Unexpected? You bet.
In February of 2008, I noticed a bump on the left side of my jaw. I thought it was TMJ related as my jaw pops when I eat. I knew eventually I had to see a professional but I didn’t know if I should see a dentist or a MD. Then around April 15th, I felt lymph nodules on the right side of my neck. Since they were not symmetric on the other side, I knew it was time to get to a MD.
The PA said I had “swollen lymph glands”, took a CBC and said if the nodules didn’t go down in two weeks he would refer me to a surgeon for a biopsy. After prayer asking for wisdom, I felt I couldn’t wait two weeks and requested to see the surgeon ASAP.
I had a biopsy of a lymph node and a week later, April 24, 2008, we were told the results from the pathology report. The surgeon said I had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma. He said I needed to set up an appointment with an oncologist and then chemotherapy would shortly follow.
We were devastated.
By divine providence, we drove down to Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, for my evaluation, testing and results. With Dr. Martha Glenn and her fellow, Dr. Greg Pollack, we determined it was much more to my advantage to receive treatment at Huntsman. Dale and I moved into the downstairs apartment of my aunt and uncle’s house in Bountiful and little did we know we would live there for seven and a half months.
My treatment protocol was R hyper-CVAD, a cocktail of chemotherapy requiring an inpatient stay at the hospital, alternating five or seven days with a 14 day break in between cycles. This was to be followed by an autologous stem cell transplant. However, I was not 100% responsive to the chemotherapy and I was prescribed a radioimmunotherapy called BEXXAR prior to my transplant and once released from the hospital after my transplant, 17 rounds of radiation.
On November 19, 2009, I was told I was cancer free and remain so to this day.
For my complete story, click here.