In March 2021, Tommy Wiltz received a diagnosis that changed his life forever—cancer.
One day at work, Tommy started to experience severe pain in his stomach. “It pretty much floored me and put me on my knees,” Tommy said. He immediately went home, spoke to his wife, and they drove to the Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) Emergency Department. After a stint in the ER and a series of tests and scans, Tommy was diagnosed with inoperable Stage 4 bladder cancer.
Tommy’s initial scans detected a tumor on his bladder. “It was about the size of a lemon,” Tommy said. He immediately began chemotherapy treatment at Western Missouri Cancer Center, (in partnership with MidAmerica Cancer Care, part of Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health) led by renowned physician Dr. Singh. Unfortunately, after a month of treatment, Tommy’s tumor continued to grow—now to the size of an orange, if not larger. Tommy remembers Dr. Singh looking at him and saying that Tommy had about a year-and-a-half to live. They needed to find a treatment solution that would work for his unique cancer situation.
Immediately, Dr. Singh and his Nurse Practitioner Shea Fijal switched Tommy’s medical treatment to Keytruda, a type of aggressive intravenous infusion therapy. After several rounds of treatment, Tommy underwent another round of scans. This time, after his scans, Dr. Singh came in greeting Tommy with a smile and high five. Tommy will never forget this quote from Dr. Singh: “Tommy, you just came back from the dead. Your tumor has shrunk 80%.”
The Keytruda infusion therapy was working, so much so that Tommy’s tumor shrunk smaller than the original size when they did his initial scan. Tommy recalls that not only did the Keytruda medication help shrink his tumor, but it also brought his weight and energy back to normal levels and help take away his pain.
Tommy is extremely thankful for the Cancer Center team at WMMC. “They’ve been awesome,” Tommy said. “So helpful—their recommendations have been incredible.” While Tommy is still on his road to recovery, he’s grateful he doesn’t have to travel far for his cancer treatment.
We’re proud to offer compassionate cancer treatment closer to home for Tommy and any patient in our local community. For more information on our oncology team and services, visit. WMMC.com/oncology.