My husband and I married 22 years ago here in Austin, Texas. Nine years ago, he developed an enlarged lymph node in his thigh. The doctors said leave it be unless it changes. In August, he felt it hurting and other sensations. It was bigger. He went back to the doctor that night and was immediately referred to a surgeon. The lymph node was removed and diagnosed as Hodgkin Lymphoma. The good news? Hodgkin Lymphoma is one of the most treatable forms of blood cancer. It has an 85% survival rate in even the latest stage. We were told in our first appointment that Jay would be at least stage two, likely higher - the doctor expected to find it in his lungs, his abdomen, all about his body. The reality was that after a PET scan and CT scan they did not find it anywhere else. He was stage 1-A. The doctor had only seen one other case of stage one Hodgkin Lymphoma in his 35 years of practice. "Great!" we said! "No chemo!" Wrong. What we learned was that the CT and PET only discover cancer of a certain size, and there could be growths too small to detect. So they recommended two courses of chemo, rescan, and then probably two more courses.
So Jay had a second surgery to put in a chemo port - it goes by your heart to put the drugs as close to your heart chamber as possible because they are so caustic. Then we started. The first round was pretty good. Jay did not feel too nauseous and kind of went about his business. Each round, one every two weeks, got progressively more difficult in terms of his fatigue and nausea. His hair started to fall out after the second treatment, and so we gave him a mohawk for fun. Still not too bad. Third, treatment, not so great. By the fourth treatment he felt unbearably sick. We were fortunate again - the doctor said if his midpoint PET scan and CT scan were clear, it would be better for him not to do more chemo and just scan him frequently to check for recurrence. Thursday, November 20th, we went in for the results. Clear! We dodged a bullet of another four chemo treatments, and Jay is considered in remission. He will have many, many PET scans to make sure the cancer does not come back, but by catching it early, he had minimal treatment and maximum results.
The thought of having a cancer with a less positive prognosis and longer treatments - Jay's was one of the shortest given - is hard to imagine. Our hearts go out to anyone being treated for cancer, and we feel lucky not to go through as much as so many cancer patients do. We are grateful for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the research it does for more effective and less difficult treatments for cancer patients and for better survival rates for all of the blood cancers. We are also deeply appreciative of ATX Artisans for sponsoring this cause during their 2014 Holiday Market.
Melinda & Jay Robillard
Our team has chosen to show support with this fundraising campaign for a leader who was instrumental in founding ATX Artisans Holiday Market. In addition to the ease of donating directly here online, there will also be a silent auction on market day of handmade gifts donated by our artisans.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: LLS’s continued advancements over the years, are responsible for the blood cancer survival rate doubling and tripling; in some cases, the survival rate has even quadrupled. And many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients but are now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers. They’re even being tested in clinical trials for patients with a range of cancers including lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. LLS funded drugs like Gleevec, Sprycel, Arinza, Tasigna and Zolinza are now being tested for patients with other non-cancerous diseases like Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis.
We really are changing the face of blood cancer!
Online donations are tax deductible and all donations are greatly appreciated. You’ll be helping to fund not only LLS research but patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services as well.
Please visit our Web site often and bring friends who would also like to donate!
On behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere, thank you for your support! For more information about LLS, please visit http://www.lls.org
About ATX Artisans Holiday Market: This event is one of the very few all-volunteer, artist-run markets in Austin. Our team members are local self-representing makers who together bring their handmade goods directly to Austin shoppers. Please join us by making a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) both online and on market day. 100% of the proceeds from the silent auction will be donated as cash to LLS. Your support will help fund therapies and treatments and help save lives today. Thank you.
ATX Artisans Holiday Market
November 30, 2014 10am - 5pm
Holiday Inn Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd,
near the Highland Mall ACC campus
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ATXartisansTeam