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Perry’s Fight Like a Girl Story (GastroIntestinal Stromal Tumor)

Perry's Story (GIST)Last July, I was diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) of the rectum, a rare sarcoma in a very rare location (only five to 25 per year). It was surgically removed on 9/11, but the growth rate indicated that it was likely to recur or metastasize. So I was started on Gleevec, a targeted molecular therapy (kind of like chemotherapy), that I take once a day for three years or until the cancer recurs. It costs about $300 per pill – can you believe that! The side effects are not major; fatigue, thinning skin, runny eyes, nausea, etc. I’m thankful that I can continue to work full-time.

But my hero is my sister, who survived two separate bouts of breast cancer, then vulvar cancer. To top it off at the same time I was diagnosed with GIST she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer (GBM). She was on chemo and radiation, but the chemo dropped her counts so low that she had to stop taking it. She is currently in remission. Throughout all of her cancers, she has continued to be positive, upbeat, and engaged in life . She is a true inspiration to me. Her husband, who has Parkinson’s, has been right at her side, supporting her and loving her through it all.

Both my sister and I are fighting like girls for our future.

Submitted 07/28/2013

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Terry K


    Sorry to hear about you and your sisteers fight with these cancers. My father was diagnosed last summer with gastrointestinal stromal tumor on his intestine. He never would of found it until it was too late but thankfully he was pushing his grandsons 4-wheeler to get it started and when it did start, his grandson took off with it not thinking that grandpa was still hanging on. He was drug many yards before his grandson seen him and stopped. He went into the ER and they did a cat scan and seen this tumor. He had surgery and now is on a medication which costed $6000.00 a month but went up to $7000 just last month. If he dont take this med, he will die within a year the dr. said. The medication manufacturers know that they got you by the horns. You HAVE to have this medication to stay alive so they jack the price up to where it is unbelieveable. Luckily my fathers Dr. gave him a website of a company that helps to pay for this medication each month. My father has been dealing with this by himself with the support of his son and myself, his daughter. There are 2 other sons but they abandoned their mother and father when their mother was diagnosed with the aphasia….a relative disease to Alzheimers. My mother is in the nursing home so he has a lot on his plate.
    I wish you and your sister the very best thru-out your journies with this disease.

    God bless you and your family……


  2. Angie

    God bless you and your sister!

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