John Onken

First post: Sep 2, 2017 Latest post: Sep 6, 2017
Welcome to my Dad’s CaringBridge website. This is Elizabeth and I am writing on my family’s behalf to keep family and friends updated on my Dad’s difficult journey to beat CNS (central nervous system) lymphoma. We greatly appreciate your support.


In June my Dad successfully completed his difficult, yearlong battle with mantle cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Then, on July 14th the doctors discovered a different type of lymphoma that penetrated his nervous system. The cancer is in his brain and spinal cord.

Dad was able to walk into the ER down at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN on that horrible Friday in July and by Sun he had to be rushed into emergency surgery to do the biopsy and to give him steroids to reduce the swelling.


One week after dad was admitted to the hospital they administered his first chemotherapy. This particular type of chemo attacked his kidneys and sent him to the ICU.


On Aug 12th, after 29 nights in the hospital, Mom and Dad were able to come home. Mom was with him the entire time, sleeping on an oversized chair every night. It was a wonderful homecoming with the ability to celebrate their 50th Anniversary at home the next day.


Five days after getting home, dad had to be readmitted to the hospital. His symptoms were declining so they opted to administer a new very strong chemotherapy to initiate improvement. He was able to get out of the hospital after a few days but he and mom have had to stay in a hotel near the hospital ever since. We are hoping they can come home very soon.


This is a very aggressive form lymphoma but we are also optimistic that this is treatable. We will keep you updated with Dad’s progress throughout this difficult journey.

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