I noticed that my left neck lymph glad was larger than the right. I brought this to the attention of three different physicians and each of them assured me that I must have "some sort of mild infection" somewhere in my body. Then a lump appeared in my upper leg...again my doctor said, "The function of the lymph system is to deal with infection and capture dead cells. Let's just watch it because all other signs indicate that you are healthy." I just knew something was wrong so I headed back to the doctor and insisted it be investigated. The wheels started turning and within one week, I had a CT scan, a PET scan, a biopsy and a diagnosis of Stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma.
I was referred to Dr. Ken Carson at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. I underwent further testing and he confirmed the MCL diagnosis. I have agreed to be a part of a clinical trial which is comparing the effectiveness of two different Chemotherapy formulas. Both are currently used in treatment; however one has a toxicity level far greater than the other. I am putting it in God's hands to give me the one I need to beat this beast. My treatment will also include a stem cell transplant after the chemo sessions.
I teach science to Grades 6-8 at Creal Springs School. We have worked hard and long to support the construction of a new school building. Dr. Carson felt that my cancer was progressing slow enough and my blood work was healthy enough to allow me to begin the school year in the new building. What a gift and blessing those 6 weeks have been! I looooove being a teacher and loooooove my Creal kids.
Last Thursday, Sept 27th, I went back to Siteman and tests showed that my spleen is slightly enlarged and my platelet count is lower so it is time for my treatment to begin. October 11th is the day I will receive my first chemotherapy is St. Louis. God is here....Christ is now....