“You have angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma” my oncologist told me on November 3, 2014. He went on to say that my type of lymphoma had a five-year survival rate of 30% and that this type of cancer was rare, very aggressive and difficult to treat.
My life before the diagnosis was pretty great. I had retired in May 2010. I was active playing hockey and slow-pitch baseball, golfing, camping, motorcycling, traveling and no end of other good things. Now at 62, I had cancer!
First up would be six rounds of CHOP (a chemotherapy regimen), which started on November 27 and ended on March 12. I got through the chemotherapy without too much difficulty and was even able to get out for a few pre-game hockey skates.
I was admitted to the Vancouver General Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Unit on May 13, 2015. My treatment here consisted of six days of BEAM chemotherapy, followed by the injection of my own previously harvested stem cells. I was released on June 7.
By September, I found myself playing hockey three times a week.
Six years later, I am more active than ever. I’ve added a daily 10km bike ride to get in shape for the hockey season which resumes mid-September.
I treasure each day and am very grateful for the treatment I have received that has allowed me to spend precious time with my two young grandsons.
I would say to anyone who is just starting out on their treatment journey that a positive attitude, a good support group, and faith in the medical system that is treating you goes a long way to getting you through your cancer.