When he went in for his checkup, his instincts proved to be right. Doctors told him that the melanoma had returned, causing hemorrhaging and swelling in his brain. It could permanently impact his body functions and speech.
"Doctors told me that they didn't even figure out how I was still doing my day to day chores," Thomason said. "I was already shocked and then they told me – there was no FDA-approved treatment for this and I had 6 to 10 months left. Most of my remaining days would be spent in hospice."
The HopeFortunately, he met with Dr Peter Forsyth in the Neuro-Oncology Department at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr Peter suggested he participate in a clinical trial of immunotherapy that combined nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy).
"It felt like a beacon of hope in the darkness," Thomason said. "As I was one of the earliest participants of the trial, I knew the risks but I was determined."
Thomason and his wife, Nancy, decided to relocate to Tampa on Forsyth's suggestions so that he could actively monitor the trial. "This was a very complicated trial with unpredictable side-effects, I wanted to closely monitor them and deal with them immediately," Forsyth said.
The TrialSoon, at Moffitt Cancer Center, doctors began the trial with Thomason. He started receiving the infusion of a combination of the drugs through an IV.
"After five weeks, doctors gave me an update – two largest tumors were just disappeared," Thomason said. "Remaining three tumors had also reduced significantly. This was nothing sort of a miracle."
"The outcome was unbelievable," Forsyth said. "His body was reacting to the treatment in an amazing way."
Doctors continued the treatment and monitored the effectiveness of the treatment. With minimal side-effects, the trial ended with positive results.
Cancer-free Life"Thomason is in remission now. He is healthy and enjoying life," Forsyth said. "It was a very complicated procedure with unforeseen side-effects, but he came out as winner against all odds. We are all happy for him and may he live a long life."
Thomason is now cancer-free and focuses on a healthy lifestyle. He exercises daily and travels to unexplored places with his wife.
"I was in despair when doctors said that my husband has only a few months left," Nancy said. "Now, after the clinical trial, I am walking down the road with him every day with cheerfulness."
"This clinical trial gave me a second chance. It saved my life," Thomason said. "I am thankful to Dr Forsyth and his medical team at Moffitt."