Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Since all of you who are visiting this site know Teresa well, it should come as no surprise that writing "her story" has been hard for her. Teresa is one of the most giving, generous and selfless people I know, so getting her to agree to write something about her was tough. What follows is Teresa's Story, told over a glass of red wine :). I took the notes and am (mostly) writing what she told me.
To the Beginning: Teresa was involved in a severe bike wreck in September 2016 which resulted in 5 broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a significant amount of road rash. The road rash healed but she continued to have difficulty with the clavicle and ribs. She was fortunate enough to be working with a good friend as her PT and Amanda continued to encourage Teresa to go back to ortho due to the fact that she wasn't progressing. On 12/23/16, Teresa had an MRI to determine what else might be slowing her healing (possible rotator cuff tear?). Fortunately, her rotator cuff is fine. Unfortunately, the MRI revealed diffuse loss of bone marrow. Blood work was ordered on 1/9/17 and after taking most of Teresa's blood, the results came back on 1/10/17 with a diagnosis of lymphoma.
Teresa met with Dr. Garrison (oncologist) on 1/11/17 who performed a bone marrow biopsy on 1/13/17. For most of us who don't know, bone marrow biopsies are NOT painless and Dr. Garrison had to go back in for a second sample! Teresa says she complained a little, but I highly doubt that! She is so tough! On 1/16/17, Teresa met again with Dr. Garrison and he delivered the diagnosis: Stage 4, non Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma. This is treatable and both Dr. Garrison and Teresa are very optimistic. On 1/21/17, Teresa had a PET scan and she met with Dr. Garrison again on 1/30/17. The PET scan revealed that the lymphoma had spread to all of Teresa's lymph nodes, all vertebral bodies, her pelvis and the clavicles and glenohumeral joints. Again, Dr. Garrison is very optimistic and positive. He laid out a chemo plan which seemed very doable and didn't involve hair loss! Yay!!! Teresa was scheduled for a port placement and a lymph node biopsy on 2/3/17.
Teresa was scheduled to begin treatment on 2/8/17. Her sister Carla flew in from California and we celebrated the start of treatment with a great dinner the night before. Unfortunately, Dr. Garrison had different news on 2/8.... He had reviewed the results on 2/7 and consulted with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The most recent biopsy results showed that the cancer had mutated to a more aggressive form of follicular non Hodgkin's lymphoma from the original diagnosis of indolent follicular cancer. Leave it to Teresa to even make her cancer special. This new diagnosis means a more intense chemo treatment. The outcome remains very positive but in Dr. Garrison's words "We are going to hit it hard". Teresa said at this point she looked at her sister and they decided a glass of wine was in order.
Teresa's treatment is called R-CHOP (feel free to google that). It is a combination of an immunotherapy drug (Rituximab (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/rituximab
)), 3 chemo drugs (Cyclophosphamide (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/cyclophosphamide
)),Doxorubicin Hydrochloride (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/doxorubicinhydrochloride
),Vincristine Sulfate (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/vincristinesulfate
)((Oncovin) and prednisone...This is a hard regime that will be hard on Teresa's body. Teresa is starting this process with blood values that are quite low, especially her red and white blood cells and her platelets. Teresa is going to need help, which is where we all come in. We know it is hard for her to accept help but this is her time to accept and ask as she needs it.
The Ways To Help is a great place to start... Teresa and Eric will be accepting meals, trying to figure out when they will need them because this is all so unknown. They can use help with some driving to appointments, possible snow shoveling (hopefully not too many more times!), and walks and company. Please check the calendar frequently and if you don't see something down, feel free to just do it. They will be so appreciative of whatever support you can give.
Thank you all in advance as we enter Teresa's newest journey!