- By Cynthia Weiss
Celebrating simple moments after individualized cancer therapy
Making long-term plans was not always part of Tanis Milicevic's daily routine. Milicevic was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma more than a decade ago. But the past year has been markedly different for the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, resident.
June 14 was her one-year anniversary as Florida's first successful chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) patient. Since then, the mother of two has been focused on everyday moments.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (2:33) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."
CAR-T cell therapy is an individualized treatment that uses a patient's own cells to fight cancer. Mayo Clinic is one of the few medical centers certified to offer the therapy approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Treatments are available at Mayo Clinic's locations in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.
"In the past, I had said, 'I can't wait until I …'" says Milicevic. "But now, instead of focusing on the disease, I can focus on life."
Simple things bring her joy, such as making dinner for her family, or going to the beach and exercising. "Truly, it is the basic days in life that make me happiest," she says.
Among her favorite milestones this past year: watching her eldest son graduate from high school and her youngest complete elementary school. "I love being a mother, and the weeks leading up to their graduations, and all the parties and celebrations, have been the most heartwarming," she says.