After six weeks of experiencing excruciating pain, I was diagnosed with enlarged B-cell stage 4 gastric lymphoma in July 2016. My oncologist in Tarzana, CA was connected to a lead doctor in City of Hope and that COH doctor advised her to send my biopsy for further testing to see if it was double mutated. The test results came positive and my cancer cells had double mutated. This meant that my body would’ve not responded to regular chemotherapy of one day every three weeks.
My oncologist and her lead doctor at City of Hope decided that a regiment of six days of chemotherapy every three weeks would be the required dose to defeat my lymphoma. This was the hardest part of the treatment, to stay at a hospital for six consecutive days connected to the pumps 24/7. I lost so much weight and suffered all the symptoms of chemotherapy side effects, but nothing prepared me for the next stage of a bone marrow transplant.
The chemotherapy lasted 11 days and then I received my own collected stem cells (autologous) on day 12. My immune system started to collapse for the next six days, and I felt so awful I couldn’t even get out of bed. I've recorded the staff celebrating my new birthday on the day I received my stem cells, and I can't thank the dedicated staff strongly enough.
The following 10 days were the hardest days in my life, but I got through them by sheer will, in addition to all the medical attention that I've received. I got out of bed and walked one mile every day at the hospital, and I meditated daily to set my mind at ease and send a signal to my body to heal faster. I walked out of City of Hope hospital twenty-two days after I’ve checked in, as I learned that was the shortest amount of time of any autologous stem cell recipient in my age group in recent memory.
Today, three months after discharge from the hospital, I worked out every day and built my stamina that I was able to take a trip to Egypt and walk the desert and visit the tombs and temples carrying my 35-pound backpack. I continue to improve physically and mentally, and I continue to work out harder to rebuild my weakened body. My significant other and I visited many hospital rooms and inspired other patients to sit up and get out and walk daily on the hospital floors. We also walked to the lobby on the stem cell floor and played the lobby piano for me other patients. I am committed to the cause of helping cancer patients.