Frequently Asked Questions
...and answers too!!

Who is Jesus?
What's the difference between non-Hodgkins & Hodgkins lymphoma?
What is an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant?/ And why I'm not afraid. . .
Why do you have to have a Stem Cell Transplant?
Is Cheree cancer free?

Q: Who is Jesus?
Q: What's the difference between non-Hodgkins & Hodgkins lymphoma?
A: Non Hodgkins lymphoma is a type of cancer of the lymphatic system. There are two main types of lymphoma: one is called Hodgkins lymphoma (named after Dr. Hodgkin, who first described it) and the other is called non Hodgkins lymphoma. There are about 20 different types of non Hodgkins lymphoma.

The only way to tell the difference between Hodgkins and non Hodgkins lymphomas is when the cells are looked at under the microscope.
In most cases of Hodgkins disease, a particular cell known as the Reed-Sternberg cell is found in the biopsies. This cell is not usually found in other lymphomas, therefore they are called non Hodgkins lymphoma. This may not seem a very big difference, but it is important because the treatment for Hodgkins and non Hodgkins lymphomas can be very different.

Non hodgkin lymphoma researchers have shown that there are over 20 different types of non Hodgkins lymphoma, each with its own characteristics and behavior. Non Hodgkins lymphomas, like other cancers, are diseases of the body's cells. A non Hodgkin lymphoma patient may have too many immature white blood cells in the blood or bone marrow, and a lump or tumor in one or more groups of lymph nodes.

Of the two basic lymphoma types, non Hodgkins lymphoma, is the most common. The age-adjusted incidence rates for non Hodgkins lymphoma are higher among men than women in every racial/ethnic group except Koreans, in which there is a slight preponderance among women. In both men and women, non Hodgkins lymphoma incidence rates are highest among non-Hispanic whites.

* info gathered from www.nonhodgkinslymphoma.us
Q: What is an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant?/ And why I'm not afraid. . .
A: Well... I don't know if I am qualified to answer this, and I can't provide a simple one-line definition, but... I'll try to explain and then describe what it may entail for me (the process can look slightly different for everyone).

First off, a stem-cell is like a 'blank-slate' cell... an 'I-don't-know-what-I'm-gonna-be-yet" cell. They can be found in the blood and are available to 'become' any particular cell that the body may be in need of.

I will be admitted to Portland Providence hospital for about 21 days (give or take) if things go well. At the beginning of my stay I will be given a high-dosage of chemotherapy every 12 hours, for a total of 5 days.

My stem-cells have already been collected from my own blood, and are now being preserved at the Red Cross until after the high-dosage chemotherapy when I will really need them.

At that point, the stem-cells will be given back to me via IV (this is the 'transplant' part). Then, they can begin to replace the cells in my bone marrow so my bone marrow can make the blood I need in order to live and fight disease.

Amazing huh?

Every day after I get the stem-cell transplant, my body will be in recovery-mode as I'm closely monitored by doctors and nurses.

That is the plan, and Lord willing we'll see it through.

Please be praying for me as this dosage of chemotherapy will be much stronger than what I have experienced so far. It will take my body down low... really low... so low that (to put it bluntly) I wouldn't survive if I didn't have my stem-cells to replace all the cells that the chemo will wipe out.

And to be even blunter... there is a question of whether or not I'll survive period, even with the transplant.

But I'm not afraid.

I'm reminded that none of us are guaranteed even a millisecond of the future and, technically, all our bodies, whether healthy or sick, are dying.

We are a vapor, a blink... a fading leaf.
Eternity is right around the corner.

I've trusted in Jesus as my Savior. He died and rose again to set me free from my sin. I have received His gift of forgiveness and I now have the joy of living for Him on this earth... and I look forward to the day when I get to live with Him in Heaven.

'For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.' (Philippians 1:21)

Jesus is the only Name by which we can have such a confident hope.

I know Jesus... and that is why I'm not afraid.
Q: Why do you have to have a Stem Cell Transplant?
A: After I finished my 6 months of chemotherapy, I was scheduled to have 6 weeks of radiation to 'clean-up' what was left over of my tumor. The chemo, by the grace of God, had successfully wiped out 90% of the tumor in my chest. My radiation doctor was confident that the radiation would take care of the rest.

However, in the time (about 3 weeks) between my last chemo treatment and my first radiation the tumor had been growing. My radiologist didn't catch the new tumor growth through the scans, so the new growth was not included in the radiation field. Consequently, the tumor continued to grow during my first week of radiation to the point of pain. We re-scanned the area, and found that the new growth was sitting snug up against my heart. Needless to say, they rearranged the fields to begin radiating that area too.

With this news, it was apparent that more treatment was needed. It was at this point that the doctor began to talk about a stem-cell transplant.

After radiation was over, I had a PET scan to see if the cancer was inactive, and if I was in remission. The PET Scans were positive... confirming the need for the transplant.
Q: Is Cheree cancer free?
A: In October 2005, a few weeks after Cheree left her 46 day hospital stay, she had yet another a PETscan and CTscan to check for cancer. The results came back and we found out that the cancer is gone! Praise the LORD!!! Cheree is therefore in "Remission" and will undergo test and scans every 3 or 6 months for the next few years to monitor the area to look out for reoccurence.
   
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