My sister and I thought it would be a good idea to set up a caring bridge page to keep everyone that knows or loves Dennis informed of his journey with lymphoma. So either Kimberly or myself (Amanda) will update the journal.
To catch everyone, Dennis was diagnosed with Lymphoma. So, Dad had been having abdominal pain and discomfort occurring since mid 2020 (great time to get sick). Doctors thought that he had reflux or prostate issues. Finally a CAT Scan was done in March 2021, which turned into a consult with general surgeon in Mitchell. The general surgeon at the time thought that Dad had colon cancer because of the location of the mass seen on the scan. Dad was scheduled for colonoscopy on April 6, 2021 then surgery on April 7th to remove cancer. BUT.... biopsies that were taken during the colonoscopy, came back as Lymphoma, WTF. So, April 7th 2021 was suppose to be bowel surgery but instead Dad had a port a catheter placed for future chemotherapy treatments. Kimberly and I were totally prepared for this abdominal surgery but left us both little confused. I guess when you have something planned and plans change you to need to change, Right?
Following plans, well cancer doesn't follow your any plan someone sets forward, which just plain sucks! The first detour from the plan was large amount of bleeding from the rectum that Dad experience. Which thank god, for neighbors! Stacy (angel here on earth) got Dad to the ER in Mitchell, of course I have my phone on don't disturb, so I missed his called. But Ollie (Shih tzu) had to go out, when I checked my phone and saw that he called, the start of not following the plan. So, I fly over to Mitchell (driving maybe slightly over the speed limit) at 3 am. Dad was settle into ICU at Queen of Peace because at this time transfers to large facilities were limited do to COVID and available beds. But later that day Dad was transfer to Sioux Falls, because his hemoglobin was low, which got him 2 unit of blood. At McKennan, it was discovered that the lymphoma in his bowel was compressing and causing the bleeding. April 27th Dad was taken to surgery for a resection of the mass (size of a softball), of April 28th is Dad's birthday. For his birthday in 2021, he got a abdominal scar, nasal gastric tube, and really great nurses that took care of him. Nasal Gastric tube come out on his birthday and we sung Happy Birthday to him outside his hospital window. Discharge and home was uneventful, meet with oncologist that laid out the plan of chemotherapy. Summer 2021 into the Fall 2021, Dad had 6 rounds of chemotherapy and tolerated the therapy well. Except for the loss of his mustache and beard, which neither one of us really have ever seen him without. October 2021, Dad had a PET Scan and got the all clear that he was remission.
Enjoyed the Holidays, 2 weeks into the New Year of 2022, Dad's lymphoma was back, pissed off. Started chemotherapy again, CAR-t therapy is option but was not approved by the FDA for first re-lapse of lymphoma, so Dad had to more rounds of chemotherapy. After that couple rounds of chemotherapy, again he was remission, which was great! But.... Summer 2022, ugh!
Summer of 2022, has been rough for Dad and us too. Completed round chemotherapy and started the CAR-t therapy process. This process includes education for him and us, assessments and tests to get a baseline for after treatment. Dad also had another line placed for collection and infusion of T-cell (Kimberly calls these mutant genes). July 14th 2022, collection of t-cell was done with hopes to get a large amount cells for therapy. But, his lymphoma is back. Which, brings to August.
PS. I don't know if we have made it through this summer without the help of neighbors (Scott and Stacy), family, friends, and healthcare workers.