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A Success Story - Chris Parish

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Chris Parish 

Chris is a sophomore at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, majoring in Pre-Med.  His experience with cancer will allow him to become a doctor who will understand the emotional trauma which accompanies medical illnesses.  He has survived Ewing's Sarcoma.  In his own words:

I was a junior in the International Baccalaureate program at Hirschi High School, planning to graduate in May of 2006 and then attend college on IB scholarships to study pre-medicine and psychology.  However, on February 1, 2005, my life changed forever when the doctors diagnosed a pain in my right lung area as a type of Ewing's Sarcoma, also known as PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor) of the chest wall, or Askin's tumor of the rib.  It is an extremely rare form of pediatric bone cancer which occurs mostly in white teenage males during growth spurts.  It has nothing to do with genetics or lifestyle of the patient, and is typically diagnosed in an average of three individuals per year.  Following my diagnosis, I had surgery, where the doctors removed part of the tumor for biopsy, inserted a port in my chest for chemotherapy, and conducted bone marrow biopsies.  The next week I started inpatient chemotherapy treatments, which continued every 21 days for four months.  On May 9, I had tumor resection surgery, during which the doctors removed two ribs and what was left of the tumor.  After recuperating from this surgery, I completed the remainder of the Ewing's treatment protocol, finishing the last of the fourteen inpatient chemotherapy rounds in December.  I was declared in full remission and cancer-free following clear scans at the end of my treatment on December 21, 2005.

During my recent recovery from everything that has happened since my cancer experience began, I realized that some of what I consider to be most important in my life has changed.  I now value socializing with people, and relationships in general, much, much more.  Almost a year of social isolation (which meant that I couldn't go to school or out in public places because I could develop deadly infections from other people's 'normal' germs) made me realize how incredibly boring/depressing life is in their absence.  At first, since I was kind of a loner, the isolation did not have much effect on me and was, actually, even a bit enjoyable; over time, however, it gradually took its toll, making it difficult for me to become motivated about anything.  I now also once again value outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and archery and am trying to better the physical aspects of my body.  Surprisingly, I am now also more interested in money (beating cancer is expensive!) and have started studying the stock market and the process of making investments.  During my first year of college, I have developed an interest in physics, math, biology, chemistry and mechanics.

My eventual career goal is to attend medical school and become a psychiatrist.  I believe my cancer experience has helped me to better understand the medical field from the point of view of the patient.  I believe patients desire that their doctors possess a very human and personal understanding of the emotional trauma which accompanies medical illness.  I believe that with proper training, I can become that kind of medical professional.

I was so excited when I received the call from Cancer Survivors' Fund letting me know I had received a scholarship.  This means that I can continue to go to college and concentrate on my studies.  Cancer Survivors' Fund, I thank you and my future patients thank you!

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