Nearly 10 months ago, 2004 SM East graduate Tim Grimes got the news that a suspicious looking mole on his back was an aggressive form of cancer that had spread to his lungs, liver and spine.
By the time they caught it, the cancer had advanced to Stage 4. Doctors told 28-year-old Grimes that he had about a 5 percent chance of beating the disease. One told him he probably had about nine months to live.
Last week, Grimes got some good news that has buoyed his hopes in his fight against the disease: His most recent scans showed that every cancerous spot in his body was shrinking.
“Passing the nine month mark was huge,” Grimes said. “And doing it feeling good, not feeling like I was sick, that was amazing. The support and everything I’ve gotten from people around town has kept me going. I can’t express my appreciation enough.”
The journey to the good news from his latest scan has been a long one. Grimes spent six weeks in the intensive care unit late last year receiving an aggressive treatment that left him weak and feeling ill. At first, the treatment appeared to be working. But in the spring a scan showed that while his existing cancerous spots were shrinking, the disease was still spreading. New cancerous spots were growing in his brain and lymph nodes. In April, he started a new drug regimen.
“There’s been a lot of good news and a lot of bad news along the way, and sometimes it’s been mixed together,” he said. “Getting a report with nothing but good news this month was great.”
Grimes said he knows that the odds are still not in his favor. Doctors have told him that at some point the drugs he’s taking will likely lose their effectiveness. At that point, he may switch to a traditional chemotherapy treatment. But in the meantime, he’s enjoying his summer and feeling relatively good.
A huge Royals fan (his friends organized the “RoyalsWinForTim” hashtag campaign for him during the team’s playoff run last year), Grimes has been able to catch several games at Kauffman Stadium and on the road.
He was in Chicago for the Cubs series where Royals fans practically took over Wrigley Field, and headed to Target Field in Minneapolis earlier this season as well. And he’s headed to Oakland this weekend to watch the Royals take on the A’s.
“It’s great to be able to still get out,” he said. “I’m taking advantage of every chance I get.”