John Gibbs, MD, PhD, had shortness of breath during a charity basketball game. “I was really winded,” says the Greenville, NC neurologist. “And I had been running half marathons, so this was unusual.”
He covered his bases by getting a CT scan in May 2007. To his great surprise, he saw a large mass growing near his lungs.
He was familiar with many doctors at Duke, as he had trained there for five years in the specialties of neurology, epilepsy, and sleep medicine. He made an appointment with Thomas D’Amico, MD, Duke thoracic surgeon. After several inpatient rounds of chemotherapy with Duke oncologist Joseph Moore, MD. D’Amico removed a nine-pound tumor from Gibbs’ lung several months later.
“It’s a highly unusual tumor, and it recurs,” Gibbs says. “But it is manageable, and I will have more surgery when needed.”
Gibbs says that nothing has changed his life as fundamentally as living with lung cancer. He realized over time that he was fortunate. He could resume his work and activities, and for an athletic person, that meant a lot to him. “I can still play golf,” he says. He also learned to relate much more to his patients as a patient, rather than as a doctor.
Gibbs says he went to Duke because he knew the care would be the best he could get, and his trust in his own doctors, D’Amico and Moore, was full. “My doctors listened, and they are so competent that I never worried about anything going wrong.”