Submitted by GISTer Paul Mexcur

it's time to tell the stories feature imagePaul’s GISTory starts here:  In December 2021 I had a GIST, part of my stomach, liver, pancreas, and spleen removed. In May the CT and MRI scans showed that the cancer had metastasized to the liver. The doctors at Johns Hopkins informed me that there was no approved medical treatment for my condition, and they would not be able to do additional surgery. In June, I was accepted into a clinical trial at Fox Chase Cancer Center using the chemotherapy temozolomide. Unfortunately, the CT and MRI scans in August showed that the lesions were rapidly growing, and I was removed from the clinical trial.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) is doing research in rare tumor surgery and I have been accepted as a research subject. Dr. Andrew Blakely performed major liver surgery on October 5th, 2022 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involving liver wedge resection x7, liver ablation x14, removal of the left lobe & the gallbladder. My tissues will be used to advance NIH studies in rare cancers.

paul mexcur

Paul Mexcur, Maryland, USA

Meditating on scripture helped me endure: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3); Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Psalms 23); Be strong and very courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you (Joshua 1).”  I am improving every day!

The road ahead:  I retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in July 2022 after 40 years of service. I turn 65 in December and hope to start enjoying retirement.

Paul also gave us permission to share this poem he wrote last December (2021) before the metastases were discovered:

I left my spleen in Baltimore
Oh, how I miss her
We have been together for a very long time
Now she needs to go
She was no longer healthy
I’ll learn to live without her

I left my spleen in Baltimore
Came home with priceless body art
Some have six-pack abs
None match what I have
It may not be a Picasso
It is the best I got

I left my spleen in Baltimore
It wasn’t caused by gun violence
Johns Hopkins Hospital has the skills
Now I have another day to live
Dr. Greer led the team
I am cancer free. I am so thankful!

– Winfield Paul Mexcur

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