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How it all started
Journal entry by Terri Shepherd — Sep 3, 2019 Mom went to her annual physical on July 30th. She mentioned to her doctor that her left side was a little sore thinking she pulled a muscle from weeding. The doctor felt the area and became very concerned and ordered a CT scan. She thought there might be something in the colon.
The CT Scan was on Thursday August 1st and results of that showed a large tumor in the pelvis. An appointment was made with an orthopedic cancer doctor. This is how our journey began.
The doctor knew it was cancer and scheduled a core needle biopsy on August 9th. The results of the biopsy diagnosed her with "Double Hit" B-Cell Lymphoma. (Non-Hodgkins) The tumor has eaten her left pelvic bone they think about 6". The good news is that none of the bone that is gone is in a weight bearing area, so she doesn't have any issues with walking.
Her PET scan was on Thursday August 29th which showed that the cancer has not spread, however, there are some limitations of what a PET Scan can detect.
She was admitted to Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota on Friday August 30th.
On Friday they did an ECHO which showed her heart was very strong and could handle chemo. They did a Bone Marrow biopsy and a lumbar puncture, both to test for cancer cells. No results of those have come back yet.
After meeting with the Doctors, she decided to to do a very "hard" course of treatment. In general they do not use the course of treatment for anyone over age 75 or 80, but mom is so healthy, the think she can handle this. This treatment is called R-EPOCH. She will need to be in the hospital for each round of chemo, which is 5 days of 24 hours a day every 3 weeks for 6 cycles.
Saturday, August 31st Mom's Uric Acid levels were high, this is a sign that the tumor is very active. They started a med for that. She is at risk for Tumor Lysis Syndrome due to high levels of Uric Acid and the type of tumor she has.
They also started her on Rituxan which ran over 4 hours. It is called immunotherapy which prepares the cancer cells to be destroyed by Chemo. Often there are side effects to this treatment and she did not have any reactions or side effects.
Due to her age and risk signs so far, they are starting her treatment with this. After watching her for a few days, they will start the Chemo treatment, which will be 24 hour a day infusion for 4 days. She will be discharged after the 5th day after the infusion.
Once she goes home, she will need to go for labs 2 times a week to watch for anemia and low blood counts. Once levels get too low, they will do blood transfusions. 7-10 days after the chemo starts is when her levels will be the worst and she is most susceptible to infection and illness during those days. She will be super cautious during this time to insure she isn’t exposed to any germs.
Mom is not in any pain and feels good. It is shocking to learn she has this since there are no symptoms.