In August, just before the start of round 5 of chemo, I found out that I am now in remission but I still need to complete all 6 rounds. My oncologist has referred my to City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, CA for the next phase of my treatment: keeping the cancer from coming back.
Phase 2 of my treatment has 2 parts. Part 1 starts with the doctors harvesting and freezing my bone marrow/stem cells then proceeding to a clinical trial using monoclonal antibodies (radioactive antibodies) to search and destroy remaining cancer cells. This part takes 2 weeks. Part 2 is the process to transplant my own bone marrow/stem cells and the is the part that gets really ugly. It involves very high dose chemotherapy to kill off all of my bone marrow and all cells that defend us against bacterial and viruses. I will be in isolation for at least week followed by many weeks of inpatient and outpatient on-campus care. During this time, my wife (and primary caregiver) needs to keep working so that we can keep our insurance. I will be needing to hire caregivers (24 hours a day) during part of beginning and several weeks at the end of my stay at City of Hope. Even once I return home, I will require weeks of hired caregivers while my wife is at work as a middle school teacher.
We are facing multiple round trip airfares between Northern California and Los Angeles, rental cottage during outpatient on-campus treatment plus untold days(weeks) of hired caregiver help. Since my diagnosis, I've been able to work only about 50% of the time. For Phase 2 of my treatment, I will need to take at least 6 months leave of absence while I recover from the transplant.
My wife and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in June. She is also a Lymphoma survivor for 8 years. I fully intend to do whatever it takes to be around for our 10th, 15th and even 20th anniversary!
I humbly thank you for any support you can give.
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