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Inspirational Stories


primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL)

My name is Joshua. I was born and raised in South Florida and moved to Oregon after high school 8 years ago. I can’t say that I had a difficult childhood growing up just difficult circumstances that were challenges to overcome. I am what most people would consider an introverted type of personality, and while I was raised in a home with very caring parents and sisters, I’ve just always found it difficult to fit in, especially once I got to high school. I’m tall, at almost 6 feet, and very smart, always in advanced placement classes. While for some that’s a blessing, for me it was another “crowd” I didn’t fit into. I took a few wrong turns in high school, which ultimately led me to give up on myself in a lot of ways (that’s how I ended up here in Oregon).

Fast forward a few years later, since moving to Oregon I’ve obtained my GED, started a job as a caregiver in a rehab, and have my apartment. Although I’m very proud of the changes I managed to make in my life it’s been nothing short of an ongoing battle. I’ve struggled for years to get on my feet but the one thing I’ve never done through all the struggle is give up. I never stopped trying. I never stopped fighting. It’s just who I am.

Just when I feel like I was getting my life back on track, I ended up in the emergency room at Adventist Hospital. That’s when the entire trajectory of my life was changed. After a CT scan and biopsy, I was diagnosed with blood cancer, a rare type of lymphoma. It is called primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) although according to the oncologist, the preferred treatment was radiation and chemo, the tumor was approximately 6 inches and sitting directly on my heart, meaning, the only option for treatment was a very aggressive form of chemo. According to him, if left untreated would prove to be fatal within months. After having surgery on January 11 for my port insertion, I was admitted to OHSU on January 12 to start my 18 weeks of treatment. No one could’ve ever prepared me for what was to come. I’ve never experienced so much pain from the bone marrow replacement injections in addition to all the nights of nausea, vomiting, and chemo fatigue. I have chemo six days a week, and on day six, I receive my bone marrow replacement injection, which is when the nausea, vomiting, and pain start for several days. I have blood work done twice a week, and then the cycle starts over again. I can assure you that the last few months of my life have been nothing short of hell for me and as of last week, after having a repeat PET scan done and seeing my oncologist, I am told that the chemo is working! I know this is the second chance that I have been given at Life. I know that not everything requires a do-over and not every choice I’ve made was a bad one. But I do know that what LIFE threw my way as of November 2023 was something I would’ve never expected and I will never take anything about my life for granted again. I still have three more cycles of chemo to go, and hopefully by June will be given a clean bill health.
I was given The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) website information to look into for resources as far as financial assistance and support services, and after applying I was approved for the $500 assistance. I am currently in the process of applying for any other resources LLS can provide such as a $2,500 grant as that would carry me through the end of the treatment so that I could focus 100% on emotional and physical healing, and not have to worry about carrying the financial burden of how to get through the end of my battle with cancer. Because of the severity of the side effects from my treatment, the aggressive nature of the treatment itself, and my immune system being completely compromised I am unable to return to work until the completion of the treatment in mid-May. I am hoping for compassion through either financial assistance or references to financial assistance programs. I declared in November 2023 that 2024 would be the year. I beat cancer and I know I will be victorious!

primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL)