One middle Georgia couple is battling cancer by working as a team. The Gamundi’s story show's the influence a wife can have on her husband's health.
"Two years ago I was dealing with what I thought was the
What started out as normal cold-like symptoms, ended up being much worse for the 50-year-old. After complications persisted, his wife Kathie called a nurse and they went back to the clinic.
"He was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg and a blood clot in his lung and then was sent to the hospital with a diagnosis of stage four esophageal cancer," said Kathie Gamundi.
"Then I ended up in the hospital I guess for about 8 days… and (doctors) gave me six months to live," said Rick Gamundi.
The Gamundi's wouldn't accept this likely outcome, and turned to oncology specialist Frederick Schnell and Dr. Schnell decided to try to beat Rick's cancer with a drug called, Herceptin. The drug slows down the growth rate of cancer cells related to the HER-2 gene.
"If you take this particular targeted therapy that has only been given to breast cancer patients and then give it to people with gastro and esophageal cancer that you get dramatic responses," said Dr. Schnell.
The drug significantly slowed down the growth rate of cancer cells in Gamundi giving him better energy and more hope moving forward. Gamundi says the persistence of his wife gave him a better chance to beat the disease.
"Had Kathie not been there and had she not been so insistent we would have definitely found out later you know that things were wrong. But we would have definitely been on the negative end of things. Things would have progressed to a more serious level and we probably would not have had the chance to medically treat it like we did," said Rick Gamundi.
Rick is still fighting the cancer, but he's made great strides and is close to a full recovery.
According the American Cancer Society, stomach cancer affected more than 21-thousand Americans last year and has a higher incidence rate for people 50 or older.