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Fran Cruse

Surgery Gives Grandmother "A Cherished Gift Every Day"

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In 2002, my mother, Fran Cruse, was diagnosed with Stage II lung cancer. In the following months, my three siblings and I took her to surgeons and oncologists near her home in Carson City, Nevada. Because the tumor was extremely large and pressing against her aorta, the doctors told us there was nothing they could do – that she should just enjoy the time she had left with her family. 

We were devastated. At the time, my mother was a vigorous 60-year-old woman with eight grandchildren. Although she had a serious illness, she wanted to do all she could to fight the cancer. We scoured the Internet and talked to many people, looking for the best treatment center in the country. All our research kept leading back to Dr. David Jablons, a thoracic surgeon at UCSF. We booked the first available appointment with him, and faxed over all my mother’s medical records. 

From the very first appointment, it was a completely different experience than all our previous doctors’ visits. Dr. Jablons explained the best treatment plan for her condition, outlined the possible risks, and also described his research, which seeks better treatments and eventually a cure for lung cancer. 

Fran Cruse With Her Grandchildren

Fran Cruse With Her Grandchildren

Most importantly, he gave my mother and our entire family a sense of hope. As soon as my mother left that first appointment, she said, “He’s my doctor. Let’s move forward.” It was the first time I had heard her express optimism about the future since her diagnosis. 

David M. Jablons - 144Dr. Jablons partnered with an oncologist in Reno, giving my mother chemotherapy that shrank the tumor by 75 percent. Then Dr. Jablons and his team successfully removed the tumor, and followed up that surgery with more chemotherapy. She has been in remission for the past decade. More recently, my mother has also successfully beat breast cancer. I am confident that the hope Dr. Jablons instilled in my mother during her battle against lung cancer, helped her fight breast cancer. 

Perhaps most importantly, my mother has had the opportunity to welcome five new grandchildren into the family. Her grandkids – now ranging from age eight to 24 – are the greatest joy of her life, and they cherish their beloved grandmother. Recently, I found a note that my son wrote her when she returned from a trip. It read, “Welcome home! I missed you. You are the best grandmother ever.” 

If we hadn’t found Dr. Jablons, who was willing to pursue aggressive treatments and give her a chance at remission, she would never have met my son. Each day is a cherished gift, and we are grateful beyond words for how UCSF and Dr. Jablons never gave up on my mother. Dr. Jablons and his team combine a compassionate approach, incredible surgical skills and the latest therapies to bring hope to so many patients and families like ours. 

For more information about Dr. Jablons’ research, please visit the Thoracic Oncology Program and the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory. These discoveries gave my mother a new life, and are helping many more people across the Bay Area and throughout the country.

Maria Teresa Cruse
Daughter of Fran Cruse

Tags: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
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