It was 2015, life was good. I was a fit and healthy (so I thought) mid-forties male, working full time with a family of my own.
Then I discovered a lump in my groin. A subsequent ultrasound showed more alarmingly, a mass in my abdomen. A biopsy of the enlarged lymph node in my groin showed I had Follicular NHL Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
I was put on what the doctors called watch-and-wait, as this type of lymphoma was slow growing and at times doesn’t need treating for years if ever. I was quite relieved and happy to provide the blood samples every 3 months.
Fast forward to May 2017. My spleen had swollen to the point that I was not sleeping comfortably. My next visit to the Hematologist at Flinders Cancer Clinic in Adelaide resulted in a PET scan and following that, 6 cycles of R CHOP chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy reduced the swelling and I felt much better after the first cycle. Unfortunately, I had only what is described as a partial response to the treatment.
A biopsy of the actual tumor in my abdomen revealed it had transformed to DLBCL (Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma). The next chemo I endured was R-ICE, a more potent form, however this failed to remove my tumors too.
I had to travel from home in Adelaide to Peter Mac in Melbourne for treatment – we tried two different immunotherapies. The response to neither was good and my options were fast running out.
I have been lucky enough to be accepted for a new groundbreaking treatment called CAR-T Cell Therapy. CAR-T could be a potentially life-saving treatment for me, but it’s currently not available to adults in Australia and I have to travel to Boston, USA.
The treatment is covered by the Medical Treatment Overseas Program, leaving me to crowd-fund to cover the huge costs of living in USA for up to four months. With the help of you and my family and friends, this could give me another chance at life.
Cheers and thank you,