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Home > Our Patients > Rob Padgett: Custom Vaccine and 20+ Doctors Saved Rob

Rob Padgett: Custom Vaccine and 20+ Doctors Saved Rob

Rob Padgett: Custom Vaccine and 20+ Doctors Saved Rob

My battle with cancer started in 1994. There was an unusual mole on the back of my left shoulder blade. I had it removed and they told me it was stage 2 melanoma.

Things went along pretty well until the middle of 2001, when I noticed a growth under my left arm. I had it removed and the biopsy revealed that it had moved on to stage 3 melanoma. Plus, it had gotten into my lymph node.

So, I had some further tests done, and when the results came back, it turned out that I had a 5 cm tumor on my pancreas. Everyone was in disbelief. They diagnosed me with stage 4 pancreatic cancer

With a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, Sonnia got screened.I met with him and he reviewed my whole history, my CT scans and everything. He proposed doing a Whipple procedure. It’s a major operation, and Dr. Adams has performed more of these procedures than just about anyone in the world.

I had the surgery on January 4, 2002. It took over 10 hours, and when I woke up, there were all these staples running down the middle of my stomach. I started thanking God right there because this meant the doctor was able to get all the cancer.

Over the next few days, I got better, to the point where I didn’t need the catheter and the incision drains. This stuff usually has to be in there a whole month. I was still on morphine for the pain, but after about a week, I didn’t need anything that strong.

The vaccine is done in batches. And when we found one that did what it was supposed to do, it meant several weeks of immunotherapy. I got pretty good at giving myself injections, and Dr. Slingluff administered the vaccine treatments.

Later, an upper torso scan showed another tumor, which happens, I guess. They removed it and the doctor suggested radiation in five high-dose treatments, which I did five different times. Then in the fall of 2002, I thought I felt another tumor and had surgery done to remove it.

But it turned out to be scar tissue from the other six surgeries. You can imagine my relief. I can live with scar tissue!

Now, here I am, eight years later. I still go back for exams every six months. But I’m here for my wife and children and I couldn’t ask for more than that. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the staff at UVA, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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