Welcome to my Caring Bridge site. Who would have thought? I'm hoping this will be a place that my sister and I can update friends and family on what's going on as I head through this journey. What's the journey you ask? Well here goes... In September of 2016 I had a CT scan that showed I had black spots behind my windpipe. That fall, I had a biopsy and more tests and it was conclusive for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma but, the diagnosis was to "watch and wait" Many people go years before the cancer becomes active if it ever does. Unfortunately, for me by February of 2017 I had such pain in my throat and ear that I couldn't swallow and was in so much pain in my head I couldn't think. There was a series of misdiagnosis and mistreatments and I finally just set my mindset in motion that I was going to figure this out. I left the house at 8am for a doctors appointment with an ENT and was determined I was not coming home that day til I had help. 8 hours later and 2 CT scans in the same day, doctors had come to realize that I had tumors in my throat and my ear canal that were causing so many problems. I quickly ran across the campus at Johns Hopkins Hospital, pretty much like a crazy person and found Dr. Swinnen's office. Dr. Swinnen is an oncologist specializing in Lymphoma and Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and was my dad's oncologist for the same cancer 9 years ago. Dr. Swinnen was gracious enough to give me some of his time, as he was putting on his coat to leave for the day. He looked at my CT scans and took on my case. He took it on because he is that kind of doctor but, also because my father had the same cancer and it's not a genetic cancer so he was very interested. An EKG, a biopsy, a PET Scan and 2 weeks later I was in the chemo chair for my first round of R-CHOP to get rid of my Grade B Cell infused Lymphoma. Basically, my watch and wait diagnosis didn't last long and we got into action quickly and I am grateful for that. The oncology team at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, could not have been better. I feel there is a special place in afterlife or heaven, whatever you believe in for Oncology nurses. 6 months later, I was finished with chemo and started putting my life together and digesting what just happened to me. It's a daunting experience. I made some personal life choices, huge change in attitude, put my house in Baltimore on the market and started the process of moving to Austin. I had been working remotely but, wanted to be in the heart of my office at C3 Presents, a job that I have come to love. The workload and the people have been a godsend. By February of 2019, all was set to move Austin as soon as the house sold. I had started feeling better but, then ended up in a very dark depression after the chemo as well as vomiting on regular basis. No one could figure out what, my numbers were good and the chemo was out of my body, why was I vomiting so much? After several doctors appointments, many with a gastroenterologists and others, more tests for cancer and still my blood work was good but, I was losing weight at a very rapid pace. My house sold and May of 2019, I headed to Austin with the blessing of Dr. Swinnen. His only requirement was I see his former colleague, Dr. Matsui, who recently moved to Austin, immediately upon my arrival in Austin. I set that appointment up before I even left Baltimore. In June of 2019, after my first meeting with Dr. Matsui and his nurse practitioner, it was revealed that the cancer was back. It was now follicular non hodgkins lymphoma but, nevertheless required immediate chemo treatment. Welcome to my new start in Austin. Again, the oncologists and nurses were magical and I have been doing what I needed to do, every 4 weeks and my weight has come back and I'm feeling good between Chemo treatments. That brings me to today, I have traveled back to Baltimore for the holidays and started the first of many many doctors appointments today. I am scheduled to receive an Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant on January 23rd. This is a process that will last months and make me very sick but, the end result will be no cancer. This was a big decision but, there's no way to stop this cancer from coming back with out this transplant. I can't live being on chemo every year or every other year so I know I'm making the right choice. I will be forever grateful for this anonymous 30 year old male that is going to donate his bone marrow to save my life. That's all I know about him, that's all I will know about him. That part is the most humbling experience. A complete stranger willing to save my life. There are good people out there. I will move into an apartment that my sister spent time finding for us. Sheryl will move in with me for 2 months at least to be my caretaker as I go through this. My parents also live in Baltimore so this is where I need to be right now. There's so many things to learn about having a bone marrow transplant, I can't even begin to explain. Please research or check the 2 websites I've included on the "Ways to Help" tab. I know I can't answer your questions, even though I'd like to. The plan for this caring bridge website is to give a place where my sister or I can update everyone at one time about my healing. I'll be able to start working remotely after a couple weeks and I can't wait for that. I love to stay busy. My sister and I will be living together for the first time in over 25 years. This should be interesting. I can't be more grateful to her and her family for putting her family duties on hold to take care of this Dudey. I've set up a go fund me because I actually need help at this time in my life. Also, click the "ways to help" tab.https://www.gofundme.com/f/life-event-bone-marrow-transplant
There's so much to figure out as you go, it's hard to plan exactly what I'll need. Of course, prayers, well-wishes, good thoughts, or whatever works for you will be greatly appreciated. I'll also take a card, a photo, a funny meme, an inspirational quote. Anything at all. I'm like a 7 year old excited for mail. No plants or flowers. Those are a no no per my oncologist.
1001 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore MD 21202
I'm very grateful for you all.