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Our Story: Johnny & Kimberlee Hough Meet Dr. Robert A. Nagourney


Johnny and Kimberlee Hough were married in November, 1993. They spent their first anniversary as husband and wife listening to the diagnosis - 'mesothelioma'. They then traveled every road in search of an answer, a cure, some hope. One night, watching television they discovered Dr. Robert Nagourney. Here is their story.....

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As told by Kimberlee:

My husband has malignant mesothelioma (tumor in the lining of his lung -caused by asbestos). There is no standard therapy for this. It is up until now 100% fatal. The doctors gave him 2 months to live and said it was inoperable and would not respond to chemo. At the time my husband was diagnosed he was already in the advanced stage. He's a rough and tough guy that did not like to go to the doctor. We did the National Institutes of Health thing to no avail. After the clinical trial we were hopeless and helpless, and did not know where to turn. We were told by every doctor that we saw up to this point to go home and get our affairs in order. At this time the cancer was in the lining of his lungs, had spread to his heart and spine (causing partial paralysis) and through his diaphragm and to his liver. He was also hooked up to every conceivable tube possible (IV's to eat (TPN) and drink) and could not urinate/defecate on his own. Needless to say we were totally devastated. My husband was too young to die and I was too young to be a widow. One night we had the TV on and the show "Hardcopy" came on. It had a segment on a Dr. Robert Nagourney who does chemo-sensitivity testing. He was touted as being able to "cure the incurable". Finally we had a ray of hope. We immediately called and had an appointment for the next week. Johnny flew out to California. Dr. Nagourney did a biopsy on Johnny and tested it on every known chemo agent including the experimental drugs and combinations. You see, he tailors the chemotherapy to your particular tumor.

We then received the Assay within 10 days. On the Assay were a number of different agents that Johnny's tumor had shown sensitivity to. We opted for the second item on the list (The first was a very stout chemo - for the hopes that if it did not work than at least he could have some quality of life). Even then we were the skeptics. Needless to say we are no longer skeptics.

Johnny completed (cycle 1) 7 weekly doses of Gemcytabine and after the first cycle his measurement on the lining of his lung went from 4cm to 2 cm and was no longer on his heart, spine, diaphragm or liver.

Johnny completed (cycle 2) another 7 weeks and it was half again the size that it was. From 2cm to 1cm.

We are now on (cycle 3) the second weekly dose out of another 7 and Johnny has cut down tremendously on his pain medications and no longer has to take any break thru medications and has even gained some weight. Johnny has also gotten back the use of his legs and can walk pretty good with a cane. We think this is a good sign. We are not out of the woods yet by a long shot but at least have a good start. I thank God every day for giving us the strength not to give up even though we had all the odds stacked against us.

Kimberlee, Dr. Nagourney and Johnny

There is no doubt in our minds that Johnny would not be here right now if it weren't for God and Dr. Nagourney and his chemo-sensitivity testing. May I also say that we have the best Oncologist in the world who practices medicine with an open mind. We are fully expecting Johnny to be cancer free in the near future and in the worst case scenario, we have not lost anything by doing this, but have gained very precious and quality time together. I am sending our story to you in the hopes that you may be helped by this. This is an impossible battle by ourselves but maybe if we help each other we can beat this cancer.

If you are interested in talking to Dr. Nagourney's office (at the Cancer Evaluation Center) his telephone number is (310) 989-6455. A very wonderful gentleman named Robert Salti was and still is very helpful to us.

They also have a website:

Good Luck and God Bless You,

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Johnny's battle came to an end on March 27, 1997. Their struggles and small victories were shared by many who visited newsgroups throughout cyberspace.