A Profile of Hope: Janna's Story
In Janna's own words
Janna's battle with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and recovery from a double umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplant helped her clarify priorities and identify things that give her life positive energy. She achieved her dream of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and it was there that she celebrated her third "birthday" after her UCB transplant. She has been tumor-free since September of 2005.
I was diagnosed with localized mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) in April 2001. Initially, we were able to manage the tumor with Rituxan and following treatment I enjoyed a remission of approximately 18 months. Upon relapse, we resumed Rituxan treatments but, by the fall of 2004, the tumor was growing rapidly and had become Rituxan-resistant. We graduated to chemotherapy regimens including CHOP, ESHAP, and R-ICE in preparation for a double UCB transplant at the University of Minnesota and was the first female MCL patient to receive one. I understand that I am also the first patient alumnus from the University's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program to celebrate a post transplant "birthday" on Mount Kilimanjaro.
I have learned that crisis can be a great catalyst and clarifier. I have also discovered that life can be brighter and more manageable if we have something to look forward to. When I was feeling particularly wretched during my post-transplant recovery, I listened to great music and fantasized about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. I remained focused on that dream and celebrated my third post transplant "birthday" on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in the fall of 2008.
Presently, I am feeling terrific and hopeful. I have been tumor-free since my transplant in September 2005.
I got involved with the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) when I contacted the LRF Helpline shortly after my diagnosis. LRF's assistance was amazing! Sue Bliss, LRF's President, has also been an extraordinary source of support. In spite of her busy schedule, she has taken time to call or drop me an email periodically just to say "hello" and to inquire about how life is going.
My experience with lymphoma has been a potent reminder that life is both fragile and incredibly short. It has helped me clarify priorities as well as identify things that give my life positive energy.
Do you want to help eradicate lymphoma? Do you want to help those touched by this disease?