As a part of our Faces of Courage series, we are featuring a patient story each month. Each one of our members has a unique story to tell, but they all reflect the intrinsic courage of those who face the challenges of cancer head on, with dignity, strength and passion for life.

Our Patient of the Month for April is Brett Fisher. Here is his story:

GISTory:

Brett Fisher

Brett and wife, Kari

I went into the hospital short of breath. I was admitted on August 28th of 2018 with what was first diagnosed as congestive heart failure. It turned out to be arrhythmia giving me those symptoms. While in for that, I got the news that a scan showed a growth in my stomach.

Long story short, I had GIST. I was in shock at first. I spent the first 52 years of my life without any issues and now had to face a cardiac ablation, and now GIST as well. The biopsy turned out that I had a low mitotic rate (2/50) and a lovely lil 3.5 cm friend at EXON 17. So, I was able to have my ablation in November and had laparoscopic removal on 1-11-19 of my little friend. When removed, two small clusters (less than 1 cm) were found in my omentum. Same Exon. So, I had my oncologist contact Dr. Heinrich and he suggested I start on 400 mg of Imatinib. I am on week six/seven now. And am lucky to have no side effects so far. Maybe a bit tired, but that’s it.

Coping:

Head on. I contacted The Life Raft Group immediately and they are a fantastic resource. Donated a sample and sent them my info. They have been nothing short of great. Unbelievable resource of knowledge and understanding.

Advice to Fellow GISTers:

Keep positive. Live your life. It sucks we have this, but it is a manageable condition. And surround yourself with positive people and things.

Hobbies:

Anything sci-fi. Marvel Movies are my big weakness. Lifting weights, working out in general. Spending time with my family and friends.

Motto:

This is corny, but I am a huge martial arts fan. And Bruce Lee had this great quote: “Empty your Mind, be formless, shapeless like water. Put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or creep or drip or crash. Be water, my friend”. Water flows and adapts. It has no plan, but deals with the environment that it finds.

Each member story reflects the individual patient’s experience. GIST is not one disease, but a family of diseases, and each patient has a unique set of symptoms and manifestation of the disease.

Criteria for Patient of the Month

  1. Patient must be a member of the LRG Patient Registry
  2. Patient is an active member of the Patient Registry, continually providing medical updates
  3. Patient’s record should be at least 80% up-to-date
  4. Patient has a GIST/PRiME account
  5. Patient must agree to provide consent to share his/her story to our GIST community on our website and social media

Interested? Contact Denisse Montoya, LRG Patient Registry Director for more information: dmontoya@liferaftgroup.org

READ MORE MEMBER STORIES