Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.
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My cancer diagnosis happened almost by accident. In the early months of 2011, I was considering leaving my job and going to work for my son. We’d started a business four or five years earlier, and I was thinking about joining him full time. But one of my concerns with making the change was health insurance, because I would need different coverage and I wasn’t sure what the cost would be.
At the time, I had a small lump in the groin area and I went to the doctor to have it evaluated. I wanted to know if it was anything serious before I tried to switch insurance plans. My doctor said I had a swollen lymph node. He said sometimes lymph nodes can swell and then return to normal, but I wanted to be certain there was nothing to be concerned about. I arranged to have the lymph node removed and examined. On April 29, the report from the analysis of the lymph node came back with the diagnosis of lymphoma.
In the weeks following my diagnosis, I visited four cancer treatment facilities for an evaluation. I also visited a training hospital near our home in Westminster, Maryland, but my sense was training came first and patients came second.
One day, one of my wife’s clients told her about Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). I’d never heard of it, but we decided to call. I ended up traveling to the CTCA hospital in Philadelphia for a three-day consultation in June. The doctors there recommended a monoclonal antibody called rituximab plus combination chemotherapy, a treatment regimen known as R-CHOP. It was the same treatment some of the other doctors I met with had recommended, however the difference was when I walked into CTCA, I felt comfortable. It was the kind of place where I wanted to be for cancer treatment. In late June, I underwent my first round of R-CHOP there.
The road to recovery
During most of my treatment, I felt well. I wasn’t very sick from the drugs, and I felt good about the care I was receiving at CTCA. Yet, I almost postponed the sixth cycle of treatment because by that point, I was wiped out. Dr. Shayma Kazmi, my oncologist, encouraged me to stick with it. I did, and I’m glad for that decision. However, that last month was rough. I wasn’t bedridden, but I couldn’t do very much. I also became sick with pneumonia and bronchitis.
Recovery has taken some time. But after nearly two years since completing treatment, I feel well and am able to do more and more. I return to CTCA every four months for diagnostic testing and a checkup.
All about the patient
I chose CTCA because the care there is all about the patient. There is no question about the priority among the staff there, and everyone jumps through hoops to make sure you feel taken care of.
The people I happened to meet at CTCA also made a huge difference to me. During the first three days I spent there, I met Dr. Anthony Perre. He’d been diagnosed with the same cancer I had, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma known as large B-cell lymphoma. Dr. Perre had been clear of it for a number of years at that point. He was the first person I met who’d been through treatment for that cancer, and it was so encouraging to hear his experience. There was also Angela, who greeted patients as they entered the hospital. She was so full of joy. Every time I saw her, I felt better. Her attitude helped me maintain a positive attitude.
My wife has been my caregiver and she is a huge part of my care and recovery. She researched everything, kept notes and never let up, even when I couldn’t keep up with all the details.
A success story
As far as I’m concerned, I’m a success story. My experience at CTCA was excellent and I am on the other side of this diagnosis.
But going through cancer has been far more than just a medical experience. It’s changed me. I’m able to appreciate the small moments in life, day by day. I’m slower, not just because of recovering from treatment, but because I’m more laid back. I’m able to enjoy life a little bit more each day. I knew I had to push through my treatment, but now that I’m on the other side, I’m savoring life so much more. That’s a success of its own.