Ben is a father of 3 very young children and his wife became pregnant with their first child when he battled cancer the first time. He went through many rounds of chemo and I was able to fly down to the Bay Area to visit him the first time he went through this and witness what those treatments do to the body. I also watched as his mom massaged his head only to have his hair continue to fall out into her hands - a heartbreaking moment for any mother to watch. And what surprised me the most is his attitude and strength through all of it. We binged watched Orange is the New Black together eating popsicle after popsicle, shared many laughs, and tears and he NEVER once had a negative thing to say about what he was going through. It shouldn't surprise me too much as he did serve in the military as a Marine in the Iraq war and went overseas more than once to fight for our Country. And now he fights for his life, his family, and to continue to be an inspiration to all of us who have the pleasure of knowing him.
If you choose to donate to Ben or if you simply cannot financially at this time, please send your prayers and positive vibes out to him and also friend him on Facebook (Benjamin Griswold) and/or follow him on instagram at ben_grizzy. His posts about his journey are inspirational, to say the least. And even though you may never meet him you will feel like you know him and you will get to see what your positive energy and/or financial support will do for him and his beautiful family.
The VA will be covering his medical expenses but he will only receive a portion of his pay through disability benefits which won't kick in for at least another month. His wife, Jessica, is a devoted mother to their 3 children and will continue to keep the household a happy and loving home for their kiddos along with providing the best care she can for Ben.
In his words this is his most recent update:
Finally received the results from my lymph node biopsy this week. I've been waiting now for what feels like 2 months.
My follicular lymphoma "subtype" has been upgraded from Grade 1 to 3. Also, returning cancer came earlier than anticipated...typically 5-7 years after 1st chemo and maintenance infusions for most patients.
Next Monday, the 22nd, I'll begin one of four rounds of treatment at the S.F. VA hospital and remain there for 5 days for observation. This will be the regimen four times over, with two weeks between treatments. This puts me into the tail-end of April.
After I am deemed in "remission," I will be flying up to the Seattle VA for an autologous bone marrow transplant. Basically, my own healthy bone marrow will be used for the transplant. This will happen late April, probably the first week of May. I will be there for roughly one month or more in isolation; to ensure my immune system and blood numbers are in check.
This is the most succinct version I can put on the interwebs. Basically, this will be a 6-month hump just like my first chemo, only with a cherry on top, being the marrow transplant.
So the weather has cleared. Time to leave base camp and hump this steep bitch out...left, right, left, right...knees to chest.
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