Raymond Wong’s mother Lily Wong first came to America from China in 1976, now retired after more than 20 years in the restaurant business. When Lily first started having pain and symptoms, her son urged her to have a colonoscopy, which ultimately led to her diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer in May 2021.
Lily and Raymond faced challenges in treating her cancer not only due to its advanced nature, but also due to cultural differences between the two generations, “My mom has a hesitation to Western medicine, whereas I am on the side of science,” said Raymond.
By the end of the year, Lily’s cancer was no longer responding to the chemotherapy, so her oncologist ran a report of her tumor’s genetic markers to see if a clinical trial might be the right fit for her. After evaluating trial options in both the Houston and Dallas areas, Raymond and Lily settled on Mary Crowley Cancer Research and enrolled in Trial #18-26 in March 2022.
Lily’s trial is for the drug Adagrasib, a small molecule inhibitor that targets the oncogenic KRAS substitution mutation, G12C. Upon oral administration, Adagrasib binds to KRAS G12C and inhibits mutant KRAS-dependent signaling.
Since then, Raymond drives up from Austin every other week to help translate for his mother as she receives her half-day of infusion treatment at Mary Crowley. “Our experience has been very positive,” said Raymond. ”All the staff has been very helpful. They answered all our questions, and, in the beginning, you have thousands of them.”
Lily has been fortunate to experience very minimal and mild side effects, allowing her full functionality to still participate in activities she loves such as gardening.
But Raymond has faced new challenges now as a caregiver. Beyond getting his mother’s affairs in order, he has been aiding her in all her appointment scheduling and making sure she takes all her medications properly.
But he continues to support her as she goes through treatment. “I push her to continue the trial for the benefit of the next generation, just as she is benefitting from others going through it before her. We are lucky that she is not as bad off as others,” stated Raymond.
“We saw an immediate benefit from treatment when we started with Mary Crowley, my mother knows how she felt when her prior treatment stopped working and she doesn’t want to go downhill again. Seeing her doing so much better, I can sleep at night,” said Raymond.
“I was very scared, nervous and upset when I received my diagnosis,” Raymond translated from Lily. “Now I am much better, more positive and confident.”
Both had high praise for the Mary Crowley staff, Lily stating, “the staff is very friendly and helpful. They make it so much easier to handle.”