A Profile of Hope—Lisa's Story
In Lisa’s own words:
It is amazing how a day can change your life. That was the day that I had a small lump removed from my neck and was informed that I might have lymphoma. Six days later, on December 23rd, I was officially diagnosed with Follicular Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. My daughter was in kindergarten and my son was in 2nd grade. My husband Jim was third in command on the USCGC Dallas and somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. I had to wait for him to call me via satellite telephone Christmas Eve to tell him that I just found out I have cancer. He was flown home in early January and we began the endless hours of research to educate ourselves on what we needed to do in the coming months.
During our second opinion at Duke University Cancer Center, my husband and I were very nervous and joked a lot while waiting for the doctor. When the doctor came in, he was very stern and asked if we realized how serious this was. I quickly informed him that I had done my homework and showed him my three-inch binder. I also told him that I did not care what the statistics, that I would be the person that would be "Results Not Typical"! I told him to remember me, because in the future he would have a patient ask him if he knew a patient that beat the statistics, and I would be that person.
In February 2005, I started my first round of chemotherapy. Before I started my third round, I lost all of my hair. In order to find my way to fight back, I continued to walk and run as much as I could throughout treatment. In early April, I ran in a 10K across the Charleston Bridge and felt great! My sister always reminded me to be positive and suggested I inform myself that I am CURED. I wrote myself a letter, from my doctor, and even signed his name, stating that "I had shocked and amazed the doctors and staff at the medical center, that through my thoughts, prayers and physical care, I was in complete remission". When I went for my last treatment, I showed the doctor the letter that he had written telling me that I was cured. He read it smiling and said that he loved it! I had my last treatment in May and as of June, I was in complete remission.
To celebrate, I joined Team in Training to give back, by helping to raise money, awareness and hope for all who will walk down this path. In February 2006, I achieved my lifetime goal of completing a marathon, walking the last ten miles due to injury.
As of May 2008, I finished my last maintenance treatment with rituximab and I am two years in remission. I am healthy and strong in my "Watch and Live" maintenance. My husband and children are a constant source of joy and strength. God has truly blessed our family and I am grateful for every moment I have with family. I pray that one day lymphoma will just be another page in history.
The Lymphoma Research Foundation has been a wonderful resource for my family, providing the resources and information to help us navigate the overwhelming details that are out there. LRF also put me in touch with an incredible woman who walked this path several years before me and kindly shared her story with me. I knew that I wanted to "pay it forward", so I became involved in the Lymphoma Support Network. After relocating to the Washington, DC area, I became involved in the Foundation's 25/50 mile Lymphoma Research Ride.