On April 2, 2019 my 18 year old son Ryan was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He received his first chemo therapy treatment on April 12, 2019. The journey to diagnosis has been a long one. Ryan first noticed swollen lymph nodes around his collar bone in late summer of 2016. We saw his pediatrician and several blood tests were ordered. All blood tests came back negative so no treatment was recommended. In late winter of 2017, Ryan asked to be looked at again because the swollen lymph were still present and seemed to be growing. We were referred to an ENT. More blood work, a sonogram and a CT were taken. Blood work returned negative, sonogram was inconclusive and the CT showed around 50 swollen lymph nodes in his neck/chest area. The swollen lymph nodes were not large enough to be concerning and we were referred to an Infectious Disease doctor. By this time Ryan was 17 and the pediatric Infectious Disease doctor said Ryan should go to a regular ID doctor. We were unable to find an ID doctor at this time. Ryan completed his senior year at Lake Minneola High, graduating on May 18, 2018 in the top 10 percent and earning the highest level of the Bright Futures Scholarship. He was accepted to the University of Central Florida and moved on campus in August 2018. Ryan joined the UCF Marching Knights and began course work for a Bachelors in Aero Space Engineering. In September, Ryan began feeling unwell. After several weeks of abdominal pain and fatigue, he spiked a fever and we thought he could have appendicitis. An abdominal CT scan showed many swollen lymph nodes and lesions on his liver and spleen. Oncology came in and recommended blood work and possible biopsy. All blood work came back negative and a biopsy of the largest lesion of the liver also returned negative for cancer cells. In December 2018, Ryan was referred to an Infectious Disease doctor. Over 40 different blood tests were run and in January we learned all tests came back negative. The ID doctor recommended more CT scans to find the best lymph node for removal and biopsy. The next CT scans on February 14, 2019, showed growth in lymph node and lesion size so he was sent back to oncology. Our local oncologist referred us to the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. A lymph node biopsy was scheduled on March 14th. This core and needle biopsy finally found the presence of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Ryan's doctor at Moffitt Cancer Center is recommending six months of chemo with treatments every 2 weeks. In the quest for knowledge, we have learned that natural therapies are not recognized by insurance and not supported by many oncologists. We are asking for donations to go towards natural therapies that we feel help strengthen Ryan's immune system so that his body can withstand the ravages of chemo therapy. We also ask for prayers for healing, hope and patience for Ryan and our family as we walk down this path with Ryan. We believe he will be fully healed and lead a long, healthy life beyond Lymphoma.
Thank you all for your help and prayers!
- Erica Cole
- Terry Cork
- Candace Ogden
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