Meaghan Swensen

First post: Mar 21, 2018 Latest post: Mar 6, 2019
Welcome to Meg's  site. We appreciate your support, love , words of hope and encouragement.  ---With love Jeremy, Jonah, Quinlan and Beckett

In November of 2017, I noticed a lump in my left armpit.  Over then next four months and three visits to the doctor, a biopsy was finally agreed upon by the radiologists with the encouragement of my primary care physician.  My biopsy was performed at the beginning of March, and the following week and a half were some of the longest days I have ever experienced.  We were told the results would be ready by Tuesday following the biopsy only to be put off day after day after day because of more and more tests that needed to be run.  On Friday, over a week after the biopsy, I called my care team and basically begged for even an answer to the most basic of biopsy questions-is it cancer or not?  Later that day, my primary care doctor called me from her personal cell phone while she was at home on vacation with her own family to give me a glimpse into the news we had been waiting for.  It was cancer, and it was a  "rare" type of lymphoma.  She didn't have any other details because the pathologists were still trying to elicit exactly what type of lymphoma.  Turns out four senior pathology professors at the University of Minnesota had worked on my case, including sharing it as a case report during clinical conference.  Like usual I'm something of a "special case".  On Tuesday March 20, our lives drastically changed.  The initial meeting with the oncologist at our local cancer center at Fairview Lakes Regional Hospital brought us to our knees.  My diagnosis is a rare form of Non-Hodgkins T-cell lymphoma called angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma.  Only 1-2% of people diagnosed with lymphoma have this particular variant, and the vast majority of those are over age 60.  My age(45)  combined with the type of lymphoma is something of an aberration.  The most horrifying part of the information the oncologist gave us is that T-cell lymphomas are extremely difficult to treat as they don't respond well to typical chemotherapy drugs.  What makes mine worse is that I have a particularly aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma.  The mainstay of treatment is a bone marrow transplant after rounds of chemo in hopes of killing off the cancer cells and then reseeding my body with a new immune system.  Our oncologist looked at us and said, "This has already been looked at by the four senior professors at the U of MN, and their recommendation is for you to go right to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion and treatment."  Mayo will have the latest drugs and clinical trial options as well due to their world renowned lymphoma specialists.  And so the circus begins...

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