Curtis Garbett suddenly began feeling tired and noticed that he was urinating more frequently. He dismissed the symptoms since they were intermittent and continued with his daily life.
Finally, in February of 2015, Curtis consulted with a physician who recommended a TURP or Transurethral Resection of the Prostate.
The test showed that he had Papillary urothelial carcinoma and during an additional procedure, he had a right double J stent placed.
The procedure was a success, and for the next nine months, his cystoscopies were not showing any signs of cancer in his bladder.
Later in December of 2015, Curtis had a CT scan that showed spots in his lung and retroperitoneal node. At that time, he was referred to an oncologist, and on December 31, 2015, he was diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer at the age of 39.
Over the next five months, Curtis had an open lung biopsy to remove the lung nodules, port placement, genetic testing and received six cycles of chemotherapy.
Although it was a difficult time in his life, Curtis recalls having an excellent medical team who provided him with education and support, as well as a great amount of support from his family.
During his follow-up visit in May of 2016, he received the good news that there was no evidence of disease but just over a year later received a setback when he learned that his cancer has returned.
In May of 2017, he began the Incyte 101 clinical trial at the Duke Cancer Institute making him the second person in the world to receive the study drug and Pembrolizumab.
Curtis' diagnosis and treatment have been scary and filled with lots of questions and unknowns. These unknowns have led him to research and learn all he can about his condition to spread awareness.
He frequently uses social media to share his story and has even adopted the hashtag #crushitforcurtis. He advises those that have been diagnosed with bladder cancer not to be afraid to ask questions and be open with their family and doctors about what they need.
These days Curtis focuses on living in the moment and feels incredibly fortunate to have such a strong support system. He cites his mother as his personal hero. He says, "She has been by my side since I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She has been at every appointment, even moved in with me temporary while I was going through Chemotherapy, and has become one of my biggest cheerleaders and advocates for bladder cancer. She is always researching bladder cancer and new treatment options, trends, and what chemicals or products have that greatest impact on bladder cancer and cancer in general. She is an amazing Mom!"
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Keep on crushing it Curtis and raising awareness about bladder cancer. You are a true hero!