Living life with Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma while trying to maintain a normal life working with a wife and 4 children.
Site created on June 29, 2018
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. I am writing this journal on the behalf of my wonderful husband Adam. A little back story about us before I get to the good stuff. Adam and I married On November 8th, 2007. We have 4 children, A daughter named Brianna that just graduated from Hillcrest High School on June 6th, 2018. We have a 16 year old son named Cameron that is an uprising junior, a 6 year old little girl named Madison that will be 7 in July. She is an uprising 2nd grader and a 4 year old girl named Lily.
Adam was born in January 1984. He lived with his dad Brian and step mom Karen Burton for the majority of his life. He enjoyed playing sports and he graduated from Travelers Rest High School 2002. Right out of high school Adam joined the Marine Corps. He was enlisted in the Marines from 2002-2006. During that time Adam has seen more than I could ever imagine in a lifetime. After boot camp Adam was sent to Iraq. Right after he able to come back home he was then sent to Iraq again. He was involved in the Battle of Fallujah. Once again he made it home and he was off again. He was sent to Afghanistan. After Afghanistan Adam retired his combat gear and headed to college. I think he had enough of people trying to kill him. His job overseas was communication. Although cool job at the time, the risk were really high.
I am skipping a ton in between but here we go. Adam started having night sweats and lost around 30lbs from January until March. He also was having some dull lower back pain with a slight fever. Dr. William Messer ran a series of test using bloodwork. And he had given Adam a week of antibiotics. After the week was up fever was gone but blood work came back abnormal again. So Dr. Messer ordered more bloodwork. That blood work also came back abnormal. Dr. Messer then Adam was then sent to have a CT scan done of his abdomen. Adam had been home maybe 30 minutes then we recieved the news from Dr. Messer that Adam had cancer. At that moment I felt like my world was crashing in are me. I can only imagine how Adam was feeling at that time. He had already called the oncologist for us and got them to see us quickly.
Within a week we were at St. Francis Cancer Center seeing Dr.Kahn. He order Adam different test. First was a PET Scan to see where the cancer was and how far it had it had spread. He then ordered a Bone Marrow Biopsy and a Lymph Node biopsy and a port to be placed at the same time. Although, Dr.Kahn was unclear of the type of cancer Adam had he knew without a doubt he did have cancer and a very progressive and aggressive type. After what felt like eternity we finally received the results. Adan did in fact have Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma. His PET Scan showed that he had cancer in his lymph nodes, spleen, liver, clavicle, scapula, in certain parts of his spine, in certain ribs, and in his humerus. After speaking to Dr.Kahn he was given an 88% chance of being cancer free in 5 years!! That was wonderful news to hear. Such a high number. The next time we went to see Dr. Kahn before treatments began the number went down to 73% chance to be in remission in 5 years. The reason the number was changed is because they did not take into consideration that Adams cancer was presenting itself as Non Hodgkin Lymphoma and not Hodgkin Lymphoma. This was a set back that we were unprepared to hear. This would mean more than one chemotherapy and other means of treatments.
Adam began his first chemotherapy in June 2017. He was able to work out a schedule with BMW where he would work 8-12 hour shifts in a row and have off 6 days in a row to do his treatments. He would have this treatment on Friday every two weeks and head back to work on Wednesday evening. His first Treatment was ABVD (Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine and Dacarbazine). He started this treatment with the hopes to have it completed in 6 months. Unfortunately he had to take two breaks because his counts took such a hit. So it was extended a couple of months. after the 3rd cycle Dr.Kahn ordered another PET scan which showed improvement!! YAY!!. After the final cycle 6 Adam had another PET scan. He still had 3 lymph nodes that were being stubborn and one that had grown near the pancreas so he was not in remission.
In March Adam started a regimen called ICE ( Ifosfamide, Carboplatin and Etoposide). This was given to him every two weeks. Beginning on Thursday AM and would run through Saturday night. We would be inpatient for these treatments. And yet on Wednesday evening Adam remained going to work. He handled it like a champ. After his 3rd cycle he had yet another PET Scan and another Bone Marrow Biopsy. After a year he was finally in remission!! Even though the cancer lingered in his body his system responded and was shrinking the cells. Which brings us to where we are now.
Dr.Kahn believed it was time to wipe Adams system clean and do a stem cell transplant. To do this he had to endure another chemotherapy. This next one was called BEAM ( BiCNU- carmustine , Etoposide, Ara-C- Cytarabine and Melphalan) This is called a high dose chemo. Its job is to completely wipe out your system. To kill any living cells. Cancer cells included. Before this chemo began he was given four days of Granix to boost his stem cells. After the shots he had to has an apheresis catheter placed to do a stem cell collection. They gave him a dose a does of Mozobil. They only needed 3 million stem cells and they could remove the catheter. By the Grace of God they were able to collect 7 million stem cells within one day. They were then sent to the Blood Connection to be cleaned.
He started his BEAM chemo on June 22nd. That day was Day -6. It was counted down from -5,-4,-3,-2,-1 and day 0 was the day of the transplant. We are on Day +2 right now. I would like to say my strong husband handle the high dose chemo like a champ. The stem cell transplant has not been so kind to him so far. We are now up to date with all that has happened thus far. I hope you will continue to follow him through his journey as this is a journey for the whole family. Thank you all for those who have prayed for us and the visitors in the hospital. God bless you all!! Much love to you!!!!
Just wanted to let everyone know this has been a very busy week for Adam and myself. We did receive good news about Adam though and his body is recovering now on its own. We are so happy that his body engrafted. His body did not reject the stem cells. God Bless you all that has prayed for my wonderful husband. The prayers were not unanswered. In a couple of months he will have another scan. We are aware that even if his scans show they are clear he will be on immunotherapy infusions. Could be a couple years to the rest of his life. Baby steps.... No matter how small they are. :( We will continue to push through whatever storm is thrown our way next.