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3/22/2017 Latest post:
In January of 2016 Brian developed a chronic cough. Brian went to the doctor's office for numerous visits and was tested for various things such as asthma and allergies and was medicated different ways but the cough persisted. He was ultimately diagnosed with allergies and put on an allergy pill. In mid August of 2016 while at dinner one evening Brian noticed a lump in his neck. We hoped maybe it was nothing and decided to watch it for a few weeks but it continued to grow. In late August he went into urgent care one evening to have it checked out and they ordered more testing such as an ultrasound and biopsy which occurred during the month of September. During Brian's drive home one Friday afternoon in early October of 2016 the doctor called Brian to let him know that the biopsy results came back revealing that he had Hodgkin's Lymphoma and he needed to have a PET scan and was going to see an oncologist the following week. That was one of the longest weeks. The following week at the meeting with the oncologist he went over the PET scan results and gave Brian a diagnosis of stage 4B Hodgkin Lymphoma. He had a lot of caner in the lymph nodes of the neck, a big mass in the chest pushing on the lungs (causing the cough all along) and in his leg bone. The doctors were hopeful of a good result as Hodgkin's is generally very responsive and Brian was a healthy young man. He was set to start a regimen of "ABVD" chemotherapy once every two weeks for the following six months, and would begin the following week. The treatments started out going very well. He had a PET scan after his first 4 treatments and had a great response. The cancer was almost all gone and it was such a relief. As the treatments continued he began to get cumulatively more tired and additional side effects started emerging as was expected and we were warned about, but he was getting through it well with a positive attitude and looking forward to the end of treatment. His energy level decreased more with each treatment and he began to experience some nurophathy in is hands among other side effects. In February his cough started to resurface and a pulmonary function test was ordered. One of the side effects of the "B" drug in Brian's chemo can cause lung damage. The test did reveal some lung damage so that drug was withheld due to the damage it was beginning to cause in his lungs. We aren't sure if the lung damage will stay the same, get better or progress. After the 10th treatment Brian had found a new lump in his neck. It was in a different spot than before, but over the week it seemed like it continued to get bigger. When we went in for the 11th chemo treatment (12 total were planned) Brian told the doctor about the lump and the doctor was able to feel it also and had a concern about the lump and decided to withhold the chemo and order another PET scan to see if the Hodgkin's was returning and growing again, and also biopsy the lymph node to confirm. The PET scan did confirm that there is activity again in the lymph nodes of the neck. A new inpatient chemotherapy regimen will begin in the very near future called ICE. It is a different cocktail of drugs with many different and harsher side effects. They do expect him to handle it well because he is a young healthy man but it may be unpleasant and he may have some undesired or serious long lasting effects. He will do this treatment for two or three cycles. We have met with a Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplant doctor and he will be undergoing a transplant. He will be using his own cells and it is quite lengthy process which we expect to take place in May, however there are many variables to the timeframe. More to come on his progress as things develop and the process of his Stem Cell Transplant.