Welcome to my Mom's story...about 2 weeks before my parents left for their Alaskan Vacation, my Mom began to experience back pain. She thought it may be a bladder infection so she went to the walk-in clinic and had a urinalysis. It was positive for a slight bladder infection so she was placed on antibiotics and sent on her way. During their trip, her back pain became worse. When they got home, she went back to the walk-in clinic. They sent a culture and put her on a stronger antibiotic. The pain continued to worsen, although the culture came back negative. She went to see her primary care physician, Dr. White, who sent her for a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis. The scan came back showing numerous mass-like areas at the base of lung, in her groin, kidneys, spleen, right iliac bone and numerous enlarged lymph nodes all concurrent with metastasis and cancer. She was referred to an Oncologist, Dr. Goodman. in Franklin. She was sent for a PET scan and a biopsy of the left groin where the mass was most accessible and was the largest. She also had a bone marrow biopsy. Dr. Goodman diagnosed her with lymphoma approximately 4-6 weeks after returning home from Alaska. The problem with his "type" of lymphoma that she had was that it was a very aggressive cancer, it was a very rare cancer, and it required a very aggressive treatment. Dr. Goodman sent her to see Dr. Morgan, a lymphoma specialist at Vanderbilt. There, she was diagnosed with stage IV, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, Double Hit/Double Expressor Phenotype, with extra-nodal involvement. She also has a small B-cell lymphoma in her bone marrow. All those big words mean that this cancer is fast, and that it is rare and still being studied. Conventional chemotherapy wasn't touching this type of cancer. Dr. Morgan knew what type would touch it! We don't love numbers and statistics, but people ask because that is what they know about cancer...so here are her "stats". She has a 50% chance that this aggressive chemo regimen will put her into remission! She has a 100% chance that God has the last say on any number and any statistic our medical minds reach for!
Tuesday, October 24th, my Mom was admitted to Vanderbilt Medical Center for her first cycle of treatment. Her cycles will run as follows...5 days inpatient continuous chemotherapy, 14 days at home, back to the hospital for 5 days inpatient, home for 14, and so on. She will have a spinal tap during cycle 2 to access her cerebral spinal fluid and make sure the cancer is not in there!! She will be prophalactically treated for CNS involvement from there. She will be re-scanned after cycle 3 which will be in the beginning of December. She will continue through 6 cycles of this regimen, approximately 4 1/2 months of aggressive treatment.