“When they found my tumors had actually shrunk, everyone in the treatment room gave me a hug."
—Pat Farrin of Boothbay, Kidney Cancer Patient
Since first being diagnosed in 2016, Pat Farrin and his doctors have been battling his renal cell carcinoma, or kidney cancer, using all the tools available: several medications, a clinical trial, immunotherapy, and now targeted medicine. So when Pat’s tumors were actually found to have shrunk in May of 2019, the news spread quickly through the treatment room. “Everyone on the floor came over and congratulated me, with lots of hugs and handshakes,” Pat notes. “Dr. Thomas, who’s a pretty serious guy, had the biggest smile I’d ever seen.”
Pat’s part of a family with deep roots in the Boothbay region, and he’s excited to watch the progress of the next generation—including his sons, Kipp, who has taken over Pat’s construction business, and Kelly, who owns the local Carriage House Restaurant.
Kidney cancer is a difficult one to beat, and Pat’s was at Stage IV, having metastasized to his pelvis, shoulder, groin and lung. When the Tumor Board at Dana-Farber determined it was too risky to operate, he was referred to Dr. Christian Thomas at NECS for systemic treatment.
Some of the chemotherapies prescribed were able to halt the growth of the tumors, but not shrink them. However, cancer treatment is increasingly understood to be a very personal science, so Dr. Thomas persisted in the hope that he would find one that was effective for Pat—and this approach was finally rewarded when a routine scan of the tumor on Pat’s kidney revealed that it had visibly shrunk for the first time ever.
Pat’s partner, Cathy Conn, adds, “People who work in oncology are special, and Dr. Thomas and his team are wonderful examples of that. They make it as easy as possible to get through this difficult time, never making us wait, always answering our calls, and smoothing the way for us any time we need emergency services.”
Pat adds, “They are so good to me.”
Cathy and he realize there are no guarantees for the future once you have been diagnosed with cancer, but feel grateful to be at the one place in Maine that offers the best chance of beating Pat’s disease.
Pat with his partner, Cathy Conn
Dr. Christian Thomas with Melissa Timberlake FNP
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