I relapsed in my battle with Hodgkins early in 2018, and was faced with the fact that I'd have to have a bone marrow transplant.
And that was best case.
And the best case didn't work out.
Earlier this year, I spent three months undergoing ICE chemotherapy. After two rounds, the cancer was almost all gone. After four, it was almost all back.
So, we moved on to Brentuximab.
That's a less harsh, more targeted type of chemo.
That stopped the disease from progressing, but it did not have the type of impact we'd hoped for.
And, at that time, my local oncologist called me in to tell me ... that was it.
After three different chemos and a month of radiation, they had nothing more here, in Harrisburg, PA, they could give me.
Thankfully, however, Johns Hopkins - who was working with me to do my transplant - called.
I'll never forget that first call.
"Brian, we've been looking at your scans, and we'd like for you to come in and discuss your options."
And that conversation, initially, started off with things you don't like to hear.
"In cases of Hodgkins like yours...."
What followed wasn't good.
But, then we got, "But there's some good news..."
And, here is what that good news was —I was being considered for a clinical that Hopkins was running, and, if I was interested, I could likely get in.
The science involved here is amazing.
I'm getting Nivo, an immunotherapy, that is approved.
The clinical drug is a Lag 3 inhibitor.
Hodgkins' cells have a Lag 3 marker that make them invisible to your immune system.
The Nivo turns on the immune system and super charges it.
The Lag 3 inhibitor, in theory, goes to the cells with that marker and suppresses the Lag 3 part of them.
It turns them on so the super-charged immune system can see them and chew them up.
After 50 days, scans showed this amazing therapy IS WORKING for me.
I'm feeling better each day, but this is all a build to get back to the bone marrow transplant.
We have been able to raise a nice amount of money thanks to all of you, but we are making one final push, to try to make sure when I do go down for treatment all of our bases are covered.
The current schedule, as long as this treatment continues to work, is for me to begin the transplant process Dec. 28.
I'll do five days of chemo, one day of radiation, have a day off, then get the new stem cells.
Then, I'll have to live in Baltimore, and go to Johns Hopkins, for at least 70 consecutive days.
The costs are evident.
I do not have long-term disability. So, after 26 weeks, I'll no longer receive pay.
I'll get full pay for six weeks, and 60 percent for 20 weeks after.
That, along with what we have already raised, and the bit more we hope to raise, will be counted on to keep the lights on here in Harrisburg, pay the bills and take care of me and my housing in Baltimore.
Also, my mother will be stepping aside from her job as a waitress at Waffle House in South Carolina, to come here and be my caretaker while I go through all of this.
So, there'll also be bills, etc., that are not yet evident.
I've been humbled by this process, and the love shown, especially through this GoFundMe, has been amazing.
If you can give anything, even a dollar, it's appreciated.
And, if you can't, prayers, good vibes, whatever you do, are also accepted.
Thanks and love you all,
- Jennifer Addison
- Jennifer Addison
- Jennifer Addison
- Gerri Barrineau
- Amberly Orton
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