Patient Story

Jerry W. – A Second Chance for Jerry


He just knew he was going to die. In September 2009, Jerry W., a retired GM employee, was diagnosed with uveal melanoma. His entire world collapsed.

“It’s a scary, world-stopping thing when you’re told you have eye cancer, and you need to do aggressive treatment to have more time. Pretty awful.”

With the support of his loving wife Cindy, Jerry, 73, knew he had to go ahead with radiation treatment of the tumor. But there was one more thing to consider. Jerry’s doctor asked if he wanted a prognostic test that would spell out his odds of survival and the chances that the cancer would eventually metastasize. It required removing a tiny sample of his tumor with a slender needle minutes before the radiation. Jerry said yes.

  • "We were planning for the worst— until we learned my cancer wasn’t likely to spread."

Thanks to his test results, Jerry has been able to resume a worry-free retirement, enjoying his wife, children, grandchildren, and…yes, great grandchildren.

“We look at the whole thing as a blessing now,” said Cindy. “People rallied around. We found out we have a lot of faithful friends and church members and very caring people that came into our life who we knew were there but didn’t fully appreciate until Jerry’s diagnosis.”

“Even if the result had been negative, I’d have wanted to know…” Jerry explained, “…though I’m happy it’s a good one.”

While waiting for the results for the laboratory test to come back, said Cindy, “We began getting our ducks in a row. We started doing all the things we had been putting off. ”

Today, Jerry may not recall how big his tumor had been (“do you think I can remember that?”) but he’ll never forget his doctor’s words on that fateful Sunday morning when he got the call with his prognosis. “I have good news for you, Jerry. There’s a 98-99% chance your cancer will not spread.”

Portrait of Jerry W. and his wife Cindy smiling at the camera