee. Due to the blood clots and subsequent blood thinner medication he needed, the oncologists postponed the Yescarta treatment until mid-March 2018, and he was discharged a few days later. The goal – once again – was to hold his cancer back long enough to get him on Yescarta.
On Monday, January 15, RTF began experiencing severe pain in his stomach and overwhelming fatigue. Two days later, he was re-admitted to the hospital where his latest scans showed significant tumor growth around the outflow of his stomach into the duodenum. The scans also showed that additional tumors had formed in his lungs, shoulder and leg. Like before, this latest round chemotherapy had failed to slow the growth of his cancer.
Last Friday, January 19th, his oncologists let us know that we are at a crossroads: stop treatment or keep fighting to hold back the cancer until March when Yescarta would be possible. If you are reading this, then you know my dad and you know he’s going to keep fighting.
On Monday, January 22nd, RTF will have a procedure to insert a duodenal stent that will alleviate the tumor-induced stomach blockage and allow him to start drinking and eating again (the fastest way to get his strength back). His oncologists are throwing everything they know against the wall, formulating a strategy, and will begin a treatment protocol as early as Tuesday, January 23rd.
The odds are not in our favor, but neither were the odds of a cotton-farming kid from West Texas becoming the physician, friend, and family that we all know and love. He beat those odds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he beats this too.