grandmafran's Journey with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

Patient: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 22 years ago, Female, Age: 68, Stage IV

  1. 1
    almost 5 years ago
    grandmafran's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I thought I had a bad cold that wouldn't go away. Went to the doctor's at my husband's insistence. Left the office knowing that I had either lymphoma or leukemia. I didn't know what lymphoma was until then.

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  2. 2
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    My cancer came back far too quickly and I was pretty weak from the year of treatment so we tried an oral chemo. It didn't work.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    almost 5 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had a large tumor growing quickly on my lower right jaw. It was very attractive and seemed to draw out the worst in some onlookers. Maybe it just frightened them. My dr. decided I need to have another biopsy to make sure it was still low-grade NHL. The doc and his associated then decided I should have a surgical procedure to see if they could remove it. It was too immeshed in the nerve area but they were able to determine that it definitely was low grade NHL. I made the decision to not go through chemo again. While my doctor was hesitant about radiation with it being in my jaw and so large, I decided to take the route of radiation.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  4. 4
    almost 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I had 38 radiation treatments to my jaw. It was a piece of cake and completely destroyed the tumor. Yeah! I had a little numbness from the surgery and some soreness from the radiation but it was eased by slippery elm lozenges (available in health food stores). I am not a alternative medicine person by nature but I believe you should hit things with whatever works for you. Acupuncture didn't help. Massage helped and so did gentle yoga.

    Painless Experience: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  5. 5
    almost 5 years ago
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    rituxan

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had been following the Rituxan trials since I was first diagnosed. I saw a film about it (believe it or not, at Walt Disney World @ Epcot) while it was in initial stages. My cancer was back! Amazingly, Rituxan had just been approved by the FDA and I sat in the chemo room for eight hours while it was being slowly infused. The tumor this time was on the left side of my face. It grew quickly and the skin around it was extremely tight. About three hours into the treatment, I touched my face. It was getting softer and softer. By the time I left the office, it was almost gone! It stayed gone for five wonderful years.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  6. 6
    almost 5 years ago
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    rituxan

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had routine ct scans every six months. I was shocked when one day I received a call the day after my scan that I had a recurrence. I had another round of Rituxan and stayed cancer free for six years. In July, my routine ct scan should a recurrence of cancer. Of all places, it ended up on my adrenal gland. Not too common. I had a ct directed biopsy and it indicated my old buddy was back. I had another round of Rituxan. It was, for the third time, working. We are still waiting to find out just how effective it was.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  7. 7
    almost 5 years ago
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    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    My celebration is this: Hope. Every single day we need to live with hope. It is as important to us as all the treatments in the world. When I was diagnosed, I was told 5-7 years. It has been 18 years and through the grace of God and the miracles he allows to exist in the form of doctors, researchers, and the love of our family and friends, I have lived with and known hope. I won't say it was easy. I don't think cancer can ever be easy. But we put one foot in front of the other and, if need be, we hold onto someone's hand to help us navigate. Our lives are in God's Hands and cancer reminds us of that every single day. He has allowed me to witness the birth of three beautiful grandkids whom I adore. So many birthdays, Christmases and joyous memories flood my mind. Would I give them up if I could know I was cancer free. Not for a minute. NHL is no longer a 5-7 timeline. Have hope and take good care of yourselves. Know that sometimes your body just wants to rest. Know that there of people who feel helpless and just want to do something nice for you. Be your own best advocate and get a second opinion-just to be sure. Embrace the good days. Bless you all.

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  8. 8
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had a ct scan the next day and a biopsy the day after. I arrived at the oncologist's office with my husband on the third day, received the diagnosis of NHL and was escorted to the chemo room. My white count was doubling quickly. I had waited too long to wait any longer. I was given a big dose of cytoxan, vincristine and predinisone. Since I was already pretty ill going in, I think I has a greater difficulty with the drugs. I learned to look at chemo as my ally and not my enemy. I didn't respond as quickly as they hoped and I underwent a year of chemo.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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