Tammy Cotton

First post: Sep 16, 2020 Latest post: Nov 25, 2020
I didn't create this during my first journey but because I am experiencing the journey twice I have opted to share my story here for everyone to see.  For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer, Large B-Cell, on September 26, 2019.  I went through 6 rounds of chemo, called R-CHOP.  Each round lasted about 5 to 6 hours, with a 21 day break in between each round.  January 16, 2020 was my last chemo day and we celebrated BIG!!  On February 6, 2020 I had a full PET scan and that came back all CLEAR!  You see, with my type of cancer, it only appeared in the bone marrow and no where else.  Usually, with this type of cancer, it will show up in your lymph nodes or other parts of the lymphatic system.  The only way the doctors were able to diagnose it was by doing a bone marrow biopsy.  On February 11, 2020 I was scheduled for the dreaded bone marrow biopsy to see if the cancer was gone.  This test only takes about 2 to 3 days to get results.  On February 13, 2020 my husband and I received a phone call from my doc saying there were NO signs of lymphoma present in my bone marrow.  We were so happy and felt so alive.  I was in remission.  Now true remission is 5 years.  I would now be monitored (having blood-work done) every 3 months for 2 years and if that was clean I would be monitored every 6 months for 3 years.   On May 11, 2020 I had my first 3 month check up.  My numbers looked great and were starting to recover from the chemo.  I felt really good too.  My 6 month check up was on August 10, 2020.  The numbers came back lower than we'd like.  So after a repeat lab one week later the numbers stayed the same.  Because of my history of lymphoma, Dr. Maly ordered a bone marrow biopsy, just to be on the safe side.  Oh I forgot to mention this  - usually if the cancer comes back it will show up like it did the first time, in my bone marrow.  It's different from lung, breast etc..where it can come back in different places.   We met with Dr.  Maly on August 24th and learned that the lymphoma was still showing clear BUT this time there were other precursors showing up if you will, that prompted my doc and the pathologist to do further testing.  They would take the same sample from the initial biopsy and do a secondary, more extensive test to see if there was anything going on deeper in my bone marrow.  This test would take 2 weeks.  On Thursday September 3rd we received the devastating news that my cancer had returned.  It's the exact same type of cancer as before, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  We met with Dr. Maly on September 10th to go over the initial plan of action.  It was there that we learned I would receive a new cocktail of chemo, called RICE.  This chemo will be more invasive and harder on my body.  Unlike before, where I received chemo once every 21 days at Norton Cancer institute and got to go home after, this time I will be put in the hospital Monday - Thursday with around the clock chemo.  On Thursday afternoon they will send me home for 14 days and I will repeat the above treatment.  Best case scenario for me is only having 2 rounds of this invasive Chemo called RICE.  RICE is a type of induction therapy chemo that prepares the body for a transplant.   In addition to the 2 rounds of chemo, I will also have a bone marrow transplant.  Not the kind where I would need a donor.  They would use my own stem cells by taking it out and infusing it and putting the good back in to me.   We meet with the UK transplant team this Friday, September 18th to learn more on how that will all work out.  If UK doctors agree with Dr. Maly and Craig and I are okay with this plan, the goal is to start the first round of chemo on September 28th.  For now please keep sending us those positive vibes and prayers coming.  My sisters, Craig or myself will be updating this throughout my journey.  Stay tuned as we learn more information.  #TEAMTAMMY #CANCERSUCKS

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