Cancer Patient Stories

Patient Stories about cancer

September 8, 2023

‘Everything Got Better,’ after Coming to UAMS, says Leukemia Lymphoma Patient

Marty Trieschmann

a large family posing for a photo on the beach

By the time Thomas Wages arrived at UAMS on February 15, 2022, he had been through one cancer diagnosis and 13 types of intensive chemotherapy. He was 70. The active father of four was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) in 2008, devastating news that came during one of the happiest times of his life….

April 7, 2023

“I Have More Compassion for Patients,” Says UAMS Nurse and Colon Cancer Survivor

Marty Trieschmann

a nurse standing in front of a hospital building

John Reed, RN, is on the front lines of cancer. As a nurse in the UAMS Endoscopy Lab, he spends about 50 weeks a year helping patients through colon cancer screening procedures, mainly colonoscopies. But after a routine doctor’s appointment in 2020, Reed became the patient. “I felt fine, but my iron levels were really…

March 24, 2023

From Alaska to Arkansas: A Cancer Survivor’s Journey

Marty Trieschmann

family standing in front of graffiti

For throat cancer survivor Shalonda Michelle, there are exactly 3,815 miles between being sick and being healthy. It’s the distance between Fairbanks, Alaska, where her medical journey began, to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, where she finally found healing. Michelle’s harrowing experience began in 2010. She was…

February 3, 2023

104 and Cancer Free

Marty Trieschmann

patient standing with her doctor

UAMS patient treated by James Suen, M.D., is one of the oldest living cancer survivors in Arkansas   A favorite pillow in Maddie Upton’s Camden, Arkansas, home reads, ‘I’m so far up the hill, I’ve started up the next one.’ At 104, there is no old age joke she hasn’t heard, and she shows no…

November 28, 2022

UAMS Lung Cancer Survivor Beats the Odds

Marty Trieschmann

UAMS Lung Cancer Survivor in the Healing Garden of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas

About 25-30% of patients worldwide with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer die in less than three months. But with talented doctors, advances in treatment and a bit of luck, some patients beat the odds. John Pertuis, 62, is a member of this rarified group of lung cancer “long” survivors. With help from the UAMS…

April 8, 2022

Daniel’s Story: From UAMS Lymphoma Patient to Be a Part of the Cure Walk Coordinator

Marty Trieschmann

UAMS Be A Part of the Cure Walk Coordinator, Daniel Frazier, talks about his experience being treated for cancer at the very place he now works.

Imagine you’re 23 and just landed your first promotion at your dream job. All is right with the world. Now imagine being diagnosed with lymphoma at the same time. For UAMS special events coordinator, Daniel Frazier, cancer was not part of the plan. “Whatever plan I thought I had, a cancer diagnosis was nowhere on…

March 4, 2022

Monticello Doctor Credits UAMS Bone Marrow Transplant for Getting Him Back to Medicine and Life

Marty Trieschmann

Patient Jay Connelley with his UAMS Care Team

Jay Connelley, M.D., a family physician in Monticello, Arkansas, was so used to powering through the fatigue that comes with keeping doctors’ hours that it never occurred to him he might be tired for another reason. It wasn’t until he began experiencing frequent dizziness that he thought there might be more to it. “I was…

January 13, 2022

First Myeloma Center Patient Receives Revolutionary New Therapy, Responds Well

Linda Haymes

Dave and Lori Puente of Elk Grove, California. Dave Puente is the first myeloma patient in Arkansas to receive new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy treatment, which is only available at the UAMS Myeloma Center in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

Dave Puente of Elk Grove, California, became the first myeloma patient in Arkansas to receive the new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Myeloma Center, the only medical facility in Arkansas currently offering the cutting-edge treatment.

December 29, 2021

Lung Biopsy Robot at UAMS Detects Early-stage Cancer in Little Rock Woman

Kaitlin Barger

Cynthia Chapman speaks about her experience with the Ion Endoluminal Robotic Bronchoscopy System

A Little Rock woman can now breathe a little easier thanks to new technology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Doctors at UAMS recently activated the first lung biopsy robot in Arkansas. The robot allows doctors to discover and biopsy previously undetectable cancerous nodules in the far reaches of the lungs. Cynthia…

October 15, 2021

Two Sisters Battle Breast Cancer at UAMS

Marty Trieschmann

Sisters and UAMS Breast Cancer Patients Amber Vanaman and April Biggs

Like many sisters, April Biggs and Amber Vanaman have shared a lot as siblings. Just one year apart, they shared a bedroom and clothes growing up in Paragould, Arkansas, and have some of same facial features — definitely the same smile. But they never expected to share a life-threatening disease. Biggs was diagnosed with Stage…

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