An Upstate man given 6 months to one year to live after a brain cancer diagnosis is telling his story of survival with a hope to inspire others facing the same fight.
The latest, most advanced medicine was used to attack the cancer on Shane Gentry’s brain, but Shane is quick to tell there’s more to it.
What happened to him, Shane says, is nothing short of a miracle.
The first sign something wasn’t right came three years ago when Shane’s strong hands went weak.
“I noticed when I went to put the keys in the door it was like two magnets working against each other,” said Shane.
Weeks later matters got worse.
“On June 5th, 2015, my birthday, the guys at work took me out to eat and after we ate I passed out at the truck,” said Shane.
While at the emergency room, scans showed something abnormal on his brain. A biopsy revealed a tumor the size of a half-dollar coin.
It was Stage 4 Glioblastoma, also called GBM, the same rare form of cancer Sen. John McCain is currently fighting. There are fewer than 200,000 cases per year.
“I had six months to a year to live,” Shane said.
Faced with endless decisions, Shane and his family chose to fight it.
“I said, Lord, I’m not going to let it get the best of me. I’m going to stand up and fight this toe to toe.”
Dr. Stephen Dyar, Shane’s oncologist at Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center said for patients with this type of brain cancer the prognosis is hard to deliver.
With Stage 4 Glioblastoma, our goal is to help their quality of life be as good as it can but we don’t necessarily expect to cure somebody,” said Dr. Dyar.
Dr. Dyar attacked Shane’s cancer with a high-powered chemo pill combined with radiation for six weeks. The process took it’s toll on Shane.
“I was in and out of the hospital maybe 6 months. Just sick off and on. It was unbelievable,” said Shane.
While he was bedridden, Shane’s uphill battle with cancer seemed like a battle he’d lose.
But, then there was promising news.
“It started decreasing little by little,” said Shane.
“For the most part you see people have a good initial response. The problem is the rate of recurrence is very, very high. It’s almost always they’re going to show back up,” said Dr. Dyar.
In Shane’s case the cancer hasn’t come back. What can be seen in current scans, doctors say, is scar tissue.
“He understood from the beginning that this was always going to be something in his life and he’s taken that fight and he’s run with it and I think that’s why he’s thrived as much as he has,” said Dyar.
“You don’t give up. If you give up it’s gonna get you. But, if you don’t give up you can beat it. You can beat anything but you gotta have God on your side. He’s got to work with you and he’s made a miracle out of me.”