Read my cancer story

My name is Michael Robbert. I am a 35 year old male working as a computer Systems Administrator in Golden, CO. I am also an avid runner and triathlete. Last, but not least I am living with cancer. Let me tell you a little about myself.

In October 2007 I was training for the Denver marathon. Training was going great and I felt like I was on track for my best race yet and I've run quite a few. About 2 weeks before the race I got sick. I passed it off as food poisoning until I nearly fainted in our bathroom. My wife took me into the emergency room where they did emergency surgery to remove a tumor from my stomach that had ulcerated. I would later find out that the tumor was a malignant GIST and it had already metastasized to multiple sites in my abdomen. GIST stands for Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumor which is a rare type of sarcoma. GIST is known to not respond well to standard chemotherapy nor radiation. Luckily in recent years research has made it fairly well understood and there are now targeted chemotherapy drugs that work very well in most cases. I immediately started on Gleevec, the standard first line treatment. Unfortunately my tumors didn't respond well and continued to grow. A dose increase helped at first, but then started to show signs of growth after a few months. I moved to a second line drug called Sutent. Around the same time I decided to get a second opinion from the experts at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center(MDACC). The Sutent seemed to be working fairly well with check-ups every 3 months in Houston.

In the fall of 2009 the scans showed that growth had continued again and we needed to try something new. The doctors decided that the most promising option for me was to start a clinical trial for newer drug called Dasatinib. The protocol for this trial required me to get checkups every 28 days at MDACC in Houston. The travel to Houston was already becoming a burden, but we decided that we needed to go ahead with the best option for my health. So far it has been working great and I look as healthy as anyone I know.